While a poker rake is an inevitable part of the game, it's not always as bad of an obstacle as it might seem. Yes, online poker venues will always charge you a small fee, so the casino will be able to make a profit. But that doesn't mean you have to lose a lot of money in the process!
How can you work our way around the poker rake? Can an online poker rake calculator help you increase your wins – or at least lose less money? Let's take a look at the best ways for you to beat the rake!
A Quick Reminder: What is a Poker Rake?
Essentially, a poker rake is a small fee the casino charges every player for hosting the game. There are two ways for a poker room to take a rake:
- In tournaments, the buy-in often includes the rake fees. Therefore, the player pays the house even before the game begins.
- In most cash games, the rake is taken out of the pot. So, the number of players affects the size of the rake.
In both cases, poker rooms limit the amount of cash they can take out of the pot – which mainly depends on the stakes.
How the Rake Affects Your Poker Experience
The rake can affect your poker session in more ways than you might think.
First of all, like Daniel Negreanu pointed out, the rake can influence the type of players that might congregate around the same tables. Since poker pros better understand the meaning of a rake and they have the tools to calculate it, they will choose the poker room that charges the smallest fee in the long run.
That means that some tables might be flooded with pros, which means that if a recreational player joins the same table – he might feel like a fish out of water.
In addition to that, if you don't pay enough attention to the size of the rake, you might find yourself losing money – even if you're winning games. That often happens when the stakes are small, which means your wins will also be far from extravagant. In some cases, you might find that you've paid the house more money than you actually won, which beats the purpose of your poker session.
How to Beat the Rake
If your goal for 2022 is to make a real profit from playing online poker, learning how to beat the rake is crucial.
Here are a few important tips you might find useful:
- Make sure you have the edge – First of all, make sure that your chances of winning every hand are decent. Learn poker strategies and tactics to get better at the game and choose a table with a mixed variety of players, so you will have a chance to beat less-experienced poker enthusiasts.
- Find the best rake-back deals – The beauty of playing poker online lies with the dozens of different promotions you can use to your advantage. From time to time, casinos offer rake-back deals, which can minimize your losses substantially. So, keep your eyes open in case such a promotion comes along, and don't let it pass you by!
- Play fewer hands at the pre-flop stage – The moment you decide to play your hand, you automatically have to pay the rake. But if you decide your hand is not strong enough and you fold before the flop, you will be able to avoid paying the rake. Playing fewer hands will help you save some cash on the rake and increase your chances of making an actual profit as you place bets online.
If your new year's resolutions include getting better at poker and building your bankroll, keeping track of the rake (if needed, with the help of a poker rake calculator) is bound to be an integral part of your success!