How Do Casinos Make Money on Poker? Here’s How!

Have you ever wondered how do casinos make money on poker? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are curious about how the casino industry makes money off of one of America’s favorite pastimes.

The answer to how do casinos make money on poker is actually quite simple: they rake it in!

Rake is the term used for the commission that a casino takes from all entry tournament fees or each cash game pot during a poker game. This commission fee is typically around 10% of the total pot size.

How do casinos make money on poker?

how do casinos make money on pokerhow do casinos make money on poker

Casinos are in the business to make cash. It is not surprising. Every game, whether it is blackjack, baccarat or slots, has an inherent advantage for the casino, commonly known as the house edge.

The house edge is usually a few percentage points, which can vary from one game to the next. This guarantees that the casino will generate revenue over a long time. The house makes $30 for every $1,000 wagered on Roulette, for instance.

Poker is a different game.

how do casinos make money on poker

The house is not against you, whether you play online or live. You can play against other players, and either win cash from them or they will win cash from you. But not from the casino.

The casino does not have any vested interests in who wins or loses. The dealer is there only to deal the cards and keep track. What’s the point of the casino’s poker game? What makes a casino successful in poker? How do they organize tournaments and keep cash game tables running?

This question can be answered with a four-letter word that plays an important role in the overall poker economy. RAKE is the word that we are referring to, and it’s not a tool you use to pick up leaves from your front yard.

Poker “rake” refers to a percentage of revenue a casino keeps from almost all cash game pots or tournament entry fees. It is somewhat like a tax.

how do casinos make money on pokerhow do casinos make money on poker

This article will go into more detail about this topic, and I’ll explain the finer points of poker rake from both the casino’s and the player’s perspectives. This article will not only explain how poker casinos earn income, but also how rake can impact your poker player’s bottom line.

Understanding the Basics of Rake Poker

Casual poker players don’t often think about how the casino earns its funds from poker. They arrive, play, have fun, then go home with more money than they brought with them.

Even if you don’t find this information particularly important, it is still useful to understand how rake works.

How do casinos spend the funds they collect from rake?

Casinos spend the rake on utilities and staff salaries, as well as licensing fees and other operating expenses. Some casinos offer VIP programs that reward players for their rake with cashback or loyalty bonus.

Cash Games – CAP vs. no CAP rake

The rake is taken from a large majority of pots in a cash game, regardless of whether it’s No-Limit Hold’em or PLO, before they are handed to the winner.

It is usually a fixed percentage that can range from 2% to 10% of your total pot. These extremes are rare and you will pay rake anywhere from 3% to 5% in most casino games.

There is usually a maximum limit on how much rake can be taken out of any one pot. This is determined by the casino’s rules.

It’s not unusual for people to have very deep stacks (500 bigblins or more) and if two of these poker players end up in an All-In scenario, having no maximum rake cap could prove very costly.

Despite the fact that some venues may be willing to accept the no cap rule in certain cases, these are not the games you want.

Let’s take a quick look at an example for clarity. You’re playing a $1/$2 game and find yourself in an all-in position where you have to put all of your $300 preflop against another player who has a similar stack.

Let’s assume that the rake is set to 5% with a $10 cap. This means that the maximum amount you will pay for casino services is 10$ per pot you win. If the casino has no cap on rake and the pot total is $600, you will be required to pay $30. This is three times more than the first scenario.

Hourly rate option

Although the most common method of collecting rake for cash games is the one mentioned, some casinos use a different model.

Sometimes, you may find yourself in a game where you must pay an hourly fee to be seated at the table. This means that you will not be charged a fee to play but no funds will be taken from the pot.

You can’t choose between these options.

Differences based upon the stakes

It is important to note that small limit games can be worse than higher limit games in terms of rake.

You’ll often see a rake of 5%+ in $1/$2 games and a high cap. Higher limit tables have a rake around 3% and a lower cap relative to the stakes.

This may seem unfair to small stakes players but it is easy to see the business side of it. You are still playing at a table, regardless of whether you have $2 or $100 blinds. To keep the game moving, you need a dealer presence.

To make it possible at lower limits, casinos must take a higher rake than the blinds in order to offer their services.


Tournaments are a completely new game format. Players compete for chips and attempt to outlast other players to reach the cash stage. Chip pots have no monetary value and casinos don’t get the same rake as in cash games.

