Best Pool Rules
In my opinion, more or less in order:
1) Lowest fees
1a) Shares transaction fees
1b) Any pool that does NOT share transaction fees should be rejected from consideration (which, unfortunately, is most, if not all, Chinese based pools)
2) Reasonable variance – You need to get paid often enough to be happy. This is a tough one.
Variance is the close cousin to “Luck”.
The luckier a pool is, the more blocks it finds relative to its hashing speed, and the less variance it will have. But its not a real thing! “Luck” could change any microsecond.
“Luck” is just mathematical statistics – over a long enough time period, all pools will average out to 100% luck.
You need to understand Variance:
A big pool finds more blocks, but distributes the earnings out to more miners.
A small pool is just the reverse: it finds fewer blocks, but pays those earnings to fewer people. Over the long run, Rule #1, well, rules.
3) Wind-up/Wind-down time – Most pools use some leveling algorithm.
4) User Interface – That doesn’t matter much if you have a few miners. If you have hundreds, the difference can be thousands of dollars a Year.
A) In the long run #2 & #3 really don’t matter much. Both pools show your hashing rate in minutes, payouts just lag on Kano compared to Slushpool, but would continue longer if you changed in the future
B) Bigger is not better. Sure Antpool is #1 in size, in no small part to Bitmain using their own pool (no fees for them!). Your profit will be determined mostly by rule #1 – lower fees mean more profit.
C) More, smaller, pools is healthier for the blockchain. If you can live with the variance, support the pool with the longest average payout you are happy with.
D) For pools with long ramp up times that are relatively small, like Kano, you MIGHT suffer due to difficulty changes while you ramp up.
For smaller pools, make sure you understand what happens to your efforts (based on their scoring system) when a difficulty change occurs.