Poker Fundamentals: How Casinos Profit From Poker

Poker Fundamentals: How Casinos Profit From Poker

Casinos goal is to make money, and this is no secret. Every single game, from roulette to slots, has an inherent advantage for the casino, known as the house edge. The edge is typically in the range of a few percentage points (variable from game to game), ensuring long-term profitability for the casino. Poker, though, is unique.

It isnt played against the house whether its online or in person, unlike pacanele online pe telefon.

You compete with other players and either you or they win cash – but not from the casino. The dealer's sole purpose in the game is to deal the cards and keep score; the casino has no stake in who wins or loses.

How does this benefit the casino?

How does a casino make any money off of poker, and why do they find running cash game tables and running tournaments appealing options? A four-letter word that plays a significant role in the overall poker economy is the answer to this question. We're not referring to a garden tool used to rake up leaves that have accumulated in front of your house when we use the word "rake."

Knowledge Of The Rake's Fundamentals

Rake is a percentage of money that a casino withholds from almost every cash game pot or tournament entry fee in poker. Rake is somewhat akin to a tax. Later, I'll go into more detail about this topic and explain the subtle differences between rake from the casino's perspective and from the player's perspective. Along with learning how casinos profit from poker, you'll discover how rake affects individual poker players' bankrolls. It's still beneficial to understand rake and how it functions even if you're just a casual player and don't think this knowledge is particularly important to you.

Games for Cash with a Fixed Percentage Rake

In a cash game, the rake is deducted from the majority of pots before the winning player is awarded the pot, regardless of the type of poker being played (No-Limit Hold'em, PLO, etc.). It ranges from 2-10% of the total pot in the majority of casinos, and it is a fixed percentage.

As most games have a rake of 3–5%, both of these extremes are quite uncommon. According to the rules of the specific casino, there is typically a maximum cap on the amount of rake that can be deducted from any one pot. People frequently have deep stacks (500 big blinds or more) when they sit down, so if two of these players end up going all-in, having no cap on the maximum rake could prove to be very costly for them. Although some venues do adhere to the no cap policy, you should avoid playing in these matches.

To make things clearer, let's take a quick look at an example. You are playing a $1/$2 game when you find yourself forced to make an all-in bet of your entire $300 stack against another player who has a similar chip stack. Let's assume that the rake is set at 5% with a $10 cap, meaning that the most you'll ever pay for casino services is $10 from each pot you win. In contrast, if the casino does not have a cap on the rake and the total pot is $600, as in this example, you will be required to pay $30, which is $30 more than in the first scenario.

Optional Hourly Rate

Although the most common rake for cash games is a fixed percentage, some casinos use a different system. There are times when playing a game requires you to pay a table fee per hour. This means that when you play, you will pay a fixed fee rather than having money taken out of the pot. You should consider it just as a different model and be aware of it because neither of these options is better or worse.

Variations According To The Stakes

It's important to note that the majority of small limit games actually have higher rake than the higher limit games. A rake of 5% or more and a high cap are common in $1/$2 games. Rake at higher limit tables is typically in the range of 3%, and the cap is also lower in comparison to the stakes. When viewed from a business standpoint, it's easy to see why this might seem unfair to players with small stakes. You still need a dealer to keep the game going whether you're playing with $2 or $100 blinds because you're occupying a table. Therefore, casinos must charge a higher rake than the blinds to provide their services in order to make it profitable at lower limits.


Players compete for chips in tournaments and attempt to outlast their opponents to advance to the money stage, which is an entirely different game format. This implies that chip pots have no monetary value and that casinos are unable to collect rake in the same manner as they do in cash games. Rake for tournaments is instead paid in advance as part of the buy-in. For instance, the buy-in for a $100 tournament is frequently $110 or $120.

Understanding Rake

Even if you've never heard of rake, the fact that casinos profit from poker tournaments shouldn't come as a surprise. Why would poker be any different when they're doing it with everything else, after all? It is wise to do some research on the rake in the games you frequently play because it can significantly affect your financial situation. Even if you're a very good player, it can be challenging to win games with excessively high rake levels and high (or no) caps. If you have more than one choice, it might be worthwhile to try a game with a lower rake. When the rake is lower, you'll be making a lot more money, unless there is a sizable disparity in the skill level of the players.

Updated: November 22, 2022 — 12:06 pm

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