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Updated: July 9, 2023
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Rake in Poker Game – Complete Guide

In poker, everything matters if you want to play your best game. That is why it is crucial to understand something like rake in poker. While many may consider it as negligible, understanding rake and rake structures in poker is a small part in the game but one that can greatly influence your strategy. If you’ve always wanted to find out what rake is and get a better understanding of it when you play cash games, poker tournaments, online and live, then this guide is here to help you do just that. 

What is rake in poker?

Rake in poker is a small commission fee taken by a poker room that operates poker games. This small fee helps online poker operators to cover their operating costs like software development and maintenance, customer support, server costs, and employee costs. It also helps fund multiple promotional campaigns that operators run to bring more offers to players and introduce the game to even more people. 

When it comes to live poker, the poker games are held in tangible spaces like casinos and individual poker rooms. These places also have a set commission structure that allows operators to keep the poker room running smoothly. However, the commission is a lot higher than their online counterparts as the operating costs are that much higher. The revenue generated via the commission goes into paying for the dealer, using equipment, and the cost of the building where the games are located. 

Rake in cash games and MTTs

When it comes to cash games and multi-table tournaments (MTTs), the rake structure is different for each. In cash games, the rake is a small percent of the pot that has been created. For this, there is a predetermined maximum amount that has been set. This means the rake cannot be higher than that set amount. The rake is generally 2.5% to 10% of the pot. The online site or dealer will remove this small percentage before awarding the rest of the pot to the winner of the hand. 

MTTs and sit and go tournaments also have a commission fee or rake. This fee is called tournament fees and are included in the total buy-in of the tournament. For example, if a tournament has a ₹5,500 buy-in, ₹5,000 goes into the tournament’s prize pool and the remaining ₹500 is the tournament fee. The buy-in is taken when the players enter the tournament and there are no other fees or rakes taken after this. 

What are the different types of rakes in poker?

For a better understanding, here are some types of rake that a poker room can charge its players.

  • Pot Rake

The pot rake is the most common type of rake in a poker game. It is when a percentage of the pot goes is considered as the rake. This rake mostly applies in poker cash games live or online. On online poker platforms, this is the most common way of generating rake. There are some poker sites that charge players based on a subscription model in place of cash game pots.

  • Dead Drop

Other ways to generate rake are mostly used by live poker rooms. In the dead drop type, the player, most often the one on the button, pays a set fee before the cards are dealt.

  • Time Collection

Another popular method to collect rake in live poker are time collection-based rake schedules. In this, each player will pay a predetermined amount of commission fee after a set period of time. This is usually 30 mins to one hour.

What is the ‘No Flop, No Drop’ policy?

The ‘No Flop, No Drop’ is a cash game rake rule that is followed by almost all poker rooms. This policy means that rake is not generated if the flop has not been dealt. This means that no matter how big the preflop pot is, unless the hand reaches the flop, there will be no rake taken.

Is rake in poker legal?

As mentioned above, online poker sites and live poker room operators take rake in order to run their business smoothly. However, in order to generate rake, there are some licensed procedures that operators need to follow if they want to run a legal operation. This is why now; all online and live operators first need to acquire a proper gaming license before starting their operations. Without a proper gaming license, taking rake is considered to be illegal. This is why, when it comes to choosing online poker platforms, it is necessary to ensure that the site you’re on has a legit gaming license and can be trusted.

How does poker rake impact how you play?

You must now wonder how a card room or poker site taking a little percent of your chips impacts your game. Well, in this case it ultimately depends on the situation. For example, you’re playing a cash game with a predetermined pot rake of 5%.

Now, you’re preparing for a standard high-stakes game and the pot total on the flop is ₹5,000. You managed to make your opponent fold, your total winnings is ₹4,750 (₹5,000 – 5% of pot rake or ₹250. If you’re able to play with real money in terms of these, that means your bankroll is probably somewhere in lakhs. So, is a rake of ₹250 something to worry about, most probably not.

However, if you’re playing in the lower stakes than rake can significantly impact your wins. For example, you’re playing with a bankroll of ₹150 and the fixed pot rate is 10%. In one of the hands, the pot has now reached ₹50. You beat your opponent immediately and now the rake you will have to pay is 10% of the pot which is ₹5. Win some more similar hands like this and you can end up paying more than ₹30 which is 20% of your initial bankroll.

Compare this with high-rollers, who usually have to pay less than 5% of their bankroll, throughout the course of the game because of the rake limits. When you consider this, it is then crucial to be aware of the poker rake in your poker room or online poker sites and accordingly develop your strategy.


When it comes to poker rake, it is always good to know the rate you’re playing. As you can see, increasing your understanding of rake will ultimately help you play a levelled game. Make sure to check the poker rake rates when playing online or live so that you can make an informed decision and do your best on felts. While rake rate may be negligible in some cases, it still is a good way to determine whether you’re benefiting from the game or not.

FAQs on Rake in Poker

  • How is poker rake calculated?

The poker rake is calculated based on the number of players in the hand and the size of the pot.

  • Who pays the least amount of rake?

When it comes to paying the least amount of rake, high-stakes players pay comparatively lower rake than those micro-stakes players.

  • What are the different types of rakes in poker?

The different types of rake in poker are pot rake, dead drop, and time collection rake.

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