Internet poker has recently become a record holder in terms of popularity. More and more information is appearing in the mass media concerning incredible wins of various lucky gamblers that managed to become unbelievably rich. That is why many Internet users these days are trying to learn more about the main principles of gambling and master some of the basic gambling strategies in order to apply them to poker tournaments, sharpen their gambling skills, and try luck. However, before starting the actual process of gambling in a virtual poker room, it is crucial to understand what rake is and why it is considered to be an important matter to take into account.

Rake as a notion

Rake in poker rooms is the amount of commission charged by gambling platforms for their services. This type of payment is charged both by online and land - based poker clubs.
It might be an insignificant percent charged out of every other pot, a certain number of blinds, or even a fixed amount of money out of the big blind in a tournament. Usually this sum of money does not exceed 5%. Newcomers might consider it as insignificant, though professional gamblers know how important this figure is, because in order to benefit from the win you should win back the rake first. Different poker rooms use different approaches to rake accounting.

However, there exist only two types of rakes: tournament rakes and rakes taken directly from the pot.

Rake calculation. Approaches

Rakes are usually taken directly from the pot as soon as gamblers see the so-called “flop” or dealing of the first three face-up cards to the board. Usually it accounts for 3-5% out of a pot. On rare occasions, rakes are taken from the pots that have already been played out during the preflop.

There are three main ways to charge rakes:

  • Dealt-rake is a rake taken from the pot and eventually equally divided between all the participants of the game. It is calculated as follows: if the total rake after the cards were dealt to the 8 players accounts for $4, it is thought that the rake of each separate player makes up $0,5.
  • Contributed-rake is another variety of a dealt rake. It implies that the total rake is equally distributed between all the players that contributed to the pot. This principle is not applied to those players who laid down their cards without placing stakes. For instance, if the total rake shared between 8 players accounts for $4, and 4 gamblers out of those 8 laid down their cards having placed no stakes, the rest of gamblers are left with $1 of rake each.
  • Weight-contributed rake. This type of calculation is used relatively rarely. The total rake is calculated according to the amount of contribution made by each player into the pot. For instance, if someone deposited $15, while the rest invested $30 each, and the total rake accounts for $2, then the first player is charged only $0,4, while the rest $0,8 accordingly. Or, if the pot makes up $100, and the gamblers contributed $10, $20, $30 or $40 accordingly, then the rake of the first player accounts for $0,5 (out of 10%), $1 (out of 20%), $1,5 (out of 30%) and $2 (out of 40%).

Tournament rakes

Participants of tournaments have to pay out rakes to poker rooms as well. The usual rate is 5–10% out of a tournament buy-in. For instance, if the buy-in costs $100, then $95 are contributed into the pot and are played out between gamblers while the remaining $5 are taken by the poker room for its services. Tournament rakes and rakes taken from the pot are subject to similar rules and policies of add ups and reimbursement.

Read also: Types of tournaments in online poker

The amount of rake

The percentage of rake depends upon the limit rate: the higher the limit rate is, the lower the percentage becomes. There also exists such a notion as “cap” which is also instrumental in rake accounting. This is the highest point that a rake can ever reach. Usually poker rooms charge from

3% to 5% of the pot. That’s why profitability depends directly upon the number of pots being played out. The more visitors the poker room gets, the more pots are played out, resulting in increasing incomes of gambling houses. The rate of the cap in online poker rooms usually doesn’t exceed $10. It is quite beneficial for gamblers who are willing to accept the challenge of winning big pots. In this case, the rake for such gamblers is way lower. In certain cases, poker rooms do not charge rakes at all. It is applicable to specific types of poker where the game ends with a preflop.

"No flop – no drop"principle

If a gambler drops the cards already at the stage of a preflop, then the poker room resorts to the principle of ¨ no flop – no drop¨¨, in other words ¨no flop – no commission”. This rule is used only in those types of games where the cards are shown down like Hold’em or Omaha Hi. In the said types of poker, in case gamblers haggled during the preflop, though the flop itself wasn´t revealed because the pot have been already played out, the rake is not charged. In the rest of cases, you have to pay for each alternate game. In such a way, the rate of rake influences significantly gamblers’ wallets. It happens, for example, when the ttal amount of charged rakes exceeds the sum of the total win. A good consolation in this case is a so - called rakeback.

Rakeback in poker

Rakeback is the process of reimbursement of a certain amount of rake. It is also considered to be one of the ways of getting additional income in poker. While calculating their rakebacks, poker rooms take into account the amount of money spent by their gamblers on rakes, as well as the basic principles of rake calculation mentioned above: Dealt, Contributed and Weight-contributed.

In such a manner, percentage of the rake belonging to the gambler is reimbursed and returned to his/her account. As a rule, it is added in a form of additional points that can be exchanged for different goods, money, tournament passes, etc. Such an approach is similar to the principle of functioning of the cashback system. Sometimes the number of points added for each dollar of the rake depends upon player´s status. The more the player gambles or the more rakes he/she pays off, the higher status is granted and the higher the rakeback becomes.

Moreover, gamblers can get rakeback from their affiliates.

Rakeback from affiliates

Affiliates are poker room partners that attract new gamblers getting certain commission instead. Commission is a percentage out of total rake charged from gamblers. In order to attract new gamblers, partners, apart from various promo campaigns, use rakeback systems. In this case, the total rakeback of a gambler might consist of sums obtained from affiliates of poker rooms. The evidence from practice shows that rakeback might run up to 70% in total. That is why, while choosing a poker room, it is advisable to learn more about offered rakebacks in order to choose the most appropriate affiliate program.


Rake is a very important matter in terms of poker. For instance, gamblers getting 2-3 blinders for 100 players in case of rake absence lose chances to double their wins. Thus, rakes are not sources of endless expenses, as there exist ways of winning the spent funds back. That is why it is very important to consider the presence of rakes and rakebacks, if you are willing to gain profits from poker tournaments.

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