LAS VEGAS, NV—Typically overlaid with advertisements for personal injury lawyers and “intimate product” retailers, a billboard adjacent to the Rio Hotel and Casino now bears a more intriguing message: More Rake is Better.
Apparently aimed at poker players, and particularly those who plan to compete in this year’s World Series of Poker, the billboard’s message is also somewhat perplexing.
Traditionally understood, rake is how casinos and online card rooms generate income to pay operating expenses, employees’ wages, etc. Thus, from a player’s perspective at least, rake is thought to be an unfortunate but necessary part of the game. Simple enough, right?
Not so fast. Unless the billboard’s message is aimed at casino owners and/or corporate fat cats who own and run online card rooms such as pokerstars.com (not likely), there must be more to the story.
Indeed, according to www.morerakeisbetter.com, more rake benefits already-losing amateur poker players because it scares professionals away from stakes that aren’t profitable to play. Consequently, those amateur players, who would certainly lose anyway, will lose at a slower pace (and, presumably, card rooms will generate more revenue).
So, to recap:
- Winning players stop playing because they are no longer able to win.
- Losing players lose at a slower pace.
- The poker site/casino makes more money.
In short: everybody wins. Hence, more rake is better.
Admittedly, I was at first skeptical of this argument. But its conclusion now strikes me as too simple to be wrong. Otherwise, why would there be a billboard?