The Cost of Rake

Casinos and online poker rooms make money by charging a rake or seat charge. When I first began to play poker, I purchased Wilson's Turbo Texas Hold'em and ran a simulation of ten players sitting in my local casino's game, a $3/6 table with $5 max rate and $1 average toke. I purposely included one tight/aggressive player and nine loose/passive opponents in the simulation. After 100,000 hands simulated, the results I saw were fairly terrifying. Nobody was winning. The tight/aggressive player was only down a small amount, but the loose/passive players had lost a huge sum. Later, I saw David Sklansky write an article about what it took for one player to win a living wage at poker. Let's assume the following:

  • Ten players contribute $10/hour average in rake and tokes.
  • The average player plays 40 hours a week, 4 weeks in the month.
  • For one player to make $3000 in a month, the other nine players must lose a total of $19,000 combined. Of that amount $16,000 will go to the dealers and the 'house'.

It should be incredibly clear from the calculations above that the rake one pays will play a huge role in their chances for success. So, consider carefully when choosing your game and your limit.

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