Back in 2013 Mike McDonald had a dream, a dream where a player’s markup value would not be judged by their own inflated egos, but by a corporate owned algorithm. The result was The Bank of Timex, a market where punters could buy action on any player from Timex rather than going to the player themselves.
The idea was that Timex could set lower prices, so when the punter bought action in their favorite players (or even just their friends) they’d get more bang for their buck. And since it was all being run on US soil by a US company that would have to stay in line with US regulations the assumption was it would be a lot safer too.
Unfortunately US regulations do not allow one to take bets across state lines, one of the many laws used by congress to maintain the illegality of online poker. It took just a few days before Timex was shut down.
McDonald has relaunched the Bank of Timex as Poker Shares. The new site is in public Beta at the moment. The only currency available is Euros and for reasons of simplicity it looks like everything will be priced in Euros index linked to the US dollar value at a rate of 1 to 1. So buy 10% of a $1,000 buy in at 1.10 you will pay €110.00. If your player cashes for $10,000, you’ll get €1,000.
Markups and Action?
For the uninitiated buying action is fairly standard practice in tournament poker. It is a way of investing in another player.
In the example above the price is 1.10, and means for every dollar worth of buy-in you purchase you pay 1.10 times that amount (i.e. 10% of the $1,000 buy-in is $100’s worth. That would cost you $110).
Controversy For The Players
Better security, prices, convenience - it all sound like a good thing. Certainly plenty of people have been sounding off on Twitter to that effect.
— Jason Mo (@cuntycakes123) January 5, 2017
— Brian Hastings (@brianchastings) January 5, 2017
But not everyone is thrilled. Understandably a lot of players are unhappy at the prospect of having to drop their markup to compete, or of losing the ability to sell action altogether. This is a bigger deal than it might at first seem, large tournaments have extremely high variance and selling action can mitigate that. It can also mean that lower end players won’t enter the more expensive tournaments. In the old model the money spent on action went into the prize pools of tourneys. Poker Shares is taking that money away, reducing prize pools and increasing the average skill level in tournaments.
Profit For the Punters
But for the individual, you can now buy your friend’s action at a better price and get action on your favorite celebrity player, those tourney live streams are a damned sight more enjoyable when you’ve got money riding on a couple of the horses.
So who knows? It might even be good for the game.
If you want to give the beta a try, head over to PokerShares.com. Or if you want to know more have a look at their tutorial video below:
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