Poker is a game between players, with the aid of the casino, whether it be a traditional or online, serving as a facilitator for the game. The casino doesn’t make any money from the player who wins the hand. They make their money in poker from the rake fee.

Basically, without the rake, the poker room wouldn’t have a source of income.

Four Aces and Australian currency

What Is The Poker Rake?

Poker rake is a fee from the live poker or online poker room to players. This is generally how they generate revenue. There are different types of poker rakes. The most common type is the pot rake.

During cash games, a small proportion of the pot is removed by the dealer upon the completion of a hand. Poker networks differ in exactly how they do this, but it is normal for no rake to be taken from the pot unless the hand makes it to the flop. If a player raises pre-flop and everyone folds, no rake is taken. Generally, a typical amount for this type of pot rake is between 5 and 10 per cent of the total pot size in cash games.

Some real money casinos use the dead drop, to ensure everyone pays the same rake. The player on the button pays an agreed fixed amount rake to the dealer before the hand begins.

As an alternative to the above and a policy that applies to brick and mortar casinos is timed collection.

This is where a fixed fee of the rake is collected, for example, every 30 minutes from all players. Timed collections and dead drops are less common and most of the online poker sites use the pot rake method. Which is universally understood by all cash game players.

In most legal jurisdictions, taking a rake from a poker table is illegal if the party taking the rake doesn’t have the proper gaming licenses or permits. The gambling laws in many jurisdictions do not ban poker players in a private dwelling, provided nobody takes a rake.

Poker dealer standing over a table as a player looks at his cards

How Do You Calculate The Poker Rake?

The rake is calculated differently depending on the type of game.

In cash games, the rake is linked to the amount of real money in the pot. For tournaments, there is a pre-set rake amount built into the buy-in. Generally, in online cash games, the rake will often vary based on the stake being played, but it is a pre-determined threshold of rake that is taken up to a certain cap.

For example, a $0.01 might be taken for every $0.20 in the pot, with a max rake of $0.20. Moreover, in most live casinos, the rake is usually at 10 per cent up to a cap of between $3 and $5. The rake is almost always much less punitive the higher you go in stakes. The lower you play, generally, the more the rake hurts you.

poker player collecting their winning chips

How Do I Find The Lowest Rake Online Poker Sites?

When you’re looking at raked poker sites and online poker apps your best bet is to either contact the customer support team or search for ‘rake’ in the poker rooms FAQ section.

Obviously for players you want to find the lowest rake online poker possible. However, that shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. If you are playing for larger stakes you want to make sure that the poker room has a maximum amount as the rake as well. The cap on the poker rake varies on the stakes in play but normally it isn’t higher than the tables minimum bet.

pair of aces

What Is A Rakeback?

A Rakeback is a player loyalty program offered by some online poker sites. In which a portion of the rake or tournament fees is returned to players as an incentive for playing on that particular poker site. Similar to the way a credit card company will give cashback.

With online poker becoming more popular. Veteran players have begun taking advantage of rakebacks to increase their profits or limiting their losses. If a player is playing multiple tournaments or multiple hands in zoom poker they are guaranteeing themselves rakeback money. This strategy has created Rakeback Pros. These players are high-volume low stakes daily grinders. They might not make a lot of money during the actual poker games however, they collect the guaranteed Rakeback income.

It is important to point out that not all online poker sites offer rakebacks. If a poker site doesn’t offer a rakeback they’ll generally offer other promotions to players. This can be anything from cash back bonuses to reload bonuses to deposit bonuses or all of the above.

There are generally two different approaches to calculating rakebacks. The dealt methods rewards players based on the amount of the rakeback each player contributing to the hand. And the contributed methods awards players based on their real money contribution to the pot. During poker tournaments, the rake back is normally taken from the entry fee.

How Can I Use The Rake As Part of My Poker Strategy

Overall poker rooms increasing their rakes is a part of poker life. There are a few adjustments players can make to their game to try and get ahead of the game.

Try and avoid small pots

Generally, the rake is linked to the size of the pot and there is always a cap. For example, in a room with a 10 per cent, $6 maximum rake is taken at dollar increments, any pot of $10 on up to $60 will be raked the full 10 per cent. However, a pot greater than $60 will be raked at less than 10 per cent.

The larger the pot is beyond that, the lower the percentage of the pot will be raked. A $60 pot is raked at $6, exactly 10 per cent. Meanwhile, a $120 pot is also raked at the maximum $6, which is 5 per cent of the pot.

Avoid heads up pots

Overall there are two reasons for avoiding heads up pots. One is because two-person pots are likely to be smaller than multi-way hands. It also gives the house an advantage, because the pot is raked on its total size, not the amount you’re winning.

If you win a heads up pot of $60, the house rakes 10 per cent up to $6. Your winnings have been raked at 20 per cent, $6 from the $30 your opponent contributed!

Likewise, if the $60 pot is a 6-way hand, then you are only having 12 per cent of your winnings raked, since you only contributed $10 and are winning $60, hypothetically.

Online Casinos and Poker Rake Alternatives

Indeed the poker rake is more or less here to stay.

Online poker uses a rake universally, but there are some alternatives in live poker, such as time charge. This is popular in no-limit high stakes games. Generally, in this system, every player pays a set fee for being at the table, usually every half hour or hour. Furthermore, in exchange for paying this charge, the casino does not take a rake from every pot.

Several online poker sites offer different rake fees. Generally, the type of game you play, the rake fees will be different.

Before you play online poker at any online casinos, and any game type, you should check what the rake is and how it is calculated because every site will take different amounts and calculate it differently.

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