· Published 17.08.2021 · last updated 17.08.2021

Another backward step at GGPoker causes players to feel less than satisfied

It is really no secret that, when it comes to transparency, GGPoker is definitely not one of the leading online poker rooms. One reason for this is the PVI – Player Value Index. This is used to differentiate between good and bad players, and determines how quickly or slowly a player collects points not only for the Fish Buffet rewards programme, but also for the rake races of affiliates, such as our $80,000 GG rake race.

The problem is not the PVI itself but the lack of transparency in its execution, and it is this that has been the cause of considerable criticism from players. It would still be understandable for everyone if a winning player collects 20%-30% fewer points for the Fish Buffet, but that it may be 50%-65% less is not acceptable to anyone. Even the iPoker network – the only provider that uses a similar calculation model – evaluates a minimum of 50% of the rake generated, and, apparently, it should now even be increased to a minimum of 60%-65%. At GG this is clearly a nuisance! On the one hand, you want to make money and have full tables; for that you need the professional players who fill the tables for hours every day and who generate rake. The majority of income is not brought about by the casual gamers who play a little bit here and there, but those players who sit at the tables just about every day for longer periods – typically up to eight hours per day. If these players weren’t there, the tables would be dead!

Another point of criticism for many players is the Fish Buffet itself, which is advertised with 60% cashback. That all sounds very good at first, of course, but reality shows that at least the regulars receive only 30%-40% in the end due to the PVI deduction. Again, the big problem is simply the lack of transparency! As we’ve already mentioned, the iPoker network uses a similar system to PVI, but there is more transparency here, at least with regard to the VIP system/Rakeback, which is advertised with 30%-35% real rakeback and, as far as players are concerned, with everything being clearly understandable. 60% does look better at first glance but, ultimately, it’s actually exactly the same as with iPoker.

GG goes one step further

It’s been standard for a long time now that affiliates could see the PVI details and were subsequently able to communicate this to players upon request. This information has recently been removed from the reports for affiliates so that, unfortunately, we could no longer provide players with any such information. The reasoning behind this backward step is clear only to GG, but it appears that the logic is to simply avoid players knowing how much GG is deducting. It’s a shame that this development came about at all, because a player actually has the right to receive this information on request; it’s possible to enquire about this via Support, which we cannot access at this point in time. Note that, even if Support refused to provide this information, players could anyway carry out the calculations themselves.

Unjustified Bumhunting warnings

Again and again, players receive warnings about alleged bumhunting. This is indeed a genuine problem that does need addressing when it happens but, interestingly, many professional players receive warnings in which the usernames of other professional players are given! This, of course, makes no sense at all, and certainly not with those playing the 8-14 tables simultaneously. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that something is quite wrong here. It is very likely that these warnings are not based on manual checks because if this was how it was done it would be immediately clear that such warnings make no sense and are thus without justification.

The absurd thing about these bumhunting warnings is that the players who actually don’t do anything else from morning to evening, and who anyone could recognise, can continue to play without any problems and receive no warning – especially at the VIP tables, with 95% of the players’ habits clearly visible. But here, too, there is a logical explanation. If GG were to strictly enforce their own guidelines, they would have to block all professional high rollers, and the VIP tables would be dead. Here, too, the regulars are the deciding factor as to why these tables run at all.

Of course, it is very difficult to explain – and justify – the criteria behind why warnings are or are not given, and here is another example of how the necessary transparency and clarity are simply missing.

GGPoker could do a lot more with the transparency of Pokerstars or partypoker

In terms of the product and its potential, the prospects for GGPoker are great. So much has been done very well indeed, and the newfound place at the top of the pile of online poker is well deserved – as we have reported numerous times. However, it would be foolhardy not to remember that the tide can turn very quickly if mistakes are made and the trust of the community is lost as a consequence.

It’s no longer expected that the focus should be so heavily on professional players – that would definitely be the wrong way to go. The core idea and strategy are perfectly fine, but a poker room that strives to set itself apart from the competition with a view to cementing their long-term edge nevertheless needs a certain degree of transparency, and for this to be at all levels, with everyone in mind.

It’s worth mentioning the other big fish here, namely Pokerstars. Again, the name evokes differing opinions – not all positive. It’s certainly true that a number of decisions have been made during the last few years that have not been well received by the poker community. Interestingly, only now is it being (slowly) realized that some aspects of their strategy might not have brought about the desired results and, as a result, harmonious cooperation with affiliates is once again being sought. However, when it comes to the issue of transparency, Stars have always behaved in an exemplary manner, and players have never been in the dark as to how this or that element of the mechanics is carried out. It’s similar with partypoker.

Significantly, when contemplating the potential for the otherwise forward-thinking GGPoker, if they had made sure of maintaining a level of transparency and communication with players along the (clear) lines as  Pokerstars or partypoker, GG would now be miles ahead of the competition.

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