I had a little look at some more stats from the last year. In particular, I wanted to look at the rake I'm paying to play fixed limit at my main sites: Red Star on the Cake network, and Purple Lounge on Microgaming. I have 33% rakeback on Red Star, and a VIP deal which is superficially considerably more than that on Purple Lounge. I play mainly 2/4 to 5/10 Euro on Purple lounge, and 3/6 and 5/10 USD on Red Star.
On Cake, both 3/6 and 5/10 are costing me roughly 3 big bets per 100 hands in rake. I get 33% of that back automatically, and probably another 15% through races and bonuses.
On Microgaming, I was somewhat surprised to discover that 2/4 and 3/6 are costing me almost 5 big bets per 100 hands. At that rate, I need 60% VIP in order to make the equivalent of what I get on Cake (not including the Cake races and bonuses). My deal is good, but it's not that good. 5/10 is a little better, costing around 3.8BB/100 in rake but I find that the variance at that level is a bit steep, even when the play seems terrible.
In play, I actually made a small loss of around 0.5BB/100 on Microgaming in the last 12 months (easily covered by the VIP bonus but still not great), while on Cake I made a profit of 1.7BB/100. It felt to me like I was just running bad on Micro and good on Cake, but looking at the numbers it seems like the difference can be entirely explained by the 1-2BB/100 difference in rake between the two. I am going to have to have a think about where I am going to play over the next year.
Considering the above, I had a think about hourly rates. If I were to play 4 tables and a mix of limits of 3/6 and 5/10, I could probably make around $30 an hour or more from rakeback alone. Races and bonuses would probably add another $10-$15. Then if I actually managed to turn a profit on the tables, that would add a further $30 or maybe more based on a winrate of 1BB/100. That's over $70 an hour based on a pretty modest winrate.
It's certainly food for thought. I don't think I would ever consider doing this full time, because I like my job, and because playing 40 hours of poker a week could be just soul destroying. But it is interesting to see that I could probably make a pretty decent income from it if I really needed to. For now it's a handy extra bit of money from time to time, and an ability to cover some decent tournament buyins.
And it is of course always interesting to note that the poker rooms and affiliate mafia make at least as much money out of me as I do.