What is Rake?
by K. Swope of Predictem.com
Rake is the commission or fee that all poker establishments charge players involved in a given hand of any poker game. In general rake is calculated on a percentage base with most online card rooms charging five percent of the accumulated pot to a maximum predetermined amount.
While brick and mortar venues will pull ten percent of an accumulated pot to a predetermined maximum amount typically five dollars in limit games and ten dollars in no limit games or according to the low/high stake level at which a game is played. Normally in most poker games the house will not charge a rake on hands that do not see a flop as in Hold’em and Omaha or hands that do not see door cards as in Stud and Razz. This is also referred to as “no flop, no drop”.
Rake is the only way in which the house can profit from running a poker room. All expenses involved with operating or maintaining a poker room ranging from new decks of cards, automatic shuffling machines, managers, hosts, software programs, technicians, and support personnel all depend upon the rake in poker games to cover their paychecks or eventual costs.
Most dealers, however, make the majority of their incomes from tips by individual players (also, discussed in Poker Etiquette).
Even single table sit n’ go games as well as multi-table tournaments carry a rake in the form of tournament costs and dealer fees. This type of rake varies greatly from every casino and online establishment.
When considering playing extensive amounts of poker either for hobby or as a profession a player should strongly consider the cost of rake from each hand played when calculating per hour or per session goals and profit. Doing so is necessary to give yourself accurate game profitability and management.
In just about every brick and mortar casino there is no possible way of avoiding a raked game unless that given casino is offering a special for certain tables or events being held. An example of this is the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City which formerly offered lowered rake for play during certain hours of the day.
Very rarely seen online anymore are card rooms that offer non raked games. This has been done on previous occasions from new websites and card rooms hoping to entice a new customer base made up of the players gaming on other poker sites. The problem is at some point the poker room will need to start charging it otherwise they'll go broke since they can't continue to operate for free long term.
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