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Rake in poker: meaning, calculation and structure

Often disregarded or misunderstood, the rake in poker can greatly influence your strategy. This handy guide will help you understand the meaning of poker rake, tournament fees, as well as the blind and rake structure for Ladbrokes's cash games and tournament formats.

  • Poker rake meaning
  • Different types of rake
  • Importance of the rake in the poker strategy
  • How is the rake calculated?
  • Ladbrokes rake structure?

What is a rake in poker?

Poker rake is a small commission fee taken by a cardroom that is operating a poker game. Online poker sites take a rake to cover their operating costs, including customer support, software maintenance and development, server costs, and the various other staff employed by the site that keeps everything running smoothly. The revenue generated from taking a rake is also used to fund the multiple promotions an online poker site offers its customers.

Live poker rooms in brick-and-mortar venues such as casinos also have a scaled commission structure in place. However, it is generally much higher than the online poker equivalent because of their higher operating costs. By taking a commission, poker rooms in casinos can pay for the dealer, the use of equipment, and the cost of the physical building in which they are located. In cash games, it is a small percentage of the pot created, up to a predetermined maximum amount. The dealer or online poker site removes this small percentage before the pot is awarded to the hand's winner.

Multi-table tournaments (MTTs), sit and go tournaments, and SPINS jackpot sit and go games are also subject to a commission fee. The commission on tournament poker is often called tournament fees or given the nickname "vig" or "juice". These tournament fees are a percentage of the tournament's total buy-in and are taken as a player enters a tournament; no other rake is taken after this point.

What are the different types of poker rakes?

There are several types of rake that a poker room can charge.

  • Pot rake

Pot rake is the most common type and is the method you have been reading about to this point, where a percentage of the pot goes towards it.

Some online poker sites use a subscription model where players are charged a weekly or monthly subscription fee in lieu of cash game pots and tournament buy-ins being subjected to raking. This method is not available at Ladbrokes.

The other most popular rake types are usually reserved for the live poker world.

  • Dead Drop

A Dead Drop system sees the player, usually the player on the button, pay a set fee before any cards are dealt. More popular in the live poker arena are time collection-based rake schedules. Here, each player pays a predetermined amount of commission fee after a specific time, which is usually every 30-minutes to one hour. Timed pots are a variant of this timed method. A timed pot means a set commission fee is collected from the first pot over a certain amount within an agreed timescale.

Why is the rake crucial in your poker strategy?

The cost of the rake plays a crucial role in a poker player's strategy. Removing it from each pot, a necessary evil, lowers your expected value (EV) because you can win less money from each hand. 
As a general rule, the higher its level is, the tighter you should play because of the money taken from the pot. This is especially true when you are playing out of the blinds, and the big blind in particular. 

The commission fee taken at some online poker sites, particularly at the lowest stakes, is so high that it renders those games almost unbeatable in the long run. Thankfully, at Ladbrokes it has been devised to be fair for our all players from micro-stakes to high-stakes games.

How is the rake calculated at Ladbrokes?

Ladbrokes has a simple way to calculate the commission it takes from the cash games it operates online. Once it reaches a specific size, we remove a small percentage of each pot and remove it from play. The remaining pot is awarded to the winner of the hand.

For example, our current rake structure for No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Omaha cash games with blinds of $0.01/$0.02 right up to $5/$10 see a poker rake of $0.01 per $0.20 pot. This equates to 5% and is very favourable compared to other online poker sites' rake schedules. If the pot reaches $0.20, $0.01 is taken as poker rake, and the other $0.19 remains in the pot. Similarly, if the pot reaches $5, $0.25 of rake is taken.

The maximum amount of rake taken varies based on the stakes played for and the number of active players in the hand; we rake in a lower maximum if fewer players are involved. . For example, someone playing $0.50/$1 No-Limit Hold'em cash games will never pay more than $3 rake regardless of the pot's size if there are 5-10 players in the hand. This reduces to a maximum of $2 for 3-4 active players and as little as $1 if only two players receive hole cards.

Our cash game rake policy is what the industry calls "no flop, no drop." Essentially, this means a hand must progress to at least the flop for it to be a raked poker game.

Tournament rake or fees are calculated similarly; they are a percentage of the tournament's total buy-in. The Predator is one of our most popular Daily Legends tournaments. The total cost to enter The Predator is $22. However, open the lobby of The Predator, and you will see the buy-in is listed as $20+$2. The +$2 part is the rake in poker tournaments.

The tournament fees vary based on several factors, including the blind structure of the event. An $11 turbo tournament may cost $10.50+$0.50, for example. Rest assured that the tournament fees you find at Ladbrokes are among the lowest found anywhere in the online poker world.

What is the Ladbrokes rake structure?

The tables below show the current Ladbrokes rake structure for the various cash games we offer. Make sure you follow our blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels to stay up to date with any changes that may happen.  

