Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Sunday, September 19, 2004

More tax on stupidity and greed

I enjoy playing in the US very much. However, there is one thing I hate even when I'm on holiday, and that's being ripped off. The tournament rake in the US is becoming excessive to say the least. At the Four Queens, the second chance tournaments were $200+30. A rake of 15%, plus 3% taken off for the dealers. 18%.

It's not so bad for bigger tournaments is it, I hear you ask ? Not yet, but it's getting there. Let's have a look at the schedule for Tunica in January. Sample tournament, number 2, No-Limit Hold-em $500+50. That's 10%. 3% of prize pool is withheld for tournament staff, that's 13%. "A 3% Mississippi State Tax (1099 form) will be withheld from all winnings over $599". Not sure if that applies to us, but if it does, that's 16%. "$10,200 will be withheld ... 1st place winner ... will receive an entry into the $10,200 Championship event". Not strictly speaking a rake, but I object to being told what to do with the money I win. Give me my money, and then I'll decide what to enter. With 300 runners that's 6% of the prize pool. If you would only have a $5K expectation in the Championship event, you can count it as another 3% rake, I reckon. 19% rake. That's a lot to overcome in No-Limit Hold-em, the tournament game where the good player's edge is the smallest of all.

And, believe it or not, it gets worse. What if you play satellites with a view to playing a tournament with the winnings (instead of with a view to taking the money and laughing). 10 mugs, sorry players, sit down for a $65 satellite. The winner intends to play in event 2 above. Out of the $650 put down, $100 is the satellite rake, $20 tip to the dealer, and then $80 is raked out of the tournament itself (not including the $10K withheld). $200 of that $65o is going to the house !

At some point you have to vote with your feet. If you're going to rake tournaments as much as that, don't complain if I take money out of them via satellites ($120 satellites basically have a 10% rake) instead. And if you do get a result in one of these, for god's sake resist the temptation to tip. Unless you think 15-20% of $150,000 isn't enough for a 2 day tournament.

I'd like to go to Tunica, I really would, I like the people there, but there's a WPPA event in Vegas at the same time. I keep telling everyone to vote with their feet if you want things to change - I really ought to do the same myself.


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