When you sit at a poker table, do you know who you're playing against? Many players believe that in addition to eliminating their competition, they have to beat the house if they want to have a successful poker session. And they are not entirely wrong!
Every trustworthy poker room charges you a small fee for every game you play. That's called a poker rake. In some cases, especially when players participate in low-stakes poker games, they wonder whether the rake is bigger than their wins. But is that true? Now you have a chance to take a closer look at how the rake works and learn what you can do to beat it!
How to Beat the Poker Rake 101
Let's say you're playing $1-$3 No-Limit Hold'em. Your earnings won't be astronomical - and that's to be expected. And when low-stakes games are combined with a rather pricy rake, it can scare some players.
However, you must understand that the rake shouldn't be your main concern. What you should focus your attention on is your competition, as your opponents will always stand in your way when it comes to winning cash. The tougher and more experienced the players, the harder it will be for you to leave the table with a positive outcome.
But even though the rake is not the main obstacle that might keep you from winning cash, it can still lower your expected value if you win. That's why learning how to minimize the impact of the rake is important if you want to increase your profits.
- Move up in stakes – Percentage-wise, the lower the stakes are, the higher the rake is. And while it sounds rather unfair, the cost of hosting a low-stakes game is practically identical to high-stakes events, and the poker room can't reduce the fees by much if it wants to remain profitable. But if you move up in stakes, a smaller portion of the pot will go to the owners of the venue, and your expected value is bound to go up.
- Find the most lucrative Rakeback deal – One of the best things about playing online poker is the fact you get to enjoy special bonuses and deals which are unavailable at live venues. One of those deals is the Rakeback, which often means the poker room you've joined pays you back a certain percentage of the rake it has taken – provided that you've lost.
- Make sure you're at your best – The only sure way to ensure you beat the rake is by increasing your chances of winning overall. Learn the game's rules, practice new strategies, and do your best to defeat your opponents.
- Play fewer hands before the flop – When you play a hand in poker, you must pay a fee. There is no way to get around that. So, if you want to avoid paying the rake, you should consider folding at the pre-flop stage if the situation warrants it. Whenever you get weak hole cards and your position allows it, bow out of the game before it's too late. There is no need to add cash to the pot and pay the adjoining fee if your chances of actually winning are slim.
Does the rake scare you? Are you concerned about your ability to make a profit when you have to pay the casino a fee? Fear not! If you employ the tips we've mentioned in this article, you will be able to reduce the impact the rake can have on your ability to win big while playing poker.