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Methods of Poker Rake Calculation - Shared vs. Contributed

The rake is the commission fee taken by a card room, casino, or online gaming site operating poker games. It typically is five to ten percent of the pot in each hand of poker. Since poker is a player-versus-player game (in which the house doesn't bet against players such as in games like blackjack or roulette), the rake is the principal method card houses and poker sites gain revenue. Some card rooms won't take a rake in community games such as Texas Hold'em when there is no flop. This practice is referred to as "no flop, no drop."

In online poker the rake is used to cover the cost of operations, and for traditional "brick and mortar" casinos and card rooms it is used to help cover the cost of providing a dealer, use of equipment, and the use of the physical building in which the card room operates.

Online poker sites have typically kept the entire rake collected from players in the past, but over the past several years they have begun paying a part of the rake back to the players in an attempt to keep players coming back month after month. Players will be able to receive five to thirty-five percent of the rake they pay to the poker room each month, although the best poker rooms pay between twenty-five to thirty-five percent. This repayment is known as rakeback, and it can be a considerable sum of money for those who play a lot of online poker.

Rakeback can be calculated through a couple different methods, and it is important that players know what method is used by their poker room or site. Players won't usually see the breakdown of the rake they earn each month; most of the time they just see the rakeback awarded to them in a lump sum for an entire month. It is possible for players to get an idea of how much they are earning each month from rakeback through different methods, two of which are described below.

Shared Rake

Shared rake is a good way to calculate rakeback for players who play cash games conservatively and don't like to enter into the pot very often. The rakeback is calculated by how many players are dealt cards regardless of whether or not these players played the entire hand or folded out early. For example, a full nine player table may have a rake of $0.90. This means that each player would receive a rakeback of ten cents even if they didn't play the hand. This may not sound like a lot of money, but it adds up, especially for avid online poker players.

Contributed Rake

Contributed rake calculation refers to rakeback that is only given to players who pay into the pot. Those who don't play a hand don't receive any kind of rakeback. If only two people at the table have paid into the pot and are playing the hand, and the rake is $2, these two players will receive a rakeback of $1. Obviously this isn't ideal for players who don't want to see a lot of action, but a player who plays a lot of hands can make a lot of money on rakeback. Ironically, most good poker players don't pay into the pot unless they have really strong hands, making contributed rake calculation even less ideal than shared rake calculation.

Players who play in tournaments don't need to worry about the rake, as everyone who enters into a tournament pays the same fees. This makes rakeback irrelevant in this situation. Other avid poker players who are set up with rakeback accounts should be advised to check out poker calculators to determine how much of the rake they are receiving from their favorite poker sites.

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