What is Rake? Understanding how poker rooms make money
When you’re playing at your favourite live poker venue, you may have asked yourself: If it’s just us players putting in money and playing against each other, how does the poker room make money? The answer to this question is invariably: rake. The rake meaning in poker is often misunderstood, both in live and online versions of the game. Without rake, rooms would be in no position to make money, and when rake does come into play, it means you have to be a pretty decent player to profit, or even break even.
Let’s Define Rake
Rake is the small chunk of money that’s taken directly out of the pot by the poker room. In essence, this is how the table pays for the game; the room doesn’t actively play against the players at the table, so they must earn their commission by other means.
Usually, rake is only taken after the end of the pre-flop betting. This leads to the popular ‘no flop, no drop’ rule that is used by many poker rooms: If all of the action occurs pre-flop and someone wins the hand on the very first round of betting, rake will not be levied on the game.
In most poker rooms, rake is a small percentage of the entire pot, usually 5-10% For example: a poker room might commission ₹50 in rake for every ₹1000 in the pot from a normal low-stakes game.
What does rake mean for players?
This is a very important question. Let’s say you’re an average player and manages to break even. Your winnings at the table will be slightly lower since you’re paying 5-10% on rake. Even slightly experienced beginners will generally break even after the rake. This indicates in order to make a profit at a raked game, you need to be an seasoned player. On the other hand, in unraked games almost anyone who can play poker, regardless of skill set, can earn a nifty profit. You should ensure to take the rake into consideration when calculating odds and pot sizes, but this will only be a significant factor when it comes to smaller pots.
However, there is one way to reclaim a small portion of this rake. Ever heard of rakeback? Learn more about rakeback here.