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What Is The Rake in Poker?

Sat, May 18, 12:52am by Ethan Anderson

Last Updated Fri, Jan 17, 1:41am


Poker is a game between players, with the casino, whether it be land-based or online, serving as a facilitator for the game. The casino of course, makes money from the game of poker via the poker rake fee.

Without the rake, the poker room wouldn’t make any money.

What Is The Poker Rake?

Poker rake is the free charged by the live poker or online poker room. It is used to generate revenue. There are different types of poker rakes. One type is the pot rake.

During cash games, a small proportion of the pot will be 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 flip. If a player raises pre-flop and everyone folds, no rake is taken. A typical amount for this type of pot rake is between 5 and 10 per cent of the total pot in cash games.

Some casinos use the dead drop, to ensure everyone pays the same rake.

The player on the button pays an agreed fixed rake to the dealer before the hand begins. As an alternative to the above and a policy that applies to land based casinos is timed collection.

This is where a fixed amount 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 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 player in a private dwelling, provided nobody takes a rake.

How Do You Calculate The Rake?

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

poker rake

In cash games, the rake is based on the amount of real money in the pot. For tournaments, there is a pre-set rake amount built into the buy-in. 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. 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.

Using The Rake As Part Of Your Strategy

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

The rake diminishes, as a percentage of the pot, as the pot grows beyond the size necessary for the maximum rake. For example, in a room with a 10 per cent, $6 maximum rake 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

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 actually 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!

On the other hand, 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 Rake Alternatives

The rake is more or less here to stay.

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

There are a number of online poker rooms that offer different rake fees. Depending on 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 each and every site will take different amounts and calculate it differently.