In case you missed it I am a big fan of the in-house staking feature from GGPoker. I think it will come into its own during the upcoming World Series of Poker.
I mentioned last week that amongst other things it is a great way for new players to dip their toes into the world of staking. Today I wanted to offer a few beginner tips on how to find a good value package to buy a piece of and what to avoid.
One of the beauties of this feature is that it allows you to buy very small pieces of a tournament player and any winnings get credited right away to your account, so you can mess around with small amounts to get started.
Keep an eye on the markup
When looking at a potential horse the first thing to look at is their profile, which you can access in the lobby. They have the option to include pictures and write a small biography, as well as a small note in the lobby itself. Before you even get to their results this is a good indicator at how seriously they are taking things. If they cannot even be bothered to make their profile look appealing, how seriously will they take the tournament? Also if their message simply says how grateful they would be for staking or they ‘hope to rungood’ you should probably avoid them.
The next thing to look at is their winnings, which is available in the profile page. This gives a crude idea as to how they have fared at GGPoker, but be warned it is turnover, not profit. I suspect GGPoker did this to increase action in staking, because obviously only a small amount of players are long term winners. It does give an idea of the volume the player puts in, but SharkScope is a better (but not entirely accurate) measure of their ability.
As GGPoker is relatively new the players often post graphs and screen names for other sites like PokerStars and partypoker to prove their ability. This is obviously useful information but be warned, there is no guarantee they are posting legitimate screen names. This aspect of the profile page is not policed by GGPoker, so some extra research might need to be done to make sure the screen names at GGPoker and other sites match.
The most important thing after their results is the markup that they are charging. Markup is a premium the horse charges on buying a piece of them. For a player to charge any markup at all is a statement they believe they are +EV in the tournament, so if they are charging markup then they need the stats to back it up. Any markup over 1.2 is a really serious statement they are a big winner.
Pay careful attention to how much of a percentage of themselves they are selling. They can sell anything from 1% to 90%. Selling too high a percentage of oneself is potentially a sign that the player is playing too high stakes for their ability or at least might not be motivated to play for such a small piece of themselves.
Finally, look again at how much markup they are charging when they are selling a big piece of themselves. If somebody sells 90% of themselves in a $100 MTT with a markup of 1.5, they will collect $135 before the tournament even begins. Not only does this mean that they might not be motivated to play for such a small percentage it is possible they might not even bother playing, having made $35 profit on their buy-in before the first hand is dealt.
All of this is not to scare monger at all, the GGPoker staking feature is fun, quite risk free and there are bargains to be had. There are just a few pitfalls to avoid like in any staking arrangement.
Do you use this feature? Let us know in the comments: