Picking a Pool

I am scared to ask this here but I am really overwhelmed as to how someone gets to pick a pool?

I just want to sit it and forget it for a while!
Also, when I click delegate on Yoroi, it says processing forever then fails! Any suggestions?


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As in how to delegate to a pool or what pool to pick?

There are quite a few pool comparison sites that provide information to help you pick.


There are a few considerations:

Most people want the highest RoA or return on ADA
You want to pick a pool that isn’t saturated or near saturation - basically if a pool has over ~65M ADA in it is near saturation
You also want to note what the minimum fee the pool charges. The pool fee and pool margin is subtracted from the total rewards before the delegates receive any rewards. So if for example a Pool is charging a 100% margin - delegates will get 0 ADA in rewards, some ISPO pools do this to swap out ADA rewards for other token rewards and some scam pools also do this.

You also need to be in a pool who has ‘met’ the pledge amount a pool not honoring their pledge is not able to receive rewards. There will be an alert notice on pool.pm or ADAtools if the pool pledge is not met.

Other considerations:

There are quite a few pools who are referred to as mission driven pools - these pools participate in initiatives or charities. They use pool rewards to contribute to a mission - some people want to support these initiatives and delegate to these pools.

There are Single Operator pools - Pools run by one operator as opposed to an operator who is running 2-3-4-5 pools many people like to support single-operator or smaller pools.

A note on small pools: A pool with less than ~1m ADA is unlikely to pay rewards every 5 days unlike a pool with 1 - 65 M ADA. If you want consistent rewards pick a pool on the upper end of saturation.

Yoroi has been under heavy load lately so wait until a non peak time. Also I believe yoroi has just rolled out some updates to address the problems they have had lately - so just try again at a non peak time.

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Check out some of the iso and idos happening now… It’s a clickbaity title but has some good information. Learn Cardano is a great channel.

Of note:

adapools.org presents a pre-ranked view of pools by default. Ranking is as per their proprietary algorithm. Preferred by large and multi-pool stake pool operators.

adatools.io presents a randomized view of pools by default. Preferred by small stake pool operators.

poolpeek.com has a pool selection wizard which is very nice. Saves loads of time when evaluating pools.

others include:


There may be others.

Full disclosure: We pay monthly to support adapools.org (most traffic and paid ads). We are enthusiastic supporters of the adatools.io randomization policy. We are enthusiastic supporters of the poolpeek.io pool selection wizard (when choosing small, bare metal, single pool operators).

Happy pool hunting! :slightly_smiling_face:

A few more things:

  1. Over the long-term, your returns will be the “approximately” the same no matter which pool you pick. Rewards are governed by the math; and the math will normalize rewards across pools, eventually.
  2. Stats showing significantly more than 100% Lifetime Luck means the pool was overly lucky in the recent past and minted more than their expected share of blocks. That means they are more likely to NOT produce blocks again until that luck normalizes to ~100%. Ditto regarding stats showing APR significantly more than the average.
  3. Stats showing significantly less than 100% Lifetime Luck means the pool likely missed producing its expected share of blocks. Some interpret that to mean the stake pool may have problems.

As background, we were extremely lucky to mint 2 blocks relatively early. Our Lifetime Luck was 2,500% after the 1st block and 5,000% after the 2nd block (!). Yield was something ridiculous way over 50%. Speculative delegators saw those stats and flocked to us. It has (currently) been 10 epochs since we minted that 2nd block and those pool hoppers were disappointed and left to chase other extraordinarily high stats. Whatever you do, don’t chase abnormally high stats, as you will likely get under-performing rewards.

If you are delegating for the long-term, just pick a pool you like and stick with them.

[I am sure someone will come along now and post meticulous calculations about how the mandatory minimum fees and optional fees will impact your yield by +/- 1-2% *and not be wrong*, either. It is up to you to consider and decide whether any of that matters. To some it does, to some it does not.]


Over the long-term, your returns will be the “approximately” the same no matter which pool you pick.

While this statement is true for the pool itself (i.e. every ADA staked will receive the same reward no matter which pool that ADA is staked in) it is not true for the delegator reward. Cost per block differs significantly between pools. For example, if a pool mints on average 1 block per epoch, keeps 340 ADA fix and has 0% margin - we have (for 650 ADA block reward) a cost per block of …

340 / (1 * 650) => 52%

With such a pool, the delegator looses more than half of their rewards. In reality, it is actually not quite as bad because of the Bernoulli 0 blocks event i.e. 40% of annual epochs will have no block and 60% one or more - a 0 block epoch has no cost to the delegator.

In comparison, a pool that mints 20 blocks per epoch would have a cost of …

340 / (20 * 650) => 2.6%

This is a cost to the delegator - not the operator.

There are pools, that give a significant part of their pool rewards back to the delegator, which reduces their “cost per block”. For example, a pool that mints 10 blocks per epoch and locks 300 ADA pool rewards in a smart contract (for delegators to collect as extra payout), would have an “effective cost per block” of …

(340 - 300) / (10 * 650) => 0.6%

It outperforms the other pool that mints twice as many blocks by 1/4. The cost to the delegator is reduced such that there is effectively no difference between operator and delegator reward - the pool runs non-profit.

Here is good reward calculator where you can examine this effect.

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However, that presumes stagnation and doesn’t necessarily hold true as the pool grows. Hence, over the long-term (presuming reasonable growth and low/no optional fees), delegator yield ends up being “approximately” equal across all pools.

The actual math is far more complex, but holds true.

For quick and easy evidence, one only need compare lifetime yields of successful pools.

there are also charitable pools, if you are so inclined, you still get rewards comparable to the regular pools but the charitable ones like KIND Pool send a percentage of their profits to charities. Just a thought
:slight_smile: Matt