Skip to main content

The Fish Theory of Poker Rooms

My uncle once told me he wanted to open up a singles bar. He told me about all the things he would do to attract women to the bar. If you can get the women to show up, the men would follow.

The same philosophy works in poker rooms, live or online.

Poker is, by nature, a zero-sum game. For every dollar someone wins, someone else has to lose a dollar.

Poker in a public card room is a negative sum game. Because the house takes a cut, total losses are greater than total winnings.

As a result, it is a very small percentage of poker players who win more than they lose.

This small percentage of players are the least cost-effective to market to. If winning is the most important reason you play poker, you will play where ever the players are easiest to beat for the most money.

In other words, you will go where the fish are.

What does this mean?

If you own a poker room your best customers are the professionals who are there day after day. But these are not the people you need to please. The people you need to please are the casual players, the ones you see less often, the ones who you can have as customers regardless of whether they win or not.

If you are a professional poker player, do not expect management to run the room they way you want or the way that is most favorable for you.

What works?

I don’t know.

I know jackpots help. Giving away a lot of jackpot money give losing poker players another chance to be winners. This is especially effective in California where poker is the main gambling outlet.