Rake: What It Is and How It Impacts the Game of Poker

By Sarah Thomas
July 18, 2023

Regardless of your level of skill, there’s an aspect of poker you’ll inevitably encounter – the rake. This critical element, often overlooked by beginners, is central to how poker games operate, especially in online forums or physical casinos, including those casino websites not with GamStop. In this article, we will look at what rake in poker is, what its various forms are and how it can significantly affect the game.

poker chips

What is Rake in Poker?

In its most basic form, the rake is a commission fee taken by the house or casino running the poker game. Think of it as a tip jar for the house; it’s their way of earning money for hosting the game. The rake is typically a percentage of the pot in each hand played, taken at the conclusion of the hand.

The Role of the House

In any poker game, the house doesn’t have a vested interest in who wins or loses. It’s like a stage where actors perform. The house’s primary role is to provide a regulated, fair environment for the game to take place, and for that, they take a rake in poker. This concept is not exclusive to poker; it is a common practice in many casino games.

Rake Explained with Examples

To better understand what a rake is, let’s use an analogy. Imagine you’re having a garage sale, and you invite a friend to sell their items alongside yours. As the organizer, you might take a small percentage of your friend’s earnings. That’s essentially what a rake in poker is.

If, for example, a hand’s pot is $100, and the casino’s rake is 5%, the casino would take $5 from that pot. The remaining $95 would then go to the winner of the hand. The specifics can vary based on the type of rake used, as we’ll discuss below.

To further clarify the concept of a rake in poker, let’s consider another example. Suppose you and a group of friends decide to organize a small concert. You find a venue, arrange for a sound system, and market the event. When the tickets are sold, you take a small percentage of the sales for your effort and the use of the venue. In the world of poker, you would be the ‘house,’ and your percentage would be the ‘rake’.

For instance, in a poker game where the final pot is $500, and the house has a set rake of 5%, the house would take $25 from that pot as the rake. The winner of the hand would then receive $475. Understanding how this works is vital for all poker players since it directly affects their potential winnings.

poker chips

Types of Rake in Poker

Rake in poker is not one-size-fits-all. Different casinos, both physical and online, may use different types of rakes. Here are the three most common types:

Pot Rake

Pot rake, as the name suggests, is taken directly from the pot. In a game with a pot rake, the house will remove a percentage of the pot’s total after each hand. This is the most common type of rake in poker games.

Fixed Rake

In a fixed rake system, the house takes a fixed amount from the pot, regardless of its size. For example, the house could decide to take a rake of $1 from every pot, no matter if the pot is $10 or $100. This type of rake is less common and is usually used in lower-stakes games.

Time Rake

A time rake is charged on a per-time basis rather than per-hand. The house might charge each player a set fee every half-hour or hour of play. For instance, a player could be required to pay $5 every 30 minutes.

The Impact of Rake on the Game

Rake impacts the game of poker in two significant ways: it affects player profits and influences game strategy.

poker chips

How Rake Affects Player Profits

Let’s look at an example to see how rake affects potential earnings. Imagine a poker game with ten players, each betting $10 per hand. If the house’s rake is 5%, it will take $5 from each $100 pot. Over 100 hands, the house would have collected $500 in rakes. This means that even if a player wins more hands than they lose, they might still end up losing money because of the rake.

Rake’s Influence on Game Strategy

As players gain experience and develop their poker strategy, they become more aware of the impact of rake on their earnings. A comprehensive poker strategy guide would suggest adjusting playing style based on the rake. For instance, with high rakes, players might choose to play fewer hands, focus on larger pots, or be more aggressive to compensate for the rake’s drain on their potential profits.

Tips to Minimize the Impact of Rake

Rake, while an integral part of poker, can impact your overall game strategy and profit. So how can you minimize its effect on your gameplay? Our poker strategy tips and advices suggest several ways:

  • Selecting the Right Games: 

Different games have different rake structures. It’s essential to understand these structures and select games that offer the most favourable conditions. For instance, high-stakes games often have a cap on the rake, meaning that the house can’t take more than a certain amount, regardless of the pot’s size. This cap makes high-stakes games potentially more profitable in the long run.

  • Understanding Rake Structures: 

A comprehensive poker strategy guide would stress the importance of understanding the rake structure of a game, as it can significantly improve your chances of coming out ahead. Always be aware of how much you’re paying in rake per hand, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

  • Using Rakeback Offers: 

Many online poker platforms offer rakeback deals where a percentage of the rake a player has paid is returned to them. It’s a kind of reward for loyal or frequent players. Taking advantage of these offers can help offset the impact of the rake on your profits.


In the world of poker, understanding the rake is just as important as knowing when to hold and when to fold. Whether you’re playing in physical casinos or exploring online casinos, understanding how the house takes rake in poker, its impact and strategies to mitigate its effects can make a big difference to your overall poker experience. 


What is a rake in poker?

A rake in poker is a commission fee taken by the casino or the house running the poker game, usually as a percentage of the pot in each hand played.

How does a rake affect a poker game?

The rake affects player profits as it’s a part of the pot that doesn’t go to the winner, and it can influence the strategy as players may adjust their gameplay to compensate for the rake’s impact.

What are the different types of rakes in poker?

The three main types of rakes in poker are pot rake, where a percentage is taken directly from the pot, fixed rake, where a fixed amount is taken regardless of the pot size, and time rake, charged per time unit.

How can players minimize the impact of rake?

Players can minimize the impact of rake by selecting games with favourable rake structures, understanding the rake structure of each game they play, and taking advantage of rakeback offers.

Are there any ways to avoid paying a rake in poker?

While the rake is a standard part of most organized poker games, some private or home games may not charge a rake. Online, players can utilize rakeback offers to offset some of the costs.



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Sarah Thomas poker author
Written By.

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas is a content writer for entertainment websites. In her free time she enjoys playing all sorts of games, both live and online.

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