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How rake works

When learning how to play online poker it is important to understand how online poker rake works. This is the way that the Poker room makes money, since the games are between players only. Essentially, it is a way for players at a table to pay for the game.

The term ‘rake’ applies to the portion of the pot amount that will go to the house. This is a fixed amount and will get tagged onto pots that reach a pre-determined size. In live casinos, dealers take a few chips for the house just before the winner of the hand takes the pot. The rake system in online poker rooms works in much the same way. Go to www.microgaming.com and go to “poker network” and then click on “rake”. This is an inversely proportionate ratio in which the lower the limit played under, the more the rake will affect you. 

Since lower limits usually result in smaller pots, it makes sense that the house takes a bigger portion in these instances.

When Does The House Take The Rake?

The rake is usually taken after betting in the Preflop stage. This has led to the “no flop, no drop” rule at many Poker sites. With this rule, if all the action in a game happens before the Preflop stage and there is a winner on the first round of wagering, no rake is paid.

This is a generous concession on the part of the online Poker room, and you may find that rakes are higher to make up for this. Check the specific regulations of the establishment that you choose to play at, and make sure you are happy with them before you sign up to anything.

What is the size of the rake?

Rake sizes vary, but they are usually set. That means that they don’t change, no matter how big the pot grows as players bet more money. This also shows that the rake has more impact on your takings when the betting limits are lower and the pot is smaller. In a low-stakes game on land, the house typically takes $1 in rake for every $15 or $20 in the pot.

The rake in an online Poker room is generally much lower, and can be as little as $0.25 per every $5 in the pot. The formula below is also often applied:

All tables, with blinds $0.05/$0.10 and up:

# of Players Rake per Pot Max Rake

2 $0.01 per $0.20 $1

3 - 10 $0.01 per $0.20 $3

Consequences Of The Rake

Introducing a rake minimises the losses incurs by an average-performing player. If you are able to break even with your tablemates, you will forfeit less after the rake has been accounted for. This is good news for novices who are still honing their skills.

On the other hand, once you are an above-average player you’ll find it difficult to turn a profit in raked games. You’ll still be able to break even, but only top Poker experts will be able to consistently take home sizable payouts.

However, since the rake in online Poker is small, it shouldn’t affect your strategy too much. You should take it into account when you’re calculating odds, but it will only have an impact if the pot is noticeably small.


When deciding which site you want to play at, it is worth trying to find one that offers good rakebacks. If a Rakeback scheme is used, you are paid back a portion of the rake as a reward for logging in and playing regularly.

You’ll need to practice and develop your insights and strategy if you want to do better than break even in a raked game, so you might as well get back some of what you cede to the house. This is not the most important factor, but you should consider it.