Originally Posted by Arjonius
For all players taken as a single group, poker is -EV since the sites and casinos take some money for fees and rake. It's the same for any form of poker except for those times when there are no-fee and no-rake promos in effect. Otherwise, they are always siphoning money out of the total pool that the players put in.
As to whether playing will be a losing proposition, that's where differential ability comes in. In the long run, for those whose ability relative to their opponents' is above average by enough to overcome the fees and rake, poker will be profitable. The rest (estimates run as high as 75-80%), will break even or lose.
I don't expect anything different than a website that has servers in place running these games around the clock. Poker isn't -EV if you're a winning player. I certainly wouldn't want to be providing a service like poker games
and not charging a fee/rake. I see paying rake as standard and you shouldn't really calculate that in terms of your EV. You play you game in a +EV way, rake isn't ever going to matter. The way you say is that they are robbing you for money lol, hell if you begrudge paying a little fee for playing on THEIR server which costs THEM money, then don't play at all.
OP: They are profitable, but not by much. Most players playing these mass multi table them in order to receive rakeback, thus most of their profits coming from there. There are top players, up to the $100 limits, who are playing 20 tables at a time and maybe averaging 1-2% ROI but make the mass majority via rakeback. I know of someone who does this and makes $5.00 an hour, mass multi tabling but once you add his rakeback to his hourly, he earns in excess of $80.00 an hour.
On a personal level, I wouldn't bother with them, very boring, time consuming and the most boring form of poker. If you have a small BR though, I guess they are a safe bet.