GGPoker has a clear strategy, however much some players might not like it
The way GGPoker thinks about professional players and rakeback is very difficult to understand for those who play poker full-time. Many are very angry and, looking at certain forums, words like “cheat” or “scam site” are often seen. There are still wild rumours going around that winning players will be deliberately banned, and their money taken.
YourPokerDream has a reputation for always addressing issues openly and transparently, and under no circumstances will we protect a poker room if something does not go as it should. In the case of GG, we do not agree with everything they do, and we address that openly. One such example is the topic of PVI, which we will go into in more detail later.
Professional players are welcome, but there are rules
But let’s return to the rumours that winning players will be specifically blocked. We have addressed this many times, in numerous articles, and now feel we need to do so again. GGPoker does not ban professional/winning players and withhold their funds without good reason! We have a few players in our community who have each made over $250,000 profit in the last year. Nobody was banned, and everyone was able to withdraw their winnings normally. There is no reason whatsoever why this wouldn’t be the case.
However, there are clear rules that are readily available – indeed publicly visible – to every player; and everyone must follow them. If this is not the case, and rules are broken, then GG, like any other poker room, has the right to exclude someone from playing at their network. And those who are banned know exactly why this has happened to them. Of course, no one ever seems to accept that they have done anything wrong, instead pointing the proverbial finger at the poker room. We have seen numerous cases, with various poker rooms, over the years. The evidence was often so overwhelming that even a saint would have found them guilty, yet the player always denied any wrongdoing.
A big problem that in many cases causes annoyance is the practise of “bumhunting” – this is when a strong Cash games player actively and specifically searches for weaker players, simultaneously avoiding their peers. It’s quite normal to see them jump from table to table, hunting down their targets, taking their (often short) stacks and simply moving on when for them the table feels no longer profitable. From the perspective of the so-called bumhunter, of course, this is an absolutely understandable strategy, but it’s a different story as far as less experienced, weaker players are concerned, as well as the online poker room itself. From their point of view they want an environment that doesn’t so easily threaten the effective lifespan of recreational players at their site, and this is precisely why there exists the “bumhunting” rule that’s aimed at preventing someone from systematically targeting weak(er) players in the way described. From a business perspective, then, in contrast to the standpoint of the professional players, it is the poker room’s ‘everyman’ policing policy that is 100% understandable. Now, given that this is just one of a roster of rules that a poker room puts in place with a view to protecting both itself and the vast majority of players for whom the business is providing what is an excellent service via which so many poker fans around the globe are able to enjoy online poker, the question arises as to why so many players still break such a rule, and why they ignore several warnings and insist on continuing to essentially break the contract which they agreed to when joining in the first place. It’s perfectly reasonable to accept that, at some point, breaking the rules will – and should – result in that player having their account closed. It’s not as if there’s a shortage of opportunities to win money at GG – and big money, too! Simply follow the rules and enjoy the game and the possibilities it brings.
The strategy for rakeback could be improved
Rakeback is a word that is not so well received in the GG network. Special flat rakeback deals that can be had with many other providers are prohibited here. Affiliates are also allowed to offer only certain promotions, and even a completely normal rake chase, in which a player receives a cash bonus depending on the points target achieved, has recently been banned. Even such a promotion is considered a kind of rakeback and is therefore not allowed. From the point of view of YPD it is completely incomprehensible because a rake chase is a fantastic promotion, without big risk, with which to motivate even casual players. But it is the way it is, and we have to accept it.
Meanwhile, there is the Fish Buffet Rakeback programme, which applies to all skins in the network, and which boasts up to 60% weekly cashback. Sounds great so far, if it weren’t for PVI. We wrote an in-depth article on this topic because we are always as transparent as possible to our players. The biggest problem with the PVI mechanism is that it is so complex as to be incomprehensible; nobody really knows how it works. Roughly speaking, it is not uncommon for a good player to end up receiving 60% cashback from the Fish Buffet, which in reality is only 30% real rakeback. So on this aspect GGPoker is far behind in comparison with other sites like PartyPoker, Unibet or the iPoker network – and even the WPN Network. Essentially, only GG profits from the PVI factor, which is clearly to the detriment of both player and affiliate.
Of course, there are numerous extra promotions in the form of various rake races/promotions and there is also an extra rake race via YourPokerDream. All of this brings the player extra cash or a kind of rakeback, as the regulars like to call it.
So why is GG so sensitive about rakeback? As mentioned before, rakeback tends to be something which means more to the serious, high(er) volume players, who in turn are usually the stronger players. This section of the player pool isn’t the primary target group of GGPoker, which is something the provider openly admits. All players are welcome, and there are indeed fantastic promotions for sharks and serious regulars, but under no circumstances do they want to attract them with rakeback deals.
Of course, the Fish Buffet is effectively rakeback, as are rake races and so on, but these are seen as different promotions that bring players extra cash.
It is completely legitimate to adopt such a strategy. Let’s take a look at another online poker provider and their approach: PartyPoker has a fantastic rakeback programme – $1 is $1 rake and everything is completely transparent. But that doesn’t make the tables softer, and nor does the number of players increase! Yet GG now has four times as many players as PartyPoker, which strongly suggests that they don’t seem to be doing too much wrong… Their rapid rise in recent years shows us, in fact, that however it might be perceived by some, the strategic direction chosen by GG is proving to be an accurate one.
Nevertheless, there are certainly elements that could be improved. Adjusting PVI a little, or making it more transparent, is one such change for the better, as is allowing a rake chase again. This is not all, of course but, ultimately, neither we nor the players decide – we can only offer constructive suggestions and food for thought…
The goal is an online poker product that appeals to the general public
The goal is to offer a unique product that holds sufficient appeal to every type of player, tailored in some way for the more serious and professional as well as the recreational player. The emphasis shouldn’t be so one-sided to cater for one group that it works against another.
We can already see from the software that GGPoker is quite different from the competition. There are numerous unique features that simply cannot be found anywhere but on the GGNetwork. There are game types that are not available anywhere else, and there is also a way of thinking and strategy that is so far unique.
As we have said, we do not agree 100% with every aspect of the set-up, and there remain elements that can be improved (and which may well be as GG continues to evolve). But we also need to be realistic and understand that there can never be an online poker room that does everything perfectly, and pleases everyone. There will always be features, mechanisms and rules that some like but others absolutely don’t. What matters is that certain fundamental foundations are in place, and that there is a clear vision and perspective for the future.
Crucially, there’s no doubt that GG is constantly looking to move with the times and improve its product to best fit, and to provide players with the best possible online poker experience – this is clearly evidenced in the various promotions, fantastic tournament series, introduction of new formats and games and innovative software adjustments.