Markup – The Ethical Grey Area Of Poker


Twitter broke out into frenzy when Johnnie Vibes went live selling a package after almost a 1.4 markup. Markup in the staking context has always been controversial and sitting in the grey area. What is this markup? It’s an essential premium a poker player adds because they believe they are such a good investment based on their past achievements and skill sets.

The arguments in favour of the markup believed:

1.Free market case – If you are a professional player/investor you would know to avoid the investment. They are of the belief that you’d rather have a world where bad investments can be offered compared to one where a central body prohibits certain offers.

  1. Maximizing EV – Few people are also of the belief that poker is a game of maximizing EV and that is all Vibes was doing. In a free market he is entitled to charge and investors also are entitled to not put up their money,

The argument against the markup stated:

Ryan Daut (who wrote on staking) shared “When I sell a % of myself in tournaments to someone else, we are de facto business partners going in on the same investment, we are both rooting for the same thing. I think it’s unethical to knowingly offer your partner in a business arrangement a losing deal.”

The debates on markup are here to stay and be deliberated on. However a balanced/neutral position would be to create a win-win situation for both the player and the investor. Deals are no longer about being cutthroat and taking advantage of the other person. Successful entrepreneurs get to the top by making mutually beneficial partnerships.

While the free market approach is here to stay and people will continue to charge what they want, others will continue to have their say on whether it’s a good deal or not.

To win-win situations!