(Canada Cal, still subbing for Haley, who was last sighted snorkeling in Crater Lake---)
World Sports Exchange's rake-free poker is no more. Mentioned with but a whisper, and picked up by just a couple of sites to date, including Bill's Poker Blog, WSEX was widely hailed by dozens as the ultimate and obvious evolutionary zenith in online poker --- a site where rake wasn't charged by the house, and where poker players could compete against each other in the truest sense of the game.
WSEX placed its poker operations as what is known as a "loss leader"; by offering rake-free poker, they hoped, they would attract site customers to the profit-generating portions of their site. (It wasn't technically rake-free, either, but was instead a 100% refund of rake generated.)
Anyhow, it didn't work out. WSEX turned into the rockiest of rock gardens, with player after player hanging around looking for the immortal nuts and refusing to bet with anything less. "Player after player" became true in the singular sense, as well, because WSEX's player base, as reported on Poker Site Scout and elsewhere, dropped continuously, to the point where the network barely registers. It's like the needle's on "E" on the WSEX gas tank --- there's a few customers rumbling around in the bottom of the tank, if no one is exactly sure where.
Anyhow, WSEX has decided that if no one;s gonna play, then they may as well charge some rake. (Figure out the logic in that one, if you can.) Instead of refunding 100% of all rake genrated, the site will now refund only 75%. That would still be a pretty good deal if it wasn't such a rock garden, but the site remains that.
So, who'll be the next person who thinks rake-free pker is a viable business model? And no, Dutch Boyd doesn't count....