Poker Rakers

A ‘raker’ in poker is, technically, anyone that generates rake through playing poker, although it more specifically means a player that generates a lot of rake.

The ‘rake’ is the fee that the poker room or online site charges the players for using their facilities, and is deducted from the ‘pot’ on each hand. This is the fairest way to charge the players as you only pay if you have played.

It is through taking the rake that poker sites make their money.

The rake is usually set as a percentage of the pot, such as 5%, but is also usually capped at a certain number, so that no matter how large the pot gets, the total amount of rake that can be taken by the poker room is fixed at a top limit of, say, $5.

So proportionally high rollers will probably pay less rake as a percentage than the players at the lower stakes will pay.

It is common now for online poker sites to have a ‘no flop, no drop’ policy, which means that rake will only be taken from the pot if the flop is seen. In hands where the action ends and the pot is won before the flop has been dealt no rake will be taken.

Some offline card rooms charge players for using the facilities by the hour. This can work out as way more expensive than paying a normal rake, and also tends to make the regulars want to play as fast as possible as they want to get as many hands per hour as they can so that they are paying less ‘rent’ for each hand.

The equivalent in the online world would be poker membership sites, where players pay a set fee every month for their membership, but then do not pay any rake after that. While this may be a reasonable model it does not seem to have gained a lot of popularity online so far.

Many players are not aware of the amount of rake that they actually do pay, as it seems like a small amount on each hand.  The best way to see the impact of rake on your bankroll is to either play or watch a heads up game for a long time.

With two well matched players and no unusual run of bad cards for either player, you will see that both their bankrolls will be depleted slowly over the course of the game, so that in effect the only winner will be the house.

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