The next 12 months will show where GGPoker is heading
For some time now, the online poker community has been concerned with the question of whether GGPoker’s success over the past two years has perhaps made the company greedy. There are a lot of positive things to say about GGPoker. First, there was speculation as to whether they – or indeed anyone – could compete with Pokerstars, but they ultimately proved successful in making a claim to the global throne.
Those of you who follow our news section will be no stranger to the positive things about GGPoker that we’ve reported on during the last few months. It would be understandable to assume that this is because GG is one of our strongest partner rooms, and that we therefore feature only good things about them as a result. However, that is not at all the case, and our players and followers of YPD will be well aware that we don’t operate like that. Our reporting is always honest and direct, and it’s for this reason we are now also dealing with the topic of whether GGPoker’s success has resulted in complacency. There are numerous important factors to consider.
Dealing with the new gaming law in Germany
Since July 1st, 2021 there has been a new gaming law for players residing in Germany. It cannot be overstated just how poor a move this has been in its lack of professionalism, having completely destroyed the German market overnight. But this is another issue that will no doubt be discussed at length.
Dealing with Affiliates
The connection between all German players and affiliates has been severed, and it is no longer possible for affiliates to recruit new players. Every online poker room has had no choice, being forced to go along with this shift in policy. However, in the case of GGPoker, it is the only operator that does not respect existing deals, and no longer pays commission for players recruited after July 1st, 2021. The question arises as to why this is so when other companies – which are even listed on the Stock Exchange, and which are considerably larger than GG – show the big affiliates respect and dutifully adhere to the agreed deals.
GGPoker opines that it is forbidden by law, which is absolutely not true. In no way does the law point to affiliates being prohibited from continuing to pay commission for players who were referred before July 1st, 2021. But nor does it say that it is allowed. And herein we find the lack of clarity, the problem being compounded by there being no clear guideline on this specific topic. However, regardless of this being a gray area, it is also a fact nevertheless that it is not legally prohibited to continue paying affiliates. And it is precisely with in mind that the rest of our partner rooms continue to pay us.
Comment from YPD: This is very weak behaviour from GG, and just plain shameful! Proposed suggestions from us to find a solution were severely rejected, and almost 800 players simply left.
The fact that GG has scored an own goal in this way, in turn giving completely the wrong impression, has apparently gone unnoticed!
5.3% tax for players from Germany
Here, too, it needs to be pointed out this tax is total nonsense, and different poker rooms have reacted in different ways. A number have simply withdrawn from the German market, which is completely understandable given the current situation and guidelines. Those providers who continue to accept players from Germany have either increased the rake or left it the same, but at the same time they have stopped all promotions and rakeback programmes.
GGPoker has instead decided to take a very special route, distributing the tax burden more on the winning players, and not making any changes regarding rake and promotions such as Fish Buffets, rake races and so on.
In practice it looks like this: A cash game player comes to the table with $100 and loses $50. He leaves the table and nothing is deducted. But if he goes to the table with $100 and wins $200, 5.3% tax will be deducted from this $200 profit, which would be $10.60. It is even more interesting in large tournaments (MTTs). You play a $20 MTT and end up winning $5,000. Again, 5.3% will be deducted from the profit, which would be $265.
This is, in fact, a distinctly different strategy compared to the competition, and is not prescribed by law.
Comment from YPD: At first glance, of course, it looks like GG deducts more from the player than is necessary, and in the end even earns something. This is certainly the case with MTT players, because the rake here is usually 7%-10%, so there is still a profit even after deducting the 5.3% tax.
In cash games it looks a little different; we have to note that GG also pays 5.3% tax if a player sits down at the table with $100, plays 10 hands and then leaves the table.
From the perspective of an online poker room we have to look at the general picture here, of course, and we mustn’t forget that players can still take part in the Fish Buffet and rake races and thus receive extra rakeback/cashback. Let’s take partypoker as an example where rake was not increased, but there is no more cashback for players and no promotions/races.
