What Is Rakeback?
What is Rakeback?
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Rakeback is a fairly new concept in the world of online poker at the moment. Rakeback can be simply defined as a promotional offer in which a percentage of the payments taken by a casino or card room are refunded to the player.
How do poker rooms make profits?
To truly understand what rakeback is, one must first understand how poker rooms make their money. Rake is considered to be the one of the only ways poker rooms have to make profit, as unlike other games you can find at the casinos, in poker players are competing against each other, as opposed to competing with the house. It is therefore not unusual for an online poker room to take about 5% of the pot’s size for itself as rake.
Rake Cash Refund
Rakeback is the best way for players to save money on the costs of poker rake. It is essentially a cash refund of rake. While it is common for certain online poker rooms to show you just how much rake they had taken from a pot, none really tell you what your personal rake contribution is. Rakeback is based on the reports that are recorded within the backend of the individual poker room you’re playing in. The reports are usually a record of your personal rake.
Calculation of Individual Rake Contribution
There are 2 primary methods poker rooms employ to calculate individual contributions in rake. They are ‘shared’ and ‘contributed’.
The shared method functions in such a way that the rake is evenly divided among all the players who received cards. For instance, if twenty players are sitting at a table and the total rake amounts to $2, each player should therefore be given 20 cents in rake.
On the other hand, when using a contributed method, the players should first participate with money in the pot in order to be assigned some rake. The amount of rake that a player will receive is directly proportional to the sum of his pot contribution. For example, if a player contributes $100 to $300 pot and the rake that was taken amounts to $6, the player would therefore receive $2 rake.
Rakebrain is a site that helps players maximize their rakeback amount. By creating your new online poker room accounts through Rakebrain one can save an average of 30% on any rake you pay. Here’s how it works. Firstly, a player registers a poker account in the Rakebrain.com system so it can keep track of all rake the player pays to the poker room. Then, based on a ‘revenue share agreement’ that was made between the poker room and Rakebrain.com, they are able to credit the player’s poker account with rakeback payments of his/her rake.
Rakeback is typically paid once per calendar month, directly back to the player’s poker account.
If you play online poker long enough and spend any time on forums or discussion boards you’ll eventually hear about rakeback, which some players speak of in awed, hushed tones, as if they’ve just found the Holy Grail. For some players, that’s an apt analogy, as rakeback can often make the difference between a winning and losing month, and involves doing absolutely nothing other than what they enjoy: playing lots and lots of poker.
Rakeback may sound complicated but it’s a pretty simple concept as we covered in the basics above; each hand of online poker you play has a certain amount of money subtracted from the pot which is what the house keeps as its profits -- that money is called the rake. For cash games, the rake usually ranges from .05 to $3, depending on the stakes you’re playing; tournaments and Sit n Gos are raked as well, but in a slightly different way as the rake is the $1 fee you pay when playing a $11 + $1 tournament. Like taxes, you can’t avoid paying the rake, but many players don’t even notice as it’s typically 5% or less of the final pot pushed to the winner.
Players with a rakeback deal get exactly that: a refund of some of the rake they pay back. Think of it like a cashback deal on a credit card based on how much you spend or getting awarded frequent flier miles for flying with a certain airline. The online poker industry is very competitive so sites are willing to do anything to keep their customers happy, including giving some of them a percentage of the rake they pay back to them. Their profits might be a bit smaller for that customer who gets rakeback but it’s better to make a little less on that customer than to lose their play entirely to another rival poker site. In recent years, VIP points systems and programs have replaced traditional rakeback on some poker sites, but they work in a similar way i.e. the more hands a player plays and depending on the amount wagered points are awarded and accrued into the VIP program. These VIP programs often have a “rakeback or pure cash back” option as well as other such promos such as free tourney entries, exclusive games, play with bonuses (often for higher amounts than those offered as cash), physical goods etc. etc. can offer players
The amount of cash you’ll get back for a rakeback deal depends on how much you play each month, what stakes you play, and what sort of rakeback deal you have, but it’s not unusual for players to get hundreds of dollars back every month via rakeback. If you play a ton of poker (think tens of thousands of hands per month) at mid stakes or higher, you might be in line for thousands of dollars a month in rakeback. Since the rakeback you get is a percentage of how much rake you pay in total, you’ll get more back the higher the stakes you play, since the pots are bigger so the total rake deducted is higher.
Getting rakeback is pretty simple, especially if you sign up with RakeBrain, which is one of the largest and most trusted rakeback sites on the Web. You’ll also find the best rakeback deals here, with some offers paying you on average back 35-40% and sometimes even 60% of what you rake every month in cash, deposited directly into your online poker room account. It’s important to sign up for rakeback with a big provider like RakeBrain, as not only will it ensure you get your rakeback paid in a timely fashion but they also negotiate much better deals than you’d otherwise get if you went directly to the poker room itself.
