Rake and Rakeback in Poker

Rake in Poker

Every novice should know what a poker rake is and how it works in cash games and tournaments before sitting at the table. It is the main revenue stream for online poker rooms and a big factor for people when choosing where to play – the lower the charge, the more advantageous it is for us.

Some platforms offer loyalty programs where players can receive bonuses and other privileges by returning a portion of the commission they paid – we mean cashback and rakeback. They thus aim to attract more people and increase overall traffic volumes. Below, we'll talk you through both concepts.

What is a Rake in Poker?

This term refers to the fee that poker operators charge for hosting games both online and offline. In cash games, it is typically subtracted from each winning or losing bet and differs from 5% to 10% of the pot size by site.

The commission charge varies by discipline and stakes played. Texas Holdem usually has a higher per cent than Omaha or less popular variations. Micro-stakes often carry a greater rake, making it difficult for players to progress to higher limits. High-roller tables have lower percentages but higher monetary rake.

There is a CAP on the fee – the room will only take a certain amount from the pot, regardless of its size. For instance, for every $0.20 in the pot, the operator may charge $0.01 with a cap of $0.20.

How is rake charged in tournaments?
How is rake charged in tournaments?

Its amount is included in the event’s buy-in price, and the exact % varies by operator. For example, Sunday Million on PokerStars costs 215 US dollars. The room extracts $15 as a rake fee, while the rest $200 goes to the prize pool.

Methods for Calculating Rake

There are three most standard options, which we uncover below.

MethodExplanation
DealtThe fee is equally split between all participants who received hole cards (even those who mucked them preflop).
Simple ContributedThe rake amount is evenly divided between all individuals who invested funds in the pot.
Weighted ContributedThe commission is charged after the hand ends and is split between participants who poured money into the pot proportionally to their contributions.
"No flop, no drop" rule 👍
"No flop, no drop" rule 👍

This additional rule – alongside the above methods – applies to most major poker networks and rooms. It means that if a hand doesn't reach the flop stage, then gamblers pay no fee.

It may seem unprofitable from the outside because no player wants to lose money due to service charges. They can easily move to another site with more pleasant terms in this respect. And this has given rise to cashback and other perks.

How Does Poker Rakeback Work

This term means a partial or full refund of the commission we have paid for playing. Each operator provides different deals. For instance, let’s assume your room offers a 45% rakeback. If you generate $300 in rake during the set period (as a rule, it’s a month), then you will get $135 back.

You can expect such "return of investments" in cash form, tournament tickets and VIP points. Its amount and format vary based on factors like the platform's conditions, stakes you play, hours played, number of tables, and individual user preferences.

Rakeback can be divided into several types:

Perks from affiliateAn affiliate is a partner of a poker site that attracts new gamblers.
ValuebackIt means the exchange of bonus points for money, as well as other ways to encourage players.
CashbackIt typically refers to cash rewards for getting a certain amount of points.

In general, rakeback plays a substantial role. Certainly, hobbyists won’t gain benefit from it as they play for fun. However, professionals understand that it can contribute significantly to their overall profits, so they devote much time to the game.

Poker rooms with solid rakeback

GGPoker
GGPoker
A
United States of America Available for players from your country
4.9 / 5.0
Excellent
reputation
by cardmates.org
PokerStars
PokerStars
B
United States of America Not available for players from your country
4.7 / 5.0
Excellent
reputation
by cardmates.org
Unibet Poker
Unibet Poker
B
United States of America Not available for players from your country
4.8 / 5.0
Excellent
reputation
by cardmates.org
Exclusive offer
£500 Play Through bonus + £20 extra on deposit

Based on the above, rake and rakeback strongly influence the incomes of all players, and their size varies significantly depending on the operator and loyalty program conditions, so it is important to check these parameters before signing up. Choose the most suitable platform with favourable terms and conditions, and don’t let your bankroll go into the red.

FAQ
👀 What is a rake and why is it illegal?

This is a type of service charge taken by a poker operator. Such a commission fee is levied both online and offline. Taking it without appropriate gaming licenses is generally illegal in most jurisdictions. But if the party has the necessary permits, it's legit.

📌 What is the purpose of a rake in poker?

The service charge covers expenses for the maintenance of the gaming platform, staff salaries, software development, and other related costs.

Such commission is also used to control the number of players. What we mean is that too low rake (or its absence) may attract users who bet small, making it problematic for players willing to raise to find a seat at the table and perform to their liking. On the other hand, a high charge can deter gamblers from the site, leading to reduced traffic and, consequently, a decrease in the room's revenue.

🎯 Is poker rake beatable?

Its amount depends on the stakes you play, but there is typically no "terrible" charge up to NL100. So if you have difficulties at micro-stakes, the fee is likely not the main issue. If your skills are not yet well-honed, opt for sites with a softer player pool to improve your chances of achieving a higher win rate.

When choosing a room to play in, it's also important to consider rakeback. For instance, a platform with a higher rake % may still offer more profitable cashback conditions, leading to higher overall earnings.

💸 What does rakeback mean in poker?

It is a fixed percentage of the commission fee we pay for playing that returns to us at specific intervals. Such deals usually range from 20% to 40%. Some sites provide up to 65%, while others have discontinued offering cashback.

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Sunrise Editor
Editor
Cardmates journalist, news editor and translator since 2016. Specialization: poker news and review of events.
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