The following material was contributed by John Mehaffey (aka Pokeraddict in Casinomeister’s Poker Forum). Our regional expert on the field of Poker has these tips and guidance:
A proposition, or prop player works for the poker room. This player plays just as any other player does. The prop does not have any unfair advantage, does not collude with other players or the house, and plays with their own money. This player gets either a set amount per hand or around 100% of their rake back. The way the house would figure this is on theoretical rake. If the house rakes $1 and there were five players the prop would get paid twenty cents, or one fifth of the rake. All this player had to do was get dealt in, they did not have to flop to get paid. At the end of the week this pay is directly deposited into their player account and can be cashed out just as any other player would or kept in the room to have a bigger bankroll to move up in limits.
The reason poker rooms pay these players is to get games started and keep the short handed games alive. They also want customers to feel welcome so it is customary to at the very least say hello, or nice hand etc. Just about every poker room employs props in one way or another. Usually props are found only at the higher limits offered and at short tables although most have rules that allow full table play as long as one of their games is short handed. Some rooms employ props only for less popular games such as stud or omaha.
Many props have no other job, they sit at their computer almost all day, everyday playing and racking up the big payday. The goal of many props is simply to break even because the prop pay is equal two or three big bets per 100 hands. This adds up quickly, especially for a good player who can take home a big win in addition to this pay and to players who can play 50 hours a week of multi tables that can rack up 8000-10,000 hands a week. Also many good online props will find that many people who take on the prop job are not very good players and get beat up bad in these short handed games.
So you might be thinking this is the life, a dream come true. Well there are many drawbacks to being an online poker prop. Here are just some of them.
First, the games a prop player plays in are usually not as good as the games you would find at the largest online rooms. Many of these games are almost all props and some of them can be the hardest games to beat online. Even if you get into a good game it could fill and your prop manager might get on your message program and tell you that you must get up and go to a shorter table. You must also be able to play in very short handed games. Most rooms will not require you to play heads up and most forbid all prop games but as soon as a customer sits you must play. These games can be one extreme or the other. They can be as tight as can be where very few hands flop and almost never go to river, or they can be very aggressive where a passive or weak tight player will simply get run over. Another negative is that many rooms require a schedule, eight, twelve, sometimes sixteen required scheduled hours week after week. This can give the feeling of making poker, a once enjoyable hobby, a job. This can cause serious burnout, especially if it is your only source of income. It is also not totally out of the question for an online room to go bust and close owing props pay, or worse their entire bankroll at that site. This has certainly been known to happen a few times. Also when a player bad beats you there is no way to vent, some tilty players need this vent to tell a bad player how bad they are or cuss at them, this is poor etiquette whether you are a prop or not and will certainly get you fired in an instant.
If you prefer 1/2 or below this is probably not for you. You are better off in most cases finding good bonuses at sites and working them off at your limit. Remember a general rule for props, or any player, is to have 300 big bets for the limit they are playing. In other words to move up to 2/4 you need $1200, 3/6 $1800. This may seem high but short handed games you will prop will have huge swings you will have to stomach. You will also have to play more then one game at a time too so two big losing sessions at the same time can be a bankroll killer if you do not have a sufficient cushion.
If it has been your dream to quit your day job and be a poker pro this could be the best way, even after a losing week there is always a pay day. There are many, many more prop jobs then there are people to fill them so if you are interested all you have to do is look. These offers are all over the internet, they just require some investigation and at first are hard to get straight answers due to the privacy the poker rooms involved want, no poker room wants to be known as a prop haven. This can be the kiss of death for a new room. Just be careful with your choice of rooms and good luck at the tables.
John Mehaffey (Pokeraddict)