How do Casinos Make Money on Poker?

No matter if you’re playing live or online poker, you usually play against other players and win their money. But where’s the catch and how do casinos make money on poker? Read along to find out how the poker rake and house edge work and how casinos profit off them.

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How do Casinos Make Money on Poker?

What is a Poker Rake? 

Online and live casinos take a commission from the tables to pay for their operating costs. This commission taken from tables is called a “rake.” The poker game rake is taken from tournament games as a percentage of the buy-in and each pot during cash games. 

In the case of a “pot rake,” there is usually a percentage amount taken from each hand, usually between 2.5% and 10%. Some casinos take a percentage from the pot as determined by the size of the pot, while others take a predetermined rake percentage, regardless of size. 

Other rake types include “time collection” and “dead drop”. Time collection is collected from tables every half hour while a dead drop is collected for each hand the player plays. These rake types are usually reserved for higher-limit games.  

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How does the house make money on poker?

“The house always wins” is a well-known phrase in gambling and casinos. That’s because the house has an advantage when it comes to poker and other casino games. This advantage is called “house edge,” which is different from a poker rake.  

While a rake is a commission taken to fund the casino’s costs, the house edge is the percentage profit for the casino from every bet a player makes. The profit is determined by the average player’s loss to initial bet ratio. Nevertheless, this only happens in player versus casino games. 

The most common type of poker that uses house edge is Caribbean Stud Poker, a table game played against the casino.    

cards on a poker table

CAP vs. no CAP poker rake 

The rake that a casino takes for a pot can be capped or uncapped. This depends on the casino and commission style. Uncapped rakes are more prevalent in offline casinos, while capped rakes are more common online. Players can expect a rake of 4-5% in an average online casino. 

A capped rake represents the maximum rake deducted from the pot. For example, if the poker game rake is 4.5% and the pot is $200, the percentage rake works out at $9. 

If you’re interested in a no-cap rake, visit an online poker website and select a rake-free room. A rake-free room gives you the chance to participate in poker without any fee; however, these rooms might only be available to those with memberships or frequent poker players.  

Differences in Stakes

Casinos use rakes to bring in money to cover the cost of tables, premises, and staff. Usually, the rake amount depends on the stake. If you are playing a low-stakes raked game, you will pay less. 

As the stakes of a poker game increase, the rake tends to increase too unless there is a cap. The good news for players is that higher-stakes games with caps increase the value of the game. This means you pay less rake in relation to lower stake games, which improves returns. 

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Depending on the size of the tournament, you might pay a higher or lower poker rake. That being said, smaller tournaments tend to have a higher rake for earning. 

However, due to the nature of tournament poker, it’s a good idea to be aware of the rake before you play. Any rake above 20% is likely to result in higher losses and lower gains. Each game in the tournament will require a buy-in, so make sure you understand the costs before playing. 

poker cards and chips

What is the rake in online poker? 

Naturally, online casinos have lower operating costs and therefore require a lower rake. Nonetheless, they still require a small rake for online games. In some cases, no rake is required for frequent players. 

The rakes in online casinos are usually between 1-3%. If you choose to play poker online, you can make more significant gains due to the lower rakes.

Finishing Up 

Now you know how casinos generate their income and how they can keep the games running while offering big prizes. The rake in poker is a practical way for casinos to make a profit, aside from the extra money made from other casino games. As a player, you should be informed about the rake and house edge to make sure you get the most out of your game. 



How do casinos make money on poker rakes?

The poker rake is a convenient way for casinos to make money, in addition to the income made from other games like roulette or slots. Rakes are usually calculated according to the size of the pot. That means a pot of $0.18 would have a rake of $0.01 up to a cap of $2.00. So, the rake works out at between 5-11% on average.


Toni always had an appetite for learning new things and random facts about almost everything, which is why when he got offered the job to work as a content writer he took it without hesitation. Writing daily took his love for words and research to a whole new level, and made him realize that this is a career he would love to pursue. Although he spends most of his time researching his next piece, you can also find him on the football court, in the gym, or at home with a book in his hand.

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