Poker Basics: What is a Poker Rake?
Rake in poker is something that all players need to consider at the table. Essentially, the rake is a fee taken by the online poker site or casino. It covers operating costs and overheads, but there are ways you can limit the impact of rake on your bankroll.
We’ll help you understand how taking rake works, and we’ll even point you in the direction of the lowest rake poker sites.
How Casinos Calculate the Poker Rake
Rake is a commission charged by the casino or cardroom and covers overheads. In poker tournaments, it might be as high as 15% of the tournament fee. In a cash poker game, the pot might be charged a 5% rake up to a maximum of $5 or $10.
Rake in poker is charged by every card room, but the amounts can vary from state to state and website to website.
The pot rake is a fee charged on cash games. Rake is generated as a proportion of the pot. The hand must go to a flop to qualify for rake.
Plus, there will be a max rake taken from the pot. So, if a casino charges 5% rake on cash game pots, there will usually be a maximum of $10 taken.
Because pot rake is popular with most low and medium-stakes poker players, it’s the method most widely used at top online poker sites.
The dealer will calculate whether the pot is over the threshold, then remove the chips by hand and put them in a drop box. In an online cash game, the rake is automatically removed by the computer.
In addition, most cardrooms and poker sites operate a “no flop, no rake” policy. If the hand doesn’t go to a flop, no charge will be applied.
Imagine you’re playing a $1/$2 Texas Hold’em game and the pot is $60 at showdown. The casino takes a 5% rake up to $10 maximum.
In this hand, the casino would take 5/100 x $60, or $3.
Let’s say the pot is $600. The casino will take its 5%, but the max rake of $10 will easily be reached; 5% of $600 is $30, but only $10 will be taken.
Las Vegas Rake Rates
- ARIA: 10% up to $4 max
- Bally’s: 10% up to $5 max
- Bellagio: 10% up to $4 max
- Caesars Palace: 10% up to $4 max
Online Rake Rates
Online poker sites have a variable rake depending on the limits. For example, typical rake for an online full-ring cash game might look like this:
$0.10/$0.25 - $10/20: 5% up to $3 max
$1/$2 - $5/$10: 5% up to $4 max
$15/$30 - $25-$50: 5% up to $5 max
Some brick-and-mortar cardrooms charge a dead drop fee. This is a rake in poker games where everyone pays the same.
In a pot rake, the winning player is stung with the rake. However, in a dead drop, the button usually pays an agreed fixed rake amount before the hand begins. This ensures that every player at the table pays the same, regardless of whether they win or lose.
Fixed fees were introduced by land-based cardrooms after complaints from successful winning players. Why should the winners pay all the rake, the players argued, when no-one else has to?
With a fixed fee, every player at the table pays a charge for sitting down. It ensures that the casino can carry on taking rake, even if there are multiple losing players at the table. It’s also fairer on the high stakes players who may end up paying huge amounts of rake on big pots.
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Some cash players will go hours playing poker in the card room or online poker room. That’s why timed collections were brought in.
With a timed collection, poker players are charged a rake for every hour that the table plays. However, you will still be charged the fee, even if you only join the table for 30 minutes.
Timed collections ensure the casino takes a fee from every seated player for that hour. They are also more popular with high-stakes players who might want to avoid higher rake charges on their pot.
You will also have to pay a rake when entering a poker tournament. Whether you’re playing Texas Hold’em, Omaha poker or Stud, there will be a fee chargeable when you enter. This applies whether you play online or in a live card room.
Poker sites can vary on the tournament fees they charge. However, an average rake will be in the region of 10-20%.
Imagine you enter a Texas Hold’em tournament costing $33. The rake is 10%, so $3 is retained by the poker room and $30 goes into the prizepool.
For Sit 'n Gos, the fee can be anywhere from 7-10%. For short-handed turbo Sit 'n Gos that offer a random jackpot, the rake can be 5-8%.
For example, you enter an online Sit 'n Go costing $15. The rake is around 7.2%. $13.92 of the buy-in goes toward the prizepool. The remaining $1.08 is retained by the poker site.
It’s important to find the lowest rake online poker when you play. At Gambling.com, we offer full reviews on legal online poker sites around the US. You can compare poker sites to find the best deals and lowest charges.
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Most of the top online poker rooms offer tournaments with no rake. Freerolls are free-to-enter tournaments with no charge and some free prize money added.
Poker sites also offer occasional rake-free tournaments where you cover the actual buy-in. These help to attract new players and keep them playing on the site.
You can also find reduced-rake tournaments at some of the bigger legal poker rooms. You will have to cover some of the fee but there is a chance that more players will be attracted.
Some reduced-rake tournaments also carry a prize guarantee, with a chance of an overlay. The overlay is reached if not enough players register in order to cover the guarantee. The poker site will cover any free money left over.
Rake-free cash games aren’t usually found at online sites. However, some brick-and-mortar cardrooms may offer low-rake or no-rake sessions if tables are short-handed.
How to Earn Online Rake Bonuses
Poker sites exist by taking rake from players. However, you can earn some of the rake back by claiming a poker site bonus.
Most legal poker rooms in New Jersey, for instance, operate some kind of rakeback program. You can join a program and earn a portion of your paid rake back in the form of cash.
You can do this by earning points whenever you play tournaments or cash games. For example, you might earn 1 point for every $1 in rake you pay at the table. Usually, you will have to actively contribute to a cash game pot in order to qualify.
As soon as you hit the required points total you will start to earn a rakeback percentage. Cash is usually paid straight back into your online poker account. Typically, a rakeback promotion will be offered on cash game rake as well as Sit ‘n Go and MTT (Multi-Table Tournament) fees.
Imagine you contribute $100 in rake playing Hold’em cash games. You will have generated 100 points. You can then redeem your points for straight cash, usually at a rate of 20-30%. In this case, you’d earn $20-$30 in rakeback.
Sites with the Lowest Online Poker Rake
Poker sites all charge fees and rake for their players. But as a serious player you should be looking for the lowest rake in online poker.
At Gambling.com, we compare and contrast the rakes at all the best legal poker sites to find you the best deals.
Here is a list of rake charges for No Limit Hold’em cash games and tournaments at legal poker sites in the US.
|Poker Site||States Available||Cash Rake||Rake Cap|
(max rake per pot)
|WSOP app||NJ, NV||5%-6.25%||$3.50||0%-20%|
Find the Lowest Rake Poker Sites and Play Today
All cardrooms and poker sites charge a rake and fees. But with our guide, you can find the best value by unearthing the lowest rake poker sites in 2020.
Every one of our top-rated US poker rooms is legal and bursting with cash games and tournaments. Whatever your favorite poker variant or stake level, you can find great rooms that offer low rake and a juicy bonus.
Click on the links provided to read up-to-date reviews of every legal US poker site. You’ll find loyalty programs offering rakeback and even great freerolls giving away real money!
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