Maximizing Your Win Rate in PLO

Your win rate is the ultimate indicator of your success in poker and has a crucial effect on how aggressive your bankroll management can be.

To maximize your win rate, it’s important to have a good understanding of its building blocks. In this article, we’ll analyze win rate components and how you can optimize for it in practice.

The Components of Win Rate

In the following image, you see how your win rate is constructed. Your net win rate is the final number, and is determined by subtracting the effective rake from your true win rate.

Net Win Rate Formula
TRUE WIN RATE
EFFECTIVE RAKE
NET WIN RATE

True Win Rate

Your true win rate reflects how you perform against the competition at a given site and how the cards are dealt. It will generally show to what extent you’re crushing the games with all site conditions left aside. Variance plays a big role but is outside our control.

True win rate is largely affected by the level of competition. Optimization can be achieved by:

  • Playing your A-game from a mental game perspective.
  • Improving your strategic understanding of the game.
  • Focusing on the best playing hours and the softest games.

Increasing your true win rate is very specific and player-pool dependent. One playing style might fit better in environments with certain population tendencies than others.

Effective Rake

Effective rake is what’s left after subtracting the poker site bonuses and rakeback money from the rake paid at the tables.

Effective Rake Formula
RAKE PAID
FIRST-DEPOSIT BONUS
RAKEBACK
RAKE RACE / CHASE VALUE
EFFECTIVE RAKE

These 4 factors can lower the effective rake number and therefore increase your net win rate.

  • Rake paid – Dependent on the rake structure in place, differs per poker site and other factors
  • First-deposit bonus – Most sites offer a welcome bonus that adds to your net win rate
  • Rakeback – Most sites offer a rakeback system to value players for putting in volume
  • Rake race/chase value – Additional value coming from races/chases organized by the poker site and/or affiliates

Comparing effective rake numbers among poker sites will give you an idea how multiple factors play a role determining your win rate.

Net Win Rate

Your net win rate amounts to the total money earned. You don’t just want the highest true win rate, you want the maximum net win rate, earning the most money possible.

Picking the right poker site is key to maximizing your net win rate.

Because you can have a huge edge over your opponents reflected by a high true win rate, if the conditions you’re playing in are poor, your net win rate can still be significantly reduced.

The poker site you choose also determines the factors for your effective rake.

If you need any help choosing the best poker site for you, check out this article with our top recommendations to play PLO.

Win Rate in Practice

Another way of calculating your net win rate is by including all the components individually. In this method, you calculate your gross win rate first by subtracting rake paid from your true win rate. Then you add first-deposit bonus, rakeback, and rake race / chase value to get the final number.

Gross / Net Win Rate Formula
TRUE WIN RATE
RAKE PAID
GROSS WIN RATE
+
FIRST-DEPOSIT BONUS
+
RAKEBACK
+
RAKE RACE / CHASE VALUE
NET WIN RATE

Your gross win rate is also the number showing in Hold’em Manager 3 / Poker Tracker 4.

Win Rate Exercise

In the following comparison, assumptions have been made to showcase how win rate numbers will look like at specific sites. The takeaway is to understand how your win rate is constructed and how different factors have an impact on your bottom line.

The information used in the examples below can be found on our featured tactics article. You can also refer to the article for the same information regarding the most popular sites for PLO and reproduce the exercise to find out what’s the best fit for you.

Let’s take a look at a PLO50 comparison between GGPoker and PokerStars. Based on our research, 11 and 12 big blinds are paid in rake per 100 hands (bb/100) respectively.

GGPoker logo
PokerStars logo
PLO50 – 11 bb/100 in rake
PLO50 – 12 bb/100 in rake
10,000 hands played
10,000 hands played
Net
bb/100
Net
bb/100
TRUE WIN RATE
$1,000
20
$1,000
20
RAKE PAID
$550
11
$600
12
GROSS WIN RATE
$450
9
$400
8
+
FIRST-DEPOSIT BONUS
$125
2.5
(25%)
$0
+
RAKEBACK
$125
2.5
(25%)
$30
.6
(5%)
+
RAKE RACE / CHASE VALUE
$0
NET WIN RATE
$700
14
$430
8.6

If you already have a GGPoker account you won’t qualify for the first-deposit bonus. It’s been included because a dynamic approach regarding bonuses will lower your effective rake number and improve your net win rate.

High hand jackpots on GGPoker can be treated as extra rakeback and have been left out because it’s hard to attach a number to them.

On top of the $20k daily rake race leaderboard organized by GGPoker, there’s additional money to be earned in the GGPoker rake race within our Black Card program.

Whether you’re able to capitalize on these additional benefits is different per poker player since it’s based on location, the stakes you’re playing and the volume you will put in.

Here we see the effective rake number is 6 bb/100 on GGPoker and 11.4 bb/100 on Pokerstars.

GGPoker logo
PokerStars logo
PLO50 – 11 bb/100 in rake
PLO50 – 12 bb/100 in rake
10,000 hands played
10,000 hands played
Net
bb/100
Net
bb/100
RAKE PAID
$550
11
$600
12
FIRST-DEPOSIT BONUS
$125
2.5
(25%)
RAKEBACK
$125
2.5
(25%)
$30
.6
(5%)
RAKE RACE / CHASE VALUE
EFFECTIVE RAKE
$300
6
$570
11.4

To check out the impact on our net win rate we need to attach a true win rate. For comparing purposes we assume the level of competition is similar and set the true win rate at 20 bb/100 for both sites.

After implementing the numbers from the effective rake calculation we can see the effect on our net earnings.

GGPoker
True win rate (20) – Effective rake (6) = Net win rate (14)

Pokerstars
True win rate (20) – Effective rake (11.4) = Net win rate (8.6)

As we can see, our net win rate on GGPoker is 14 bb/100 compared to 8.6 bb/100 on Pokerstars.

You can see how the additional benefits quickly add up. If you’re a high-volume player you should be able to achieve double the net win rate on GGPoker compared to Stars in this example given the superior rakeback conditions.

To continually maximize your win rate, be on your toes about the environment you play in and keep a dynamic approach to the ever-changing circumstances.

Conclusion

It’s important to keep in mind that our net win rate can be optimized in two ways.

The first way is to boost your true win rate by improving your game from a strategic and/or mental game perspective, and by selecting the best games at the right times.

The second way is to lower the effective rake by selecting the site with the best conditions for you. As you saw in the comparison, multiple factors play a role in determining this number.

To boost your win rate even more, consider participating in an affiliate program like Black Card.

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Tom Smeets

Tom Smeets

I have been into online poker for about 17 years and I’m still passionate about the game! I am currently the Affiliate Manager for PLO Mastermind. My main area of expertise is the decisions on ‘where to play’ and under which conditions.
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