In July, Jonas Ödman, Vice President of Bodog Network, wrote an article about the evolving rakeback war between Party Poker and iPoker. Party had made all their MTT’s “rake free” while iPoker were lowering the cash game rake by 50% on some of their tables. Ödman pointed out that the negative effects on Party’s revenue would be twofold: not only would the lowered price mean lower revenues, but it would also attract more winning (withdrawing) players which would lower their revenue even more.
In August, Party made a U-turn and drastically changed their strategy. First, they ditched the “rake free” tournaments. Then they increased the rake cap on their higher limit cash game tables. We do not know what triggered this sudden change of direction — either the negative effects became obvious or Party started listening to their Bwin/Ongame colleagues who increased the rake on their low-limit tables by 33% in June. As Mike Sexton would say, “the price of poker is going up!”
Or is it? Following Party’s announcement, irate players organized a mass ‘sit-out’ at the $3/6 and $5/10 NLHE tables, effectively carbon-freezing a lot of Party’s mid-stakes action. (A similar tactic was employed last summer by French poker players to protest the .fr sites passing on the burden of France’s punitive tax scheme via increased rake). In response, the ‘Party_Rep’ spokesman made the following announcement on the 2+2 forum:
The release that was planned for today (August 24th) has been pushed back to tomorrow. This is the release that contains the change to weighted/contributed rake, as well as the rake changes at $3/6 and $5/10 NL Hold’em cash game tables. Based off of player feedback, we are discussing the possibility of not implementing the rake changes for $3/6 and $5/10 NL, and will make a decision in the morning.
Come the dawn came the following update:
We were able to remove the rake changes for $3/6 and $5/10 levels from the release. Therefore, no changes will be made to the rake structure of those games. We appreciate the player feedback.