Best Low Rake Poker Sites
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Every online poker site charges rake from the money that players that wager on real money poker games. While casino players are playing against the house, there is no house edge in poker. Casinos make money when players lose. Poker rooms make money when players play against each other for real money. Rake is a percentage of each pot that is subtracted from it before it is awarded to the winner. For the most part, this percentage is around 5%. However, the best low rake poker sites offer rake that is below this mark in order to remain competitive with other poker rooms. In addition, some of the best low rake poker sites offer rakeback incentives or do not subtract rake from pots where no flop was dealt.
Best Low Rake Poker Site - PokerStars
There are two reasons that PokerStars ranks as one of the best low rake poker sites. Rake does not actually apply until the stakes reach the $2.00/$4.00 level. At this level, rake is charged at a rate of $0.05 for each $1.00 in the winning pot. Another reason that PokerStars is the lowest rake site on the Internet is that the maximum rake that can be subtracted from a pot can never exceed $3.00, regardless of the amount of money in the pot.
Best Low Rake Poker Site - Party Poker
Both micro stakes cash games and $10.00/$20.00 heads up games feature a low maximum rake of $1.00. Rake can actually vary on each table depending on the amount of players involved and the stakes. For example, some games will operate with a standard 5% policy ($0.10 for each $2.00 in the pot). As far as tournaments at Party Poker are concerned, rake is also a part of the tournament entry - varying up to no more than 25%.
Best Low Rake Poker Site - Sportsbook.com
All limit poker games on Sportsbook.com have a maximum rake of $1.00 when the stakes are under $2.00/$4.00. However, any games over these stakes have a maximum rake of $3.00. No Limit games use a rake percentage of the standard 5% but the maximum rake depends on the amount of players currently at the table when the pot is won. The highest maximum rake is when at least 6 players are seated at the table - $3.00.
Why Poker Sites Charge Rake
Some poker players often consider rake to be unfair on behalf of the poker room. However, it is important to understand the function of rake and how it is a very fair system, especially at the best low rake poker sites. In essence, rake is like a tip that allows poker sites to continue providing the services that they offer - game play and money exchanges between players that enjoy their web site. In addition, rake is used to fund special events and promotions at the poker site that would not otherwise be possible. Just like you would be expected to tip the dealer at a brick and mortar poker room, rake can be considered as a tip each time that you win a pot - usually so small that you barely notice it.
How Rake Works
For the most part, rake is subtracted from every hand played at an online poker room, regardless of the stakes at which the game is being played. Considering a standard rate of 5% on each cash game, winning a high stakes poker pot for $10,000 might suggest that a full $500 would be subtracted from the pot before it is awarded. However, at the best low rake poker sites, this is not the case. Most poker sites will apply a rake cap to keep the rake subtraction fair. This rake cap depends entirely on the stakes at which the game is being played.
Most poker sites have rules when a pot is too low for rake to be subtracted. Some of the best low rake poker sites will simply not subtract rake when the percentage is too low to be a whole money value (no fractions of a penny, for example). However, other sites will apply fractions over time and simply subtract the rake when you have built up enough of these fractional rake amounts to equal a whole monetary value.
For example, a low stakes $0.01/$0.02 game might be subject to rake of $0.01 for each $0.20 that is in the pot when it is won. The rake cap for this game might be $0.75. While this might seem high considering the stakes, a $15.00 pot would be necessary for the rake cap to be reached - quite a feat in a $0.01/$0.02 stakes game.
One of the ways in which the best low rake poker sites compensate for rake subtracted from each pot (in addition to offering lower rake rates, of course) is by offering a competitive deposit bonus when you sign up for a real money account. As most poker rooms award this bonus gradually as you continue to play at the poker room, this bonus reward is meant to repay you over time for the rake that is subtracted from your winning pots.
Best Low Rake Poker Sites - Rakeback Features
Another way that the best low rake poker sites reduce the amount of rake that you actually pay during real money play is by offering a percentage of the rake that you pay back to the you. There are a few ways that this can work. Some poker rooms will pay affiliates using rakeback in order to promote their site. The best low rake poker sites will, instead, offer their players the full rakeback percentage over time. Sometimes everyone receives the same percentage as they play on the site. However, some poker rooms online will increase the amount of rakeback that a player receives based on their standing in the site's loyalty or rewards program.