Before you sign up for online rakeback at RakeBrain it’s important to understand some of the ins and outs of how it works, and the best way to ensure that you get as much cash back as possible from your rakeback deal. There are still some myths and misinformation regarding rakeback so it’s important that you’re armed with all the information you need before you sign up for a rakeback offer. If you’re a high volume player, an even slightly better deal can make a big difference in your profits over time, so taking the time now to learn all the details can pay huge dividends in the future.
The first big myth to debunk is that rakeback is just for losing players who can’t win on their own, or that if you’re a winning player you won’t receive rakeback for your play. The truth is that rakeback is available to winning and losing players alike. Various factors go into the calculation of how much rakeback you get (what type of deal you have, how many hands you play, what stakes you play) but one factor that absolutely does not go into the equation is whether or not you’re a winning poker player.
Some factors, though, can impact how much rakeback you receive, and they can be handled differently by some sites as opposed to others. One of the most important factors to remember is that most sites will deduct bonuses and other promotions and fees from your rakeback, so accepting a bonus or cashing in player points for merchandise in a loyalty or VIP program can impact your rakeback payment. This can include initial signup bonuses, so be sure to check at RakeBrain when signing up to see how that particular room handles bonuses and other issues that can impact your rakeback payments.
Another factor to pay attention to is how the online poker site calculates rake, and whether the site credits you for every hand you’re dealt that’s ultimately raked or whether you have to contribute to a raked pot in order to get credit. If you’re an active player that plays lots of pots or shorthanded games, you’ll usually make more from rakeback at a site using the contributed method, while if you play a bit tighter or play tons of tables the dealt method may be better for your style of play and enable you to profit slightly more from your rakeback deal. Each review at RakeBrain clearly spells out which method each site uses so it’s simple to check before signing up.
One last factor to weigh is just how active and busy the site itself is, especially for the stakes and games you normally play. Don’t just chase the highest rakeback deal offered, as in some cases the highest percentage deals are from smaller rooms or poker networks trying hard to attract new players. While there’s nothing wrong with playing there, you may have a hard time finding tables at certain stakes, and the rakeback amount you’ll make is largely dependent on how much you play. In some cases you might be better off accepting a slightly lower percentage deal in order to play on a popular site with tons of players, as you’ll always be able to find a seat at a tab and play as many hands as your heart desires -- or your mouse can handle.
Signing up for rakeback is a great way for both winning and losing poker players alike to add a little extra cash to their bankrolls every month. For players who are just learning the game and still struggling to break even, rakeback can be invaluable as it not only keeps them afloat as far as extra money coming in but it can also help with motivation at a critical time when they might otherwise get discouraged and quit. Rakeback can also give winning players a confidence boost, including the courage to move up in stakes and take a shot at bigger games, as it’s easy to look at rakeback as playing with house money.
There’s another huge advantage to rakeback, though, especially if you’re a member of a large rakeback provider like RakeBrain. Just as online poker sites offer rakeback to encourage players to stay on their site, sites like RakeBrain do exactly the same to make sure their members are loyal and happy customers, giving their members a shot at cashing in on exclusive promotions such as rake races, free trips to major live poker events like the WSOP, and chances to win iPads and other goodies. Members can also take advantage of referral bonuses for encouraging their friends to enjoy rakeback as well, yet another perk of being a member at a big rakeback site.
One great thing about the rakeback promotions and specials from RakeBrain is that the costs of these are covered by RakeBrain itself, so it won’t impact your rakeback payments like bonuses from the online poker sites themselves can. These promotions are complete freerolls for members and add up to tens of thousands of dollars in free money that’s given away each and every month exclusively to members. Just like with rakeback itself, to qualify all you typically have to do is something you’d do anyway: play tons of online poker!
It’s not hard to see the appeal for signing up for one of the best online rakeback deals at RakeBrain, as playing without rakeback is basically the same thing as lighting money on fire. If you’re going to play poker, there’s no reason to turn down absolutely free money, especially if you’re a high-volume grinder that plays a ton of hands each month. As rakeback has become more common, though, a new breed of online poker player has emerged: the rakeback pro.
Rakeback pros take the basic appeal of rakeback (getting a percentage of the rake you pay returned to you each month in cash) and amp it up the extreme, with some logging hundreds of thousands of hands every single month. That might seem impossible at first glance but if you can handle playing 24-36 tables at a time (which is possible on some online poker sites where the software allows it) and can grind it out for 6-8 hours a day, it’s actually not that hard to play 200,000+ hands in a month (or more for the truly insane).
