What Is a Rake in Poker?

What sense does an online casino have in hosting poker games? After all, the entire pot is formed and given to the players, isn’t it? In fact, the casino earns from each game: for this, the dealer takes a portion of the chips from the pot, sets them aside, and declares it as the casino’s rake. These funds are not returned to players, as they constitute the casino’s earnings and are spent on organizing the game. In the case of traditional casinos, these funds are needed to pay staff salaries, maintain proper premises, and cover other expenses. In the case of online casinos, the rake may be smaller, but it is also necessary for organizers since such establishments also have various expenses, from domain and hosting fees to marketing activities. Therefore, the casino rake is collected regardless of whether the game is conducted traditionally or online.

Rake Explained: How Does the Dealer Determine the Rake Size?

The dealer takes not a random amount from the total pot but a precisely defined percentage. Depending on the establishment’s policy, it can range from 2.5% to 10% of the pot amount. The figures are determined by the casino itself, and the player can choose options with the lowest rake, where they can earn more.

It is particularly interesting how the casino chooses the rules for forming the rake in the case of unlimited play or high-stakes games since, in such cases, players are also interested in getting as much as possible. Usually, the rake is a fixed amount, above which it cannot rise. The same applies to poker tournaments: a portion of the prize pool constitutes the rake, and the rest is given to winners. Occasionally, instead of rake, the casino or poker house offers another payment option for dealer services. This could be, for example, a membership fee from each player, and such a fee entitles them to participate in games, with the rake not deducted from the pot in this case. Another option for paying casino services is payment for specific time spent by the player in the game.

Rules for Calculating Rake in Poker

The rake is set by the casino or poker room in a predetermined amount, which equals 2 to 10%, most commonly around 5%. The maximum rake amount is limited. Players can familiarize themselves with the limits before starting the game, allowing everyone to choose the game variant where they can get a better pot.

How is the Rake Taken?

In a traditional poker room, the dealer independently takes a portion of the chips. In the case of online casinos, this happens automatically using the platform’s software. Sometimes, a poker room may not take any rake at all. This occurs if a player wins the pot pre-flop.

In online poker, the rake is usually lower than in live cash games because of higher competition. Many platforms offer favorable conditions, game convenience, and other advantages for players to enjoy. Therefore, many players today study online poker room ratings to choose the best option with the most advantageous conditions. Reviews from other players also help in this process.

“I’m in the Game. How to Pay the Rake?”

If you are in a traditional casino or use online platforms where you pay the rake rather than a membership fee or time-based payment, you don’t need to pay separately. The rake is automatically deducted either by the software or the dealer. In the case of online platforms, you will see the bank amount on the screen as the bank plus the amount the casino takes. It is an automatic commission in any case.

If you need to pay for the time spent in the game, you pay a predetermined commission before the game begins. For example, it could be $10 for 30 minutes at the table. The commission amount is automatically calculated and displayed on your screen, and payment is made at the end of the game. This is how it works on online platforms. In live dealer games, you will receive a reminder from the dealer.

A Few Secrets about the Rake You Should Know

Casinos are interested in maximizing profits, but every player also shares this interest. Even the rake can be outplayed. Here are three strategies you can use to get more:

  1. Choose games where the rake decreases as the pot grows: The more money players contribute to the bet, the lower the establishment’s commissions, resulting in higher winnings.
  2. Avoid entering games with a short stack: In such cases, almost the entire pot may belong to the casino, and players get a minimum share. Playing with short stacks can yield stable and small victories when you demonstrate aggression in specific game episodes, forcing cautious opponents to act according to your scenario. However, in games with a high rake, each win will bring minimal earnings.
  3. Remember the rule “No flop, no drop:” You take the entire pot if you win pre-flop. This rule applies in Texas Hold’em and some other poker variations. Keep it in mind and use it to your advantage.

Of course, you can always monitor the market and find online poker rooms with the lowest commissions. You can use special ratings (many are available on the Internet), programs that help find games with the lowest commission percentage, and reviews from other players. In the case of traditional casinos, you have fewer options, but you can still rely on visitor reviews.


Rake is the casino’s earnings, necessary to cover organizational expenses faced by the establishment or platform. The percentage of commissions can be fixed, limited, or even decreased as the pot grows — familiarize yourself with the rules before starting the game. In poker tournaments, the rake is part of the entry fee, and you will be informed about this amount before making a payment. No flop, no drop is another excellent rule that can be your secret to success if you manage to win in the pre-flop stage. So, be attentive, and may luck always be on your side!