Doug Polk has bucked the trend of poker rooms by reducing tournament rake at his Lodge Card Club in Texas, a bold move that has been met by cautious optimism among poker players, Allen Kessler among them…
Google the words “Doug Polk” and “Rake” and you’ll find yourself in the middle of one of the poker world’s finest and funniest controversies, his “More Rake is Better” clash with Daniel Negreanu ending in a $million heads-up online battle.
Whether it be unveiling a t-shirt with the slogan when seated next to Negreanu, paying for a giant billboard on the route into the WSOP venue, or simply making videos and arguing on Twitter, Polk’s take on Negreanu’s rake comment have become legendary.
As a cardroom owner, however, the realities of everyday life have given him a different perspective on the whole issue of how to make poker pay for the “house”.
Polk, who co-bought the club in Austin, Texas, along with Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen, outlined the problems facing the cardroom, and the solutions they finally came up with.
“Some fees were exceptionally low…and some were among the highest in the country,” with a “confusing buy-in process” and “higher fees at night than during the day”, among the main problems.
A new scalable system has been put in place to address the biggest issue, although some were unhappy that it means the lowest buy-ins have the highest rake % of all.
“… $20 fee on $60 buy-in seems too much and it will affect mostly small-time players who play the dailys – so you’d rather screw the poor rather than the rich, is that the idea?” tweeted one concerned player.
Polk took time to respond, explaining:
“That fee was 40+25 last week. Now it’s 40+20 with more of the fee going to staff. Yes, I understand fees are high as a % at lower levels but that is the nature of live very small stakes tournaments.” He added a simple example: “Unfortunately as buyins get low the fee has to be high as a %. If you ran a $10 mtt you would have to charge the entire buy-in in fees to cover staff.”
He also explained why staff fees are higher as you go up the tournament buy-in ladder:
“Several reasons, primary ones being you usually want your best staff for big events, there is more money being handled, and you want your staff to partake in the success of tournaments at the room.”
Although Polk’s new rake numbers aren’t the best in the country, he believes they are now “competitive” and in line with industry standards.
Polk also pointed out that it is, “Important for people to be able to trust their poker room,” coming soon after the recent Hustler Casino scandal where they cancelled tournament guarantees.
What do you think about Polk’s cardroom rake numbers? Let us know on social media just how much you pay – or think you should pay! – for your poker.
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