Monday, October 15, 2012

The Penultimate Nail In The Affiliate Rakeback Coffin

I have never been a fan of rakeback, well, at least the flat-rate affiliate-administered deals which were all the rage a few years ago.

With Pokerstars announcing that Full Tilt will scrap rakeback and combine their old in-house rewards (Iron man / Black card) into a single rewards program when they re-open – I am happy to be declaring rakeback (almost) dead!

Now, before you all write (as many of you do whenever I blog on this topic!) the reason I never pushed the demon RB on this site was simple: I saw this system suck the love of poker out of so many people, that it no longer sat comfortably with my idea of SNG Planet as a site for beginners / improvers – the niche that includes players in that initial enthusiastic burst of loving the game.
Rakeback rewards volume, it turned people who loved poker as a hobby into robots, they suddenly discovered that playing 12 tables reasonably tight and mechanically earned a nice return.

No objection to this in principle.

At this point many people stopped striving to hit the big time, stopped going for that big tournament score, stopped working on ways to see through the competition… and essentially learned a defensive, math based style aimed at making just a couple of dollars from each table per hour, minimizing swings and collecting a portion of their rake at the end of every month to show a profit.

‘And Why Not!!’ I hear you all cry.

I’ll tell you.

Because 3 months later the hours start to drop, by 6 months playing poker becomes a chore and not a pleasure, by 9 months poker is painful rather than fun… and in 12 months the majority have given up.

For me, the path of rakeback grinding was a path to turn a game you love into a game you hate.
If you have the discipline and willpower to turn the game into a job, or for that matter to learn while 12 tabling and move on up the levels – then more power to you. I have nothing but respect for the small percentage of people able to maintain this lifestyle.

At the same time I represent the majority of recreational players here at SNG Planet. I want to ensure you see both sides of the coin, that you understand that rakeback is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – that it at the same time as boosting your bankroll, it will ultimately kill your love of the game.

Right, with iPoker segregating their grinders (with their recent split - Titan are still the place to be!), Merge handling rakeback through their own cashier and the Entraction network on its way out – I had better decide to do with my now-defunct site, rakeback-planet, haha.

Gl at the tables, Mark

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