Limit cash games
Limits Number of players Rake Maximum
$0.02/$0.04 & $0.05/$0.10 2-10 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $0.50
$0.10/$0.20 & $0.15/$0.30 2-10 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $0.50
$0.25/$0.50 & $0.50/$1.00 2-10 $0.05 per $1.00 pot $1.00
$1/2 2-10 $0.05 per $1.00 pot $1.00
$2/4 2 $0.25 per $5.00 pot $1.00
3-4 $0.25 per $5.00 pot $2.00
5-10 $0.25 per $5.00 pot $3.00
$3/6 2 $0.50 per $10.00 pot $1.00
3-4 $0.50 per $10.00 pot $2.00
5-10 $0.50 per $10.00 pot $3.00
$5/10 & $10/20 2 $0.50 per $10.00 pot $1.00
3-4 $0.50 per $10.00 pot $2.00
5-10 $0.50 per $10.00 pot $3.00
$15/30 to $30/60 2 $0.50 per $20.00 pot $1.00
3-4 $1.00 per $20.00 pot $2.00
5-10 $1.00 per $20.00 pot $3.00
$50/$100 to $250/$500 2-3 $1.00 per $100.00 pot $2.00
3-10 $1.00 per $100.00 pot $5.00
Heads-Up Games: No Limit & Pot Limit
Limits Number of players Rake Maximum

$0.01/$0.02 to $1/$2

2

$0.05 per $1.00 pot

$1.00

$2.50/$5.00

2

$0.05 per $1.00 pot

$3.00

$5/$10

2

$0.05 per $1.00 pot

$4.00

$10/$25

2

$0.05 per $1.00 pot

$6.00

$25/$50

2

$0.05 per $1.00 pot

$8.00

No Limit and Pot Limit Cash Games [Hold'em & Omaha]
Blinds Number of players Rake Maximum
$0.01/$0.02 to $0.05/$0.10 2 - 10 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $1
$0.10/$0.25 to $5/$10 2 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $1
3 - 4 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $2
5 - 10 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $3
No Limit Hold'em Cash Games
Blinds Number of players Rake Maximum
$10/$25 2 $0.05 per $1 pot $6
3 - 4 $0.05 per $1 pot $6
5 - 10 $0.05 per $1 pot $7.50
$25/$50 2 $0.05 per $1 pot $8
3 - 4 $0.05 per $1 pot $10
5 - 10 $0.05 per $1 pot $20
$50/$100 to $200/$400 2 $0.05 per $1 pot $10
  3 - 4 $0.05 per $1 pot $20
  5 - 10 $0.05 per $1 pot $40
Pot Limit Omaha Cash Games
Blinds Number of players Rake Maximum
$10/$25 2 $0.05 per $1 pot $4.50
3 - 4 $0.05 per $1 pot $4.50
5 - 10 $0.05 per $1 pot $6
$25/$50 2 $0.05 per $1 pot $6
3 - 4 $0.05 per $1 pot $7.50
5 - 10 $0.05 per $1 pot $15
$50/$100 to $200/$400 2 $0.05 per $1 pot $7.50
  3 - 4 $0.05 per $1 pot $15
  5 - 10 $0.05 per $1 pot $30
Short Deck Games
Limits # of players Rake Maximum
$0.01 to $0.05 2 - 10 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $1
$0.25 to $5 2 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $1
3 - 4 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $2
5 - 10 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $3
10 2 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $1
3 - 4 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $2
5 - 10 $0.01 per $0.20 pot $5
20 2 - 3 $0.05 per $1 pot $2
4 - 10 $0.05 per $1 pot $7.50
50 2 - 3 $0.05 per $1 pot $2
4 - 10 $0.05 per $1 pot $10

Trickett’s Room

Details for our high-stakes, members-only room are listed below. Higher games are available on request.

Trickett’s Room Rake Table
Limits Number of players Rake Maximum
$10/$10 2-3 $0.05 per $1.00 pot $1.00
4+ $0.05 per $1.00 pot $5.00
$25/$25 2-3 $0.05 per $1.00 pot $1.00
4+ $0.05 per $1.00 pot $7.50
$50/$50 2-3 $0.05 per $1.00 pot $1.00
4+ $0.05 per $1.00 pot $10.00
$100/100 2-3 $0.05 per $1.00 pot $1.00
4+ $0.05 per $1.00 pot $10.00
$200/200 2-3 $0.05 per $1.00 pot $1.00
4+ $0.05 per $1.00 pot $10.00

The rake you’ve generated is proportional to the percentage you contributed to the pot. To get rake on a hand you must have been dealt cards, contributed to the pot and the game must generate at least $0.01 in rake for you.

Do poker tournaments have rake?

All tournament formats, with the exception of freerolls, charge rake but it is more common to call this charge a tournament fee. The fee is a one-off charge made when you register for the tournament, and is a percentage of the total buy-in.

For example, a tournament costing $11 to enter may display in its lobby as $10+$1. In this example, $10 goes into the prize pool and the $1 is the tournament fees that go to Ladbrokes.

Tournament fees vary based on a number of factors including the total buy-in, the format and poker variant played, and the blind structure of the tournament in question. Ladbrokes tournament fees are clearly displayed under buy-in in the tournament's lobby.

Tournament blind structures

Our tournaments have a wide variety of different blind structures available, so it is in your best interest to check the "structure" tab within the tournament's lobby.

Blind levels can increase anywhere from a couple of minutes up to 30-minutes or more. Turbo-structured tournaments have shorter blind levels than a standard tournament, with hyper-turbo tournaments having shorter still levels.

In addition to any rules associated with a particular tournament or promotion, our standard tournament rules apply to all tournaments.

What is it?

It’s the rake structure for our Cash Tables

How it works

Check our tables to see how much rake you are paying.

When & Where?

It always applies.

What is it?

It’s the rake structure for our Cash Tables

How it works

Check our tables to see how much rake you are paying.

When & Where?

It always applies.