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The Rake and Rakeback in Online Poker
Have you ever heard the term rakeback in online poker? Maybe not if you are just starting, but this is something all advanced players know about.
First what is the poker rake? If you play the roulette or the slots at a live casino, the house has a small edge. This is how casinos make money so they can pay for their employees and expenses.
But playing live poker does not involve the house, only the players. The way casinos get paid for offering this service is by taking a fee or commission, namely the rake.
Because of the huge economies of scale allowed by the Internet, online card rooms let you get some of the rake back. This is called the rakeback.
The Rake explained
Historically, casinos have been charging the rake either at each hand or every hour. Nowadays the preferred method is the first one. The rake is subtracted from each pot, which makes the process easier. This is also how online poker sites proceed.
Every poker site has a slightly different rake rate. The general rule of thumb is that the rake is 5% of pots, capped to $3. The rake is taken by increments and usually no rake is taken for small pots. Let us look for example how PokerStars calculates the rake in pot-limit and no-limit texas hold'em. Below is a rake table from pokerstars.
Pokerstars uses the "no flop, no drop" principle, which means that they do not charge any rake unless there are players who see a flop.
As the table shows, Pokerstars takes a 5% rake by increments of 5 cents for each dollar in the pot. Numbers of players in the table means the number of players involved in a hand, not the number of seated players. So for a given hand, the maximum rake is $3, but often the cap is lower if less than 6 players were involved in this particular hand.
For instance let us say that two players get allin in a NL25 game for their entire stacks of $25, making the pot $50.75, if the blinds both folded. 5% would make the rake $2.50, but because only two players played in this pot, the rake has a $1 ceiling. Note that at specifically designated heads-up tables, the rake is capped lower, at $0.50.
For NL20,000 the formula is slightly different, but at such high nosebleed stakes the rake is negligible. For most online poker players who play between NL10 and NL400 Texas Holdem Poker, the rake is not negligible, far from it.
If you start playing a lot of online poker at low or mid stakes, the rake will seriously dent your bankroll. Translated into win rate, the rake can easily cost you 2 or 3 BB/100 if not more. This is where the rakeback comes to the rescue.
The Rakeback explained
For regular online poker players addicted to the game like most of us are, the rake is an unsustainable cost. Some players may play less poker because of the rake. In order to satisfy their most loyal customers, poker sites have implemented so-called rakeback programs.
The rakeback is simply a percentage of the rake that online poker sites give back to their most dedicated players. It is somehow a detoured way to lower the fees, indirectly. We offer rakeback here at learn2Holdem.com.
Starting to get rakeback is easy. Once you have signed up at our rakeback program, you will get rakeback payments each time you play online poker. The details are provided at our rakeback deals section.
Only online poker sites offer rakeback, not live casinos. This is because it is quite expensive for a casino to run poker tables. On the other hand, online card rooms such as Full Tilt benefit from incredible economies of scale.
Indeed the online tables run 24/7 with minimal cost so it is ok for online poker sites to give us poker players a reduced fee through the rakeback. Make sure to join our rakeback program today in order to benefit from our exclusive rakeback offers.