Tournament players aren't free of the rake either. If you've ever wondered why SNG and MTT buy-ins often look like this: 10$+1$, 2$+0.2$ the answer to this question is simple and it starts with the letter "R". If you think 5-10% rake doesn't seem like a big deal I assure you that it is. The existence of the rake is one of the main reasons why only the top 10-15% of players can be winners at poker.
Weighted Contributed Rakeback
Ok, but how many toy cars... I mean how much rake is the poker room is taking from me?The answer to this question used to be slightly more complicated a couple of years ago, but nowadays the weighted contributed method of calculating rake has become the industry standard. Here's a quick explanation of how this method works:
Percentage based rakeback deals used to be by far the most popular with 30% being an industry standard. Nowadays, this can be a lot more complicated which we'll get into in a moment but you can still find a bunch of flat rakeback offers using PokerVIP deals on Microgaming,Ipoker and many other different networks.
A Rakeback By Any Other Name?
For example, Unibet VIP program can add up to 60% rakeback based on your volume and if you take a look at our William Hill deal you'll notice that the first 25 euro of deposit bonus clears at a rate of 50% with the rest adding a cool 10% rakeback to the already attractive deal. All in all, if you know basic math and adjust it for some factors like the volume, you can easily figure out the rakeback % you're going to get no matter how certain poker room chooses to structure their VIP program.
Rakeback as a Part of Your Strategy
Here are some key points when using rakeback as part of a profitable strategy...
- Pay attention to the big picture. 50% rakeback doesn't have to be a better choice than 30%. The absolute % means very little if we don't compare it with the rake that we're paying. For example, if you end up paying 20bb/100 in rake on a poker room A with 50% rakeback deal you're in a relatively worse situation than you'd be playing on a poker room B charging you 10bb/100 on average and awarding with 30% rakeback. In the first example, you're effectively paying 10bb/100 in rake and in the second one only 7bb/100. The situation gets even more complicated if we start adjusting our calculations for some external factors, like the quality of the games or poker room traffic.
- Variance free money. Many professional players choose to treat their rakeback as a regular pay-day. Assuming your bankroll management strategy and skill are good enough to greatly minimize the risk of dropping to a lower limit, and you're disciplined enough to maintain the same volume each month, poker that's unstable in nature can reward you with a consistent amount of money each month. You can also opt to use the rakeback money to soften the blow of a downswing.
- Avoid the rakeback grinder trap. Grinding for rakeback can be very profitable in some cases but it can also lead to some issues if you choose to make it your long-term strategy. Since poker win rates are so hard to calculate, if you're aiming to maximize rakeback and maintain a 0bb/100 win rate, you'll very often misjudge the amount of work you need to do and time you need to spend on education in order to achieve that. Besides, 0bb/100 win rate makes it impossible to move up in limits and that's a big issue for many players (especially those playing micro and small stakes). Lastly, the life of break even player or even a marginal winner can prove to be fairly miserable in the short run which makes it hard to sustain.
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