If you’re wondering how someone could possibly play that many tables for that long and still playing winning poker, that’s a great question, and the easy answer is simple: they don’t. It takes a little re-arranging of how you think about poker, but the goal of a rakeback pro is to simply break even or lose a small amount from their actual play at the tables. They play such a high volume that they can easily make $7,000-$8,000/month in rakeback, so even if they lose a small amount they can still make a nice profit each and every month.
Rakeback pros who are members of RakeBrain are also often eligible for nice payouts from rake chases or rake races, as they’re almost guaranteed to finish in the top few spots and typically eligible for extra cash prizes that are often in excess of $1,000. The mechanics of playing that many tables can also be simplified by using third-party software programs or macros that let players hotkey certain actions (such as designating a certain key on the keyboard to always raise a set amount, or another key to pull up the next table) and using two or three monitors can make it easier to follow the action.
While some players find the idea of grinding it out as a rakeback pro a boring and depressing idea (as you don’t have much room to play creative poker or really improve your game), others find comfort in the stability of it; if you have the skills it requires it can be a much lower variance way of making a living from playing poker.
One of the more common promotions that rakeback sites specialize in are rake races and rake chases, which give players a chance to tack on even more extra cash to the rakeback they receive each month. The idea is simple enough: sprint your way to the head of the pack in the rake race or race chase and you can potentially add thousands in cash to your poker bankroll.
You’ll need to keep in mind, though, the difference between rake races and rake chases; they may sound quite similar but they’re slightly different competitions. In a rake race, players battle it out for position on a leaderboard, usually for a calendar month, with top positions paying out a set amount of money such as $1,000 for the first place finisher, $750 for the second place finisher, and so on. Rake chases are also typically month-long contests, but they reward multiple players for reaching certain levels of rake, such as paying out $100 in extra cash for every player that rakes $1,000 in the month of May, or $2,000 for every player that rakes $10,000, etc.
As far as which to choose, it really boils down to how much you expect to rake yourself, and what the competition looks like. Rake chases and rake races are offered for specific poker rooms, so you won’t be competing against every single RakeBrain player for each chase or race. You can often check out the results for the previous month which can give you an idea of both the competition and how much you’ll need to rake to be in line for certain payouts.
Keep in mind, too, that you can sign up for rakeback on many different online site, so you’re not limited to competing in just one rake chase or rake race. Again, it depends on how much you plan on raking but some big rakers might be able to sew up the top spot for one rake race and then shift their play to another one and grab a top spot there as well. If you don’t plan on raking quite that much you might get more bang for your buck by focusing on reaching a certain level in some rake chase competitions, as those are often better bets for players who might not get as many hands in each month.
Both rake chases and rake races are usually offered each month at RakeBrain for various sites, and the leaderboard resets each month, so don’t worry too much about picking one to focus on, as you’re not locked in and can always adjust your strategy the next month. While the rake races and chases shouldn’t be your sole focus, they can be a nice perk and an excellent way to add a little extra cash to your pocket each month.
Once you’ve got a good grasp of the basics of rakeback (sign up with one of the sites featured on RakeBrain and get back 30-40% of the rake you pay each month when playing online) and understand why it’d be crazy not to play with a rakeback deal, picking the best site for you to play on is often a matter of small but important details. Too many players focus on just how much percentage of their rake they may get back with one rakeback offer versus another and lose sight of some of the other details and fine print that might actually make a lower percentage deal more profitable for them in the long run.
One important factor to consider is not just where you live but also where the online site you’re playing at is licensed and regulated. In some EU countries, citizens are only taxed for poker winnings (which includes rakeback) which come outside of the EU, which applies to online sites as well. You’ll need to check your particular situation as tax laws can differ from country to country, but in some cases EU citizens are far better off to get their rakeback from an online site based in the EU as opposed to one based outside the EU; in the first instance their winnings and rakeback wouldn’t be taxable, while in the second case they could be forced to pay sizable taxes on all winnings and rakeback.
Another element to consider are loyalty and frequent player programs that online sites offer, as well as how the site handles bonuses that rakeback players may receive. While most online sites deduct the value of bonuses and other promotions from the rakeback amount that you’ll receive, not every site does so, which could make a big difference in your bottom line. The same is true of any merchandise or bonuses that you might buy via an online site’s loyalty program, so make sure you’re aware of the impact that these may have on your rakeback. RakeBrain lists all this information and more in its comprehensive reviews, so it only takes a few minutes to scope out the particulars of each site and rakeback offer.