How do casinos make money with poker?

Poker is a mainstay at most online casinos. It is a skill-based game where players face the dealer or other players instead of RNG generated results. But because the game is not played against the house, casinos come up with their own ways to make money from poker games. This begs the question; How do casinos make money on poker? This quick read finds out!

The word is rake!

Have you ever heard of the word “rake”? No, it is not the garden tool for collecting leaves and paper in your backyard. Instead, an in-game rake is a portion that goes to the house every time a player wins a real money bet. It’s basically the cost of running the table. This clearly indicates that the house has nothing to do with who wins the poker games, as their participation is already guaranteed.

Unsurprisingly, most casinos have a cap on the amount of rake they can take out of the pot. This is usually anything between 2% and 10%. This amount is used to pay the distributor, maintain the website, etc. So make sure you know how much the house will pay before you play poker online or at a land-based casino.

Popular types of poker rakes

There are several ways that casinos collect their commission from the game. Below are the most common methods:

Pot rake

Pot rake is the most popular type of rake collection in which the house takes a certain percentage of the total pot. However, some poker rooms may have a specific amount of rake to collect, regardless of the size of the pot. This is common in high stakes games where 2% to 10% can be a lot of money. Also, some casinos take your rake only after a flop is dealt.

Rake of time

Time rake or time collection is a poker fee that is charged every 30 minutes or one hour after play. This rake can be collected from an individual player (player rake) or from the pool itself (time pool). Time rakes are generally applied in high limit card games where a percentage rake may seem unfair.

Tournament tickets

Tournaments are common in poker and slot games. Players join the competition to compete for the first prize by playing with chips. The casino usually awards the top three players who accumulate the most points, although some may consider the top 10. But unfortunately for the casino, the card chips have no monetary value.

So, to avoid losses, most tournaments have an buy-in that is paid before the game starts. For example, a $1,000 contest might have a $20 entry. Assuming the tournament is open to 60 players and each player’s rake is 10%, the casino will make a rake profit of $120 after paying out the top players. Always pay attention to the commission if you are a fan of poker tournaments.


Dead drop is a type of fixed rake that is placed on the dealer button before the poker game begins. In short, the dealer collects the commission before dealing the cards to the players. Interestingly, each player pays this commission while the button is still spinning on the table.

Why play poker online?

There are 1001 reasons to play poker at an online casino. One of the main reasons is the expense involved in running the games. As stated before, casino operators incur a lot of costs to operate poker rooms. But these expenses are significantly reduced with online games, therefore a low rake deduction in the players’ pots.

Take this example; Most online casinos don’t need three or four dealers and a floor manager to monitor the games. Instead, the casino software will do all the heavy lifting in a tournament with thousands of entrants. Therefore, the casino will still win enough without charging players exorbitant rake fees. But of course player traffic matters.

It’s also worth noting that most online casinos run live poker games these days. In these games, players simply select their chip size and start playing against the dealer or other live players. Players can even communicate using the chat feature. But be mindful of your language, as casinos will not hesitate to kick you out if you go off topic or use vulgar language.

It’s all fair game!

If you have a colleague or friend who is skeptical about playing poker online, this article should allay your concerns. Poker is slightly different from other casino games in that the casino relies on the house edge for rake. The house gets its cut mainly from the rake you pay. Therefore, they have no reason to manipulate the result.

But notice this; a higher rake can affect your gaming decisions by lowering your expected value. Simply put, a higher rake will make your overall game tighter, denying you the opportunity to exploit some situations. Be careful!