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What Is a Rake in Poker?


Poker players wager against each other and not against the house. Casinos need a way to generate revenue and they take a scaled commission called a rake. The rake offsets the costs of facilitating poker games. Casinos take a rake whether a poker game is live or online. The only time they don’t take a rake is in video poker where players play against the house and not against other players. The amount of the rake will vary from casino to casino. 

What is the rake?

In cash games, the dealer will take chips out of the pot for most hands. Generally, the pot rake is between two-and-a-half percent and ten percent of the pot in each hand. Sometimes casinos take a set amount of the pot regardless of its size. 

There are also other ways casinos take the rake. A timed rake is where a set amount is collected from each player every half hour of the game. In tournaments, there isn’t normally a rake during play but it forms a percentage of the buy-in cost. For online poker, the rake is automatically taken by the software. The rake will often be based on the stake being played. 

Video poker is a game where players play on a machine and not against one another. Each game has a house edge that ensures a casino makes money over the long term. Video poker games have a small house edge compared to other games. This gives players a higher chance of winning if they use the right strategies. 

What effect should the rake have on decisions?

The rake affects the win-rate percentage wise. The amount of rake a casino charges should be a serious consideration when deciding where to play. A higher rake forces players to play a tighter game of poker. 

The rake in crypto casinos can vary depending on crypto prices. An extended bull run in Bitcoin may cause them to raise their rake cap. 

Micro-stakes players take a beating from the rake. The lower they play, the worse it gets. Higher-stakes players pay fairly little compared to the amount of money they are playing for. Even so, they will pay more in rake total. 

Sites with the best rewards often tend to have the lowest rake. They make up for this by encouraging players to play huge volumes.

How to pay the least rake

Pro poker players know ways to pay the least rake. It’s difficult to know whether a pre-flop flat call will be profitable. They make sure they have a plan after the flop when they make a call and don’t just do so arbitrarily. 

Pro poker players know it’s hard to turn a profit with a really wide range in the blinds or early positions. Shaving off unprofitable hands from every position has an impact on their win rate and how much rake they pay. Any time they commit money to the pot, they make sure it has a purpose and what their plan is going forward. 

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