I love these threads, they remind me of the scene in Hitch Hikers where Deep Thought tells the religious people he can work out the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything! They dont like it until he tells them it will take him 6.5 million years to calculate so in the meantime they can keep themselves on the gravy train of competing theories for life...
Anyway, imagine a machine that you put 100 ped into and it gives you 90 ped back when you push the "loot" button. If you dont push the "loot" button, the money carries over. Have a queue of people using the machine and pushing the button each time and they will each have a 90% return. This doesnt mean that the people themselves are remembered by the machine, it just means that the machine pays out 90%.
Now imagine a slightly different machine that pays out an AVERAGE of 90%, but can be as low as say 50% sometimes or as high as 150% others. Any time its a bit higher/lower than 90%, it tries to return to 90% average. The same queue of people use it and, to them, they get widely differing loot returns in the short run. Over the longer run though, statistically they will return to the mean of 90%. This is still without any memory of what they've got before.
Now, someone thinks that they've spotted a trick (the equivalent of shooting into the air) by not pressing the "loot" button. They put a sequence of 10x100 peds into the machine so the machine will pay out 900 ped when you press the loot button (of HOF if you like). This is fine, providing the person who paid in the peds is the same person as the one taking them out. As there is no personal loot pool, this is not guaranteed. Anyone pressing the loot button will get the peds, regardless of how much they themselves put in.
So, now imagine that the machine is a server (e.g. LA/TP area) and this machine is trying to stay at 90% return and has a "pool" of peds added (decay on this server). This machine also has a daily "accounting" where it sees how close it is to 90% over the last 24 hrs and adjusts the pool size to help it return to 90% in the next 24 hrs (see how I built in the lag hour there? nice huh?). Everyone fighting on this server is contributing to the server pool. If only 1 person is there, and the server is currently at its 90% average, that one person can think there is a personal loot pool as it seems to acts like that. If there are 100 people there, then it would be clear there isnt a personal loot pool, but there is a server pool. The person shooting 10k peds into the ground is filling the pool, but anyone on that server could collect it, not just the person shooting the ground. Should be easy to prove - get a rich idiot to shoot the ground and never loot, and a smart person killing the odd mob and looting it - the looter should get WAY over 90% return (statistically 180% if only 2 of them on the server, as the other guys is getting 0%)
Put it another way. If it was a personal pool, behaviour would be this: anyone getting <90% return would continue until they got a big payback which overshoots and then cash out (thereby getting >90% return). Anyone getting ahead of the curve early with >90% would cash out and start a noob so as not to be dragged back to 90% on average. In other words, the result would be >90% payout and MA would lose/go out of business. To stop this, they run a server loot pool not a personal one, and the server adjusts dynamically to ensure an average of 90% and therefore MA can keep in business.
Anyway - I'll let you digest that for a while.