What Is a Rake in Poker?
The rake in poker is the house cut of money that’s taken from the pot. It’s the way casinos make a profit from the game (other than food and drink sales). It’s the reason why so many good players don’t play in casino card rooms.
It’s easy to see how the rake is bad for equal players. Over the course of an hour, a tight player can lose a lot of money to loose players. And if you win more hands, the rake depletes your winnings even further.
In order to be competitive, a good player needs to minimize the amount of rake they take from each hand. But that’s easier said than done. There’s no magic formula for knowing how much rake is being taken, and it varies depending on the casino and the number of players.
Some casinos will take a percentage of the pot, while others will simply take a fixed fee on each hand. It also varies by state because of gambling laws. For instance, in Nevada, the maximum rake is $4 per hand. But that’s only true at certain Vegas establishments. In other states, the maximum rake is $10.
The percentage model is the most common in brick-and-mortar cardrooms. It’s also the most common method of calculating a rake in online poker rooms. However, this model can be a little misleading because it’s not always clear how much the percentage of the pot actually is. For example, a 10% rake is actually only 4.5% of the total pot size in real-money games.
There are other ways that casinos can impose a rake on their games, as well. Some of these methods involve a different percentage or an entirely different pot size, but most of them are based on the number of players at each table. Some of these models are more fair than others, but it’s important to compare the rake structures of multiple casinos to find out which one offers the best deal.
Thankfully, there are a wealth of resources online that can help you compare the rake structures of different casinos. Alternatively, you can ask the floor person at your favorite live game to tell you the rake structure. Regulated poker rooms are required to disclose their rake structures, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding this information. But remember that online information can be outdated, and it’s often best to speak directly with a floor person at the casino to get the most accurate information possible.