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The Rake and How to Beat It

The Rake and How to Beat It

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What is the Rake and how do you beat it?  If you play Texas Holdem at a casino, poker room or online poker room, there is a rake.  The rake is a percentage of the pot that goes to the house, usually 4 to 10%.  A lot of poker rooms will only rake when the pot reaches a certain level.  The term comes from “raking a little off the pot.”

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If the house is only raking when the pot reaches a certain level, you can play to minimize your contributions to the rake.  For example, you can blind steal or buy free cards.  Blind Stealing is betting when only you and the blinds are left in the game pre-flop.  To pull this off, you should be in the dealer position, just before the small blind.  You make a large enough raise to get the blinds to fold, and you “steal” the blinds.  If you’re in last position, you can buy a free card.  If on the pre-flop, no one else has raised, you bet.  This cuts down on the number of players – ergo cutting down the money in the pot, which avoids the rake.  Everyone who doesn’t fold will tend to check to the raiser – you.  Then, on the turn, after the other players have checked again, you don’t have to bet again.  That’s why it’s called a free card.  It is best used if you’ve got a flush or straight draw.

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Getting pots early and getting out is how to minimize the rake.  Let’s face it, the house is going to get its money.  You just don’t want to give them more than you have to.  The rake at a casino or poker room is going to be more than an online poker room.  Let’s face it, there is a lot less involved in maintaining an online room than a building with dealers, waitstaff, parking lot attendants and everything else.  They have to pass that cost on to the players and one way they do it is through the rake.  The rake at an online poker room is usually about half of what a live casino or poker room would charge.

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