People who are familiar with the world of online poker know exactly how big an impact a nice rakeback deal
can have on their monthly poker revenue. They also know that while there are a few operators out there which offer 50-60% rake back, the industry standard is around 30%.
These people would find it quite unbelievable if someone told them that there were rakeback deals out there offering 100% or even more rakeback to players. That's right, and you know what it means to be paid a more than 100% rakeback, right? It means you'll actually be paid to play poker.
These extra-generous rakeback deals are called prop deals, and the act of playing on such a deal is called poker propping. Players who engage in poker propping are called prop players or simply: props.
I know what you're all thinking about though: how is it possible for a poker room to allow players to play rake free, and even more: pay them for playing? Where is the revenue for the poker room in this setup?
Well, to tell you the truth, there is no direct revenue for the poker room on such prop deals, it actually costs the room money. The benefits here are much less obvious, yet they are important nonetheless.
Prop deals are usually only offered by poker rooms which struggle with player traffic. Such rooms are usually those which are newly created, and do not yet possess the ability to attract large numbers of players. The main problem that every new poker room is confronted with is how to get past the critical player liquidity. The critical liquidity is the minimum number of players who can provide action on most of the room's tables around the clock. Without the critical player liquidity being attained, an online poker room cannot really function.
Prop players are "hired" by the room to provide action and to create a large-enough player base so that critical liquidity is attained. From there on, provided the room offers good action, nice promotions, bonuses and maybe even standard rakeback ( just to keep those freshly signed up players loyal) the whole system becomes a self-catering one, attracting new players without the need for direct investment from the poker room.
Now that you know why poker rooms offer such desperately generous rakeback deals, let's take a look at what it's like to be a prop player.
A poker prop will not be able to enjoy most of the regular bonuses offered by the poker room (although there are exceptions to this).
A prop might be restricted to play certain limits/stakes, in the higher range where the player-base is always stretched thin. Some poker rooms do allow props to play on low and micro limits too though.
Prop players will never be allowed to wait in queue at a full table. They'll be required to open a new table whenever possible thus further aiding the propagation of traffic through the site.
Some sites do not allow props to play at STT tables, and most of them feature restrictions for these guys. At a 6 handed table for instance, no more than 2 props are allowed. Prop players cannot play heads-up against each other, and they need to check in via IM with the shiftmanager when they intend to prop at tourney tables.
In a word, a prop's life is not all sugar and spice, but at the end of day, many otherwise losing players have become successful online, thanks to these prop deals and the out of this world rakeback they offer.
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