The Rake

A poker player’s four letter word. Sure we love it that we get dealers and free food and a place to play, bad beat jackpot and the like. But I can’t stand to watch it go. I think most players at the games I play in or the levels I do don’t pay attention. If ever I am making more money than the rake, and have been there for any considerable length of time, I’m gone.

            The math on the rake is simple. It’s not even basic math; it’s less than basic math. At the club, the rake is 10% with a max of 4. Doesn’t seem too bad when most of the pots have well over sixty in them. The casino is a max of 3, but over forty they put one in the bad beat and 2 if it’s over 50. At the club in Fort Collins (no limit) it was 2 at 15 and 3 at 100, but anything across the line counted. So if there was 50 in the pot and you bet 100 to run people out, everyone folds, you actually lost money, because they just raked your bet.

            Now all of this sounds stupid to someone playing for a day at a casino or a couple time s month. This is nothing to worry about. But here’s the math: the club where I play 4-8 deals around 30 hands and hour and most of the pots are raked full. That’s 120 bucks off the table every hour. The whole table loses it. Everyone tips at least a buck, but it probably averages between 2-3, but I’ll say 2 just to keep the figure conservative. That means 180 an hour is leaving the game. Just to keep the game solid and ripe, two players need to get another rack or two new players need to sit down. Otherwise, that rake starts eating into me, whether I’m playing pots or not.

            At the casino, they are raking less, but they go through more hands with the shuffler. I know a dealer who used to deal there and she said they wanted them averaging 50 hands an hour before the shufflers came along. So whether it goes to the casino or to the bad beat, more than 200/hour is coming off any table I sit at. That’s tough business.

It is imperative that new money arrives steadily. The casino is never a problem, but the 4-8 can pose some threats, especially when you have to play for 2 hours unless you are stuck, then you can leave any time.

            So again, tight play is the only way to protect your chips from bad luck, other players and the rake. Otherwise, all three are chipping away at your stack.