What is rake and rakeback in poker games

Rake and rakeback

All poker players encounter rake when playing in their favorite poker rooms. Those who are not familiar with the term “rake” can read this article and obtain the answers to their questions.


First of all, it is necessary to start from the definition of given term. Rake means the payment extracted by the poker room for providing the games. Such payments are charged both online and off-line. Usually, the amount of rake vary from 1% to 5% of the pot, but it is fixed by the owners of poker rooms. For example, if the pot is $200, then the poker room can take $6 of commission, thus the winner will get $194.

As for rake in the tournament: this is the percentage from buy-in. For example, Sunday Million at PokerStars costs $215. The poker room extracts $15 as rake fee, and the rest $200 goes to the prize pool. These patterns mean that rake is a source of revenue for all poker rooms. The size of rake depends on the play limit. Usually, the higher limit is, the lower rake percentage is.

By the way, when PokerStars changed the loyalty program and increased rake in a number of games, Daniel Negreanu wished to justify these decisions. He said the following phrase: “more rake is better”. Unfortunately, his words drew an angry rebuke from professional players and Negreanu became a punching bag for the creators of poker content. The poker pros such as Doug Polk and Joey Ingram turned his phrase into the object of ridicule, thereby making his phrase as a meme.  

After a while, Daniel explained what he had in mind. According to his words, high rake stopped the professional players from playing at the low limits. He also added that high rake was not good for recreational players, but their bankrolls could be kept longer in the case of absence of poker pros.

Rake system has some methods according to which the rake calculations are carried out:

  • Dealt rake. It means that rake is extracted from the pot, but it is equally divided between all participants, who take part in the hand.
  • Contributed Rake. It means that rake is equally divided between all participants, who have invested money in the pot. 
  • Weighted Contributed. The essence of this method is that rake is extracted at the end of hand and it is divided between the participants, who have invested money in the pot depending on the size their investments.  

It may seem unprofitable from the outside, because the poker players won't want to lose money due to rake extraction. As a result, they can move to another poker room with more pleasant terms concerning the payments for games. In this regard, rakeback variant appeared.


What is rakeback? The term “rakeback” means the refund of commission that you paid for the play. That’s why poker rooms began to offer a high percentage of rakeback in order to attract users. Each poker room provides different rakeback deals. For instance, let’s assume the room you play in offers you a 45% rakeback deal. If you generate $300 rake during the set period (as a rule it’s a month), then you will get $135 back.

The interesting thing is that rakeback can be not only in the form of cash, but also in the form of tickets for the tournaments, as well as VIP points. The player can exchange these points for different bonuses and tickets.

The size of rakeback depends on such factors as rakeback conditions in the poker room, limits, hours played, number of tables, as well as players’ preferences.  

Rakeback can be divided into several types:

  • Rakeback from affiliate. Affiliate is partner of poker room that attracts new players.    
  • Valueback. It means the exchange of bonus points for money, as well as other ways to encourage the players.  
  • Cashback. It means that the player is rewarded for getting a certain amount of points.

In general, rakeback plays a substantial role. Certainly, the recreational players won’t gain the benefit from rakeback as they play for fun. However, the professional players know that rakeback can make a significant part of their profits, and they devote a lot of time to the game.

Based on the above, we can see that rake and rakeback strongly influence on the incomes of all players. Choose the most suitable poker room with favourable conditions of rake and rakeback, and don’t let your bankroll to go into the red. You can write to us in online-chat or to [email protected] and find out all necessary information.

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