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Poker News | Online Poker | News

Online Poker and the Estimated Value

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During my poker trip last spring, I kept very accurate records of my play and what the overhead cost was at the poker table. I played a total of 54 hours, of small no limit Hold'em, $200-300 maximum buy-in, at three different casinos. The cumulative results are probably the best reason to play online poker that you will ever have.
I broke the numbers into four categories: Rake/Collection, Jackpot, Dealer tips, and Waitress tips. Good dealers are seldom paid enough, and I just love a good set of legs that flirts. These working stiffs earn the money we pay them, but those tips are an additional expense that we do not pay when playing online poker. I only counted the rake and jackpot if I actually won the hand. Not really correct it but does reflect my lost EV.

At the Imperial Palace, the only Poker Room open on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, they had converted to collection instead of rake, and the good old boys didn't understand the implications. They played like they talk, slow and often with very little forethought. This affected the dealers who dealt in a slow leisurely manner and we saw very few hands per hour. I doubt if we got 30 hands per hour and probably averaged only 25. During the two collection periods I count we got 10 and 11 hands. Now I know why those rude California tourists called time so quickly. Well here is the breakdown.

150 hands
Collection $72
Jackpot $5
Dealer Tips $7
Waitress Tips $15
Cost per Hour $20
Cost per Hand $.67

The Silver Star in Meridian Mississippi, an Indian casino, actually has some very good games on the weekends, and bonus nights. The dealers were probably worse than the Coast, but the players were better and we got about 30 hands per hour.

540 hands
Rake $128
Jackpot $32
Dealer Tips $41
Waitress Tips $68
Cost per Hour $15
Cost per Hand $.50

The Excalibur in Las Vegas was much better. The difference in cost when there are competent dealers and relatively experienced players is quite significant. I booked almost 30 hours of play.

1200 hands
Rake $210
Jackpot $71
Dealer Tips $102
Waitress Tips $112
Cost per Hour $16.50
Cost per Hand $.41

The totals for the complete trip:

1890 hands
Rake/Collection $410
Jackpot $108
Dealer Tips $150
Waitress Tips $195
Cost per Hour $16.50
Cost per Hand $.46

Online there are some straight forward reductions. No Tips $345 and No Jackpot $108. (Have I ever said I hate jackpots and think they are very bad for poker?) With a maximum rake of $3 online instead of the $5 found in most casinos, the Rake is reduced by about 40% or another $164. So for the same number of hands I can expect to pay $246 in overhead.

1890 hands1890 hand
$863 overhead$246 overhead

This reduces my overhead by $617, and I could have completed those hands in about half the time because of the increased number of hands per hour played online.

When coupled with the other expenses for transportation, hotels, the final cost per hand of $.13 is a strong argument for online poker. Now add sign-up and deposit bonuses that many online poker rooms offer like: Tony G - 200% , Mansion -100% and Titan Poker - 100% , and it appears Online poker is the Positive EV choice.

Good luck,

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