Explanation of Rake
Rake is the payment that a casino or poker room takes for organizing and running the game. There are different methods used to collect rake, but it’s usually obtained as a percentage of the total pot. For example, a hand of poker ends with $100 in the middle. The casino takes $5 from the pot and awards the winner $95.
5% is a common rake amount, but there are a couple of provisos.
There is usually a “cap”, a maximum amount that can be raked per pot. For example, if the cap is $5, then the casino will only ever take $5 in rake regardless of how big the pot gets.
There is very often a “no flop, no drop” rule, which means that rake is only taken for pots that see a flop. If all but one player folds preflop, the hand ends preflop and no rake is taken.
Example of Rake used in a sentence -> Rooms with lower rake are often more profitable, but we need to take into account the toughness of the player pool also.
How to Use Rake as Part of Your Poker Strategy
Rake effectively lowers our winrate. It’s possible for the rake to be high enough where an otherwise winning player becomes losing, since his winrate is not high enough to beat the rake. Games which are virtually impossible to beat due to exorbitantly high rake are colloquially referred to as “rake traps”.
Poker players are notorious for not analysing the rake structure before jumping into games. Serious professionals however, should always take into account the rake structure before deciding which games to play. Playing in a high rake environment can sometimes make the difference between profiting and not profiting.
Coupled with rake payments is the pressure that live players are under to tip the dealer. While etiquette is not to be frowned on, care needs to be taken that excessive tipping along with high rake doesn’t destroy an otherwise winning player’s winrate.