Instead, tournament rake will be paid in advance as part of the buyin. A $100 tournament, for example, will often have a buy in of $110 or $120.

how do casinos make money on pokerhow do casinos make money on poker

The rake is an additional $10 or $20 to the $100. It doesn’t go towards any prize pool. This amount is withheld from the casino and used by them to pay their expenses for organizing the event.

Online tournaments often have a lower rake than live ones, especially at lower stakes.

This is obvious and easy to explain.

Online platforms don’t have any extra costs for launching the tournament. However, live venues must pay for dealers, rent tournament space, tables, and organize everything necessary to make it a pleasant event.

Tournament Fees

Online poker tournaments are similar to brick and mortar casinos. A portion of the tournament buy in is taken as the rake, with the rest going towards the prize pool. The cost of hosting a tournament online is much lower than in a casino. This means that the rake is usually lower. varies depending on the site and stake level .

As with cash games you will pay less rake if your stakes are higher than the buy-in. This incentive is great if you need it to move up the stakes.

how do casinos make money on poker

Online Poker Rake

The online poker rake works much like a regular casino’s pot rake. A percentage of the pot is taken in a cash game every time a flop occurs. Because it costs less to operate a virtual poker room than a physical one , the rake they take for the pot is lower than a brick and mortar casino .

Depending on which poker site you use, the rake you pay can vary from 1-5% to 5%. If you are able to play at the nosebleed stakes, you will not be charged any rake.

Beyond Rake – How Live Casinos Make Money From Poker?

While rake is the main source for income from poker games it is not the most important one for live venues when compared to other games. Many casinos are happy to make a profit and still have a lot of fun hosting big poker tournaments.

Although it may not seem obvious at first, it is quite reasonable if you look at the bigger picture.

First, tournaments can be great feeders for cash game, which is great news to big casinos with poker and card rooms.

Cash games make casinos more revenue than other types of gambling. A long cash session can bring in a large amount of cash without them being exposed. It’s a great way to make extra cash for your house.

In addition to this, large tournaments with strong guarantees are a sure-fire way to bring in significant foot traffic. Many people who visit the casino don’t play poker.

After the tournament, they’re likely to find their way into table games and slot machines. This means that the casino will soon be making a lot more money from these players over the next few days.

There are other services that larger operators may offer, such as accommodation, food, drinks, or lodging. These are all likely to generate some revenue if there is a lot of people participating in a tournament. It all works together to make a solid cash flow.

Online Casinos & Poker

Online operators are able to avoid the high costs associated with running a poker table. They don’t require a lot of dealers to host a tournament with over 2,000 entries. They don’t have to reserve a lot of space for such an event.

Because it all happens in a virtual environment, they only need reliable servers to handle the traffic.

Online poker rooms and casinos can generate a lot of income from rake alone. Even if players are not at the roulette or blackjack tables, they can still make enough money to pay for the operation while still making a profit.

This does require sufficient player traffic, as the poker rake can only be generated when there is action at the tables.

However, online operators have been incorporating the land-based model. They’ll offer some casino games in the poker lobby. With many online poker clients, players can now fire up their slots or jump over to a table game such as blackjack or baccarat with just a click.

What fees do casinos charge Texas Hold’em players for?

Casinos can charge time collections of $5/half an hours or a fixed amount such as 5% per hand in Texas Hold’em Cash games. Casinos take a fixed fee for each buy-in in Hold’em tournaments. If the tournament entry fee was $1050, the house fees might be $50 and $1000 go to the prize pool.

Conclusion: Know Your Rake

As a result, you now have a better understanding of how do casinos make money on poker and profit from it plus how they manage to run the games despite the enormous prize money on offer.

Poker can be a terrific strategy to enhance your bottom line if you play it correctly.

You should not be terrified of raking, nor should you disregard it as a sinister activity.

Even if you have never heard of rake, it shouldn’t surprise that casinos make money from poker games. They do it with everything else, so why should poker be any different.

You should be aware of the rake in the games that you play. This can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Even if you are a very skilled player, games with excessively high levels of rake or caps (or no caps at all) can prove very difficult to beat.

A game with a lower rake might be worth looking into if you have more options. You’ll make more money if the rake is lower, unless there is a significant difference in the skill level of the players.