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What Does Taking a Rake In Poker Mean? & Why Is It Illegal?

Not many people are familiar with the term "taking a rake" as it relates to a poker game in a casino. Essentially, taking a rake means collecting money from the players at a poker table. It is a fee charged for allowing players to play at your table or venue.

At face value, raking seems like a fair practice that makes sense. You are simply charging for a service you are providing. However, raking can be illegal in some cases. 

What Is a Rake In Poker? 

A rake is a fee a club or a casino takes from each pot in a poker game. This fee is typically a small percentage of the pot, usually around 5-10%, but it can vary depending on the game and the casino or club room hosting it. For example, online casino sites take a rake as a percentage of the buy-ins.

The dealer is the one that usually collects the rake, and the casino uses it to cover the costs of running the game, such as paying dealers, purchasing chips, and maintaining the poker room. 

The rake is typically not taken from the blinds but from the pots that a player has won. Some clubs take the rake through the cash pot, while some may take it through tournaments via the buy-ins.

Why Is Taking a Rake Illegal? 

While rakes are legal in many states and countries, they are not legal in every jurisdiction. Some countries have laws that prohibit the taking of rakes in poker casino games, while others have laws that regulate the maximum amount that they can take. 

The specific laws and regulations in the jurisdiction where the game is taking place determine the legality of the rake. For example, in the UK, it is illegal to take a rake if you are running a private poker game and do not have a gambling licence. 

This is because it is seen as a form of gambling, and thus it would be illegal because it is unregulated. It can also be illegal if operated in an illegal location. Therefore, it is safe to assume that taking a rake is not inherently illegal. It just depends on the circumstances.

How Do Casinos Take a Rake? 

In most casinos, the dealer takes the rake before awarding the pot to the winner. The dealer typically announces the rake amount before taking it so that all players are aware. 

It can be collected through a dead drop box, tournament buy-in or time collection and is often kept separate from the pot. After the game is finished, the casino then takes their rake from the drop box or chip tray. 

Dead Drop

The dead drop is a fixed percentage of the pot taken by the room. This can be in the form of a button that moves around the table. This fixed percentage is usually around 5 to 10%. However, some casinos only take a rake under certain conditions, such as whether or not a flop has been dealt.

Time Collection

Time collections happen at specific time stamps throughout the game. During a time collection, each player pays a preset amount. However, time collections usually happen in poker games with higher stakes.

Tournament Buy-In

This is a fee you pay if you want to partake in a poker tournament. Each tournament has its own percentage, ranging between 10-20% of your stake per tournament. For example, say you are playing a Double Double Bonus poker, and the buy-in stake is £10. If the rake is 20%, then £2 goes to the casino.

What Is a Good Rake In Poker? 

The amount of the rake is typically a small percentage of the pot, usually around 5-10%, but it can vary depending on the specific game and the casino or card room that is hosting it. 

So, to get the best out of your poker hand when playing a poker game, it is best to check the rake schedule in your preferred poker room. 

A good rake is considered one which is fair to the player and the card room as well. For example, a rake that is too high would discourage players from playing, and one that is too low may not cover the cost of running the game. 

If you are playing at an established and licensed gaming place or a casino, a rake can be an inherent part of the game of poker, and it's a cost that players must pay to participate in the game. 

Therefore, as a poker player, you should look at the rake schedule and compare it to other poker rooms before deciding to play. Another thing to keep in mind is that online poker generally has a lower rake than traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. 

In summary, as a potential poker player, it is important to understand what a rake is, how it affects the game, and under what circumstances it is illegal. 

While the rake may seem like a small amount, it can add up over time and can have a significant impact on your overall winnings. 

Knowing the rake schedule and looking for a fair rake amount is crucial in making informed decisions before playing poker. Lastly, remember to gamble responsibly and stick to your budget.

*All values (Bet Levels, Maximum Wins etc.) mentioned in relation to this slot game are subject to change at any time.