When you play online poker for real money, the site you are playing on will take a small fee. This fee is called the rake and on most sites you can get a certain percentage of this rake paid back into your poker account as a reward for choosing to play there, hence the name ‘rakeback’.
Types of poker rakeback
To encourage players to keep playing with them, all sites have some sort of reward system that is based on how much you play at the site. These systems come in several different forms but while they may have different names and structures, they all offer players cash rewards for their loyalty and are all based on how much a player plays at the site (or more accurately the amount of rake the player pays).
The different systems used include:
- Flat rakeback percentage – The simplest form of rakeback, where players receive a fixed percentage of their rake paid back into their account, usually paid daily, weekly or monthly.
- VIP Programs/Loyalty Schemes – Usually points based reward systems where you earn points for your play which can be used to purchase cash bonuses. These tiered systems have several different levels that you progress through as you rake more in a given time period. As you reach higher levels you will earn points faster and gain access to better value bonuses. The effect of course is that your effective rakeback percentage is increased.
- Bonuses – Sign up and Deposit bonuses can add a significant amount to your rakeback percentage.
- Rake races and rake chases – These are extra promotions where you compete against other players on the site for extra cash prizes. The more you play the higher up the leader board you will finish and the bigger your prize will be.
It’s important to remember that rakeback payments are on top of any winnings you have from actually playing the games. With that in mind let’s take a look at some examples of how much certain players can expect to make just from rakeback. We will assume that all the players have a 40% flat rakeback deal.
Cash Game Example
The rake in cash games (also known as ring games) is taken as a small percentage of the pot, usually somewhere around 5% at online poker rooms but can be considerably higher in brick and mortar casinos. The fee is barely noticeable over a short time period but can add up to a significant amount every month, so the rakeback payments you receive can also add up to a lot (in some cases even more than you make at the tables).
- Recreational micro stakes player – A player who plays 4 tables of $0.05/$0.10 ($10NL) for just 2 hours a day will make $192 a month from rakeback.
- Semi-professional small stakes player - A player who plays 6 tables of $0.25/$0.50 ($50NL) for 4 hours a day will make $1,584 a month from rakeback.
- Professional mid stakes player – A player who plays 9 tables of $2/$4 ($400NL) for 6 hours a day will make $9,720 a month from rakeback. That’s over $118,000 a year just from rakeback!
Note: Most online poker rooms operate a ‘no-flop no-drop’ policy in cash games. This means that the rake is only taken if the hand goes as far as the flop, so any hand that is over pre-flop is free from rake.
You might be wondering where we are getting these figures from. Well we are using a handy tool called a rakeback calculator. These can be found on several poker rakeback sites, but the one we are using can be found in the rakeback section of MilkFishPoker.com.
For more information about cash game rake and how it is assigned to players for rakeback purposes, check out the Poker Rake Methods article.
Tournament rakeback is easy to calculate because the rake for tournaments is simply a fee added on to the buy-in when you enter the tournament. For example you will often see a tournament advertised as something like a $10 + 1 tournament which simply means it’s a $10 tournament with a $1 fee (rake). Any rakeback will be calculated using the $1 fee.
- Recreational micro stakes player – A player who plays 100 $5 tournaments with a $0.50 fee will receive $20 in rakeback.
- Semi-professional small stakes player - A player who plays 1,000 $10 tournaments with a $1 fee will receive $400 in rakeback.
- Professional mid stakes player – A player who plays 2,000 $30 tournaments with a $3 fee will receive $2,400 in rakeback.
You may have noticed that there is no need to use a rakeback calculator for our tournament examples as you simply multiply the fee per tournament by the number of tournaments played to get the total rake paid. Then it’s simply a case of calculating the correct percentage for rakeback which in our examples was 40%.
How to Get Rakeback
So now you know what rakeback is, and how lucrative it can be, how on earth do you go about getting it? Well some of the poker sites will offer incentives including rakeback just by signing up with them directly, however in almost all cases you will get a much better deal by signing up through a rakeback affiliate such as MilkFish Poker Rakeback. You sign up for the poker rooms by using the links provided and in return you get the rakeback deal you desire. Once it’s all set up, the rakeback payments will be made automatically into your poker account.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Good luck at the tables!