According to our assessment, with tournament poker there is no discussion at all and GG is far from a fair solution here, while with cash games it is acceptable .
The endless topic of PVI
Unfortunately, PVI is part of the GG network, and everyone has to accept it. The idea itself is actually perfectly fine, but the implementation is far from fair (and let’s not mention the problem with (a lack of) transparency). There is no such thing at Pokerstars, partypoker, Unibet or the Winning Poker (WPN) network. $1 rake remains $1 rake. Simple. There is only the iPoker network which uses a similar model to PVI. Here, however, it is done a little better – since the introduction in 2015, even the biggest winning players, at least 50% of the rake generated, would mean a PVI of 0.5 for GG. According to current information this should now even be increased to a minimum of 60%-65%, which corresponds to a PVI of 0.6-0.65 in the GG network.
At GG, it’s actually normal for good players to have a PVI of 0.35-0.5. One rightly asks whether this is simply a question of greed. Couldn’t it be adapted so that at least 50%-60% of the rake actually generated is evaluated, or maybe even 100% – as everyone else does?
Comment from YPD: The GG PVI, which looks like it’s staying in place, is understandable and may even be a good thing, because the idea and strategy behind it is not bad at all. Nevertheless, it is a fact that the deductions are far too high, and adjustments should definitely be made – for example, similar to the iPoker network, introducing a limit, and a minimum 50%-60% of the rake generated is counted. Even with an adapted and more transparent version of PVI, a balanced field of players between Sharks and Fish can be ensured.
Also interesting is the fact that a PVI can be between 0.1-2. For poor players who lose a lot of money, the PVI should actually be over 1. Our experience shows that this is very rarely the case, and that a player really has to lose very badly because the PVI is above 1. However, if a player makes only very small profits, PVI will drop directly below 1. Fair is definitely different!
Rake and Rakeback at GGPoker
Here, too, there are always various discussions. Of course, pre-flop rake is definitely unique and the question of whether you have to do it this way is justified. On the other hand, this is also a topic faced only by winning players who want to earn money through online poker. And it is precisely this group of players that is the focus of GG. A casual gamer who just wants to have a little fun doesn’t care at all.
The topic of rakeback is always hotly debated. They advertise up to 60% cashback at the top, but we know that because of PVI it is definitely not 60% in the end, but rather 30%-40%. Since this status can be achieved only by professional players who generate a lot of rake, it naturally affects only these groups of players. This is definitely rather misleading, because the PVI is more likely to be found in the small print, but still acceptable, even if it is ultimately only 30%-40%. We mustn’t forget the daily rake races that bring incredible added value for grinders; then there is also something extra through the exclusive promotions/rake races from the affiliates.
At this point I would like to point out that YourPokerDream offers by far the best deal for GGPoker players!
Comment from YPD: With all due respect for professional players, one has to say that it is not GG being too greedy as much as these particular group of players. It’s not 2010 any more and it’s not reasonable to expect 70%-90% rakeback to be standard, as well as the field of players to be super soft.
How many poker rooms are there in the world that have such a soft field of players as GG, and 24/7 full tables, even at high limits? It’s an easy answer… 60%-65% rakeback with Fish Buffet, Rake Race + Affiliate Promotions – with players also receiving a lot via races – is certainly good.
GG have done a great deal right in their rise to the top, which is a well deserved achievement. Nevertheless, things can go downhill very quickly if even a few poor decisions are made. Perhaps they believe they are invincible, but numerous other online poker rooms have made wrong turns, and we have seen where that can lead.
In order to continue to be consistently successful, and to be able to make your presence felt at the top, especially to not only cement that position but entertain ambitions of moving even further ahead of the competition, one should listen to feedback from the community and from the main affiliates. The best example currently is Pokerstars who, since they lost their long-held place in the sun for a short time, have been changing their strategy by actively approaching the affiliates and also rethinking the rakeback/VIP system.