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Online Poker Rake

If you believe that poker is a zero-sum game you are only partly right. It is true that you play against other players instead of the house, as is the case with games like blackjack and roulette. Be sure to know the Texas hold’em rules, but you also have to take the rake into account.

The rake is what makes it hard, even for player with a good knowledge of Texas holdem strategy, to beat the game, especially at the lower limits were the rake percentage usually is greater. So what is rake? Rake is the sum that all poker rooms, both online and offline, deduct from each pot that reach a certain amount. This is how the poker rooms make their money. The normal rake is 3-5%, which is taken out from each pot. To become a winning player you do not only have to beat your opponent, but also the house rake. This is part of the explanation why only 10% of all poker players win in the long run. A good way around this problem is to find a good sign-up bonus or get a rakeback deal.

The rake has a greater impact on the low limit games than on games with higher stakes. In a low limit game the rake is normally 5%. So if the total pot is $15 the amount raked will be 75 cent (15x0.05=0.75). But the rake is normally capped at $3, which is great news for players in the higher limits. It does not matter if there is $100 or $1,000 in the pot, the rake will still be $3. (Some poker rooms have a cap at as high as $5, the cap will also be higher if you play with British pounds.) It is a good idea to find out how much rake they charge before you sign-up at a new poker site, and always be on the look out for good deposit bonuses.

How Does Rakeback Work?

When you sign-up with a new poker site through a rakeback program, that poker site returns some of the rake you generate back into your account. This effectively reduces the amount you are paying the online casino to play on their site, thereby increasing your win rate.

The online poker site will generate an individual rake contribution based on the amount you play and/or the amount you contribute to the pots, whether you win the pot or not. There are two ways online poker rooms calculate this individual rate contribution.

One way to calculate rakeback is the shared method, used by Full Tilt Poker rakeback program for instance. In the shared method, all players are considered to contribute to the pot equally, whether they played the hand or not. As long as you are dealt in, you are considered to have paid rake. If $4 of rake came out of a pot in a ten-handed game where everyone was dealt in, each player is considered to have contributed forty cents of rake.

The other way a poker room can calculate rake is the contributed method. In the contributed method, the rake is calculated based on how much you have contributed to a particular pot. If a pot was worth $60, and you put $20 in that pot, you would be credited with $1 of rake, whether you win the pot or not (assuming a five percent rake of $3).
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