Thursday, November 15, 2012

All right, I wanted to add a few charts.

First off a nice guy from 2+2 simply sent me his database. It is important to understand that the data in my DB contains:

- Hands I have bought. most of the 50NL+ data comes from that source
- Hands I have received from a user on 2+2. All of the stakes smaller than 50nl comes from that source
- 50 NL data I played myself

I think this is relevant because the data 1 user sees vs the data dataminer collects will be different in that data from the data miner will be more broad.

Another thing to note is that the Nr. of hands is higher than Nr. of hands I actually imported. The data you see is aggregated user data. I imported data into poker tracker 3 (takes a few days) and then exported the user data into a different tool that lets me run data better and do my own calculations.
So one hand that I import can potentially be seen by 9 users and thus get me a hand count of up to 9.

So this is the overview.

Lets look at a two questions:

1. How many winners?

There is no simple answer to that. In fact I don't think I can answer that question unless I had all the data available to me. But I can show you what my data says.

The above chart shows all players  in my DB ( I certainly dont have all their data)
The games must be easy to beat. But the avg hands per player is very low (180) and over that sample its pretty much luck to win or lose. Im not sure if the fact that I have 80k players will even it out or not. To really answer the question we would have to look at all the data (which is impossible unless you are a site). However this is in line with what others report.
The above 3 charts show data for players that have played more than 2k hands. You can see that less than  1% of the players I have fit into this category. You can also see in thes chart how many players lose because of the rake and that in a natural game 70% of players actually would win.

2. How much is raked vs won

So now lets look at how much money are people actually taking home.

The easiest way to understand this as a %-tage:


This is the amount of money transfered by the poker hands in my DB
To me this is the most essential chart about the poker economy. It shows the true size of the economy (well in my case the hands I have imported) and it shows where the money goes.  It was really eye openeing to me and explains why the rakes in different games can actually so different without being a problem. I was really surprised when I played in Macau and I saw all the pros from EU sitting there. I could not imagine that the rake (5 times as high as in the US) could be beatable. But it is. The reason is the same for Macau compared to Vegas as 50NL compared to 4NL. Simply: the games at 4NL and in Macau are easier.
I still think the rake is too high at 4NL, but at 50NL its a big problem.
However changing the rake a little (like stars did last year) is not going to be a solution. I am sure that this chart would have looked much greener in 2006. So it wasn't a problem back then. If we change the rake today we have the same problem tomorrow. The way we rake is a structural problem that needs to be solved.

What could we do to have a system that workes well for 2006, 2012 and forever in the future.

I think there is a simple answer. Stop raking hands and rake the money transfer. Have sites keep a %-take of the money that is transfered and make that more even across the levels. We could still rake hands to collect the money not as radically so long as we make sure that the balance overall is not broken (i.e. via regulation).

Now lets look at the 2k winners above. Over 2k hands already 20% of players become losers due to the rake alone. Those are the small winners. Think about turning these from losers to winners. That would make way more loyal customers. It would broaden the economy. If we could then also prevent rake abuse we should get a very healthy and growing economy. Think about the share of winners that the rake will turn to losers when we play 50k+ hands.

I think this is something that we as players need to focus on. We need to demand two things:

1. the right to play
2. the right to a fair market

When I look at regulation it is very important to me that part two of this equation is thought of as well.  I hope I can make some of you aware of this as well.