I am very pleased to announce to you readers that I can now offer you a 27% rakeback account at Full Tilt Poker! Just use the rakeback referral code “Rakefree” when you sign up and you’ll automatically get the rakeback every Friday for the previous week’s play.
Ever since I broke into the poker scene in 2003, I’ve been a staunch proponent of the rake. The rake is what is wrong with poker. It is what is holding the game back from social acceptance and even admiration. The rake is why Joan Rivers can get away with calling Annie Duke trash and why Phil Ivey isn’t wearing a Nike swoop. The rake is what has turned our awesome game of poker into a negative-sum pit.
Maybe a few of you reading still don’t know what a rake even means in poker… don’t feel bad. I’m convinced a lot of regular low-limit players don’t kinow what it means either.
Basically, every time you win a pot in a casino or poker room (and even some home games, which you should stay far away from indeed!), the “house” takes a cut. Usually, the house cut of every pot is about 5% and capped at $3. But I’ve seen rare games where the rake is as high as 10% with no cap. So every time someone wins money at the poker table, the other players are losing that much money + the rake.
This was bad, but it got a lot worse when online poker hit. Because what happened was when PartyPoker entered the scene and started structuring their pricing model, the matched the rake structure of the live poker rooms at the time. This wasn’t really a fair match, though. Live card rooms have higher overhead per player then an online cardroom. Additionally, live card rooms have a fraction of the tables and deal out the hands a lot slower.
The Bellagio cardroom on a good day has maybe 300 poker players sitting in the games. An online cardroom has 30,000 players and they deal the hands out 3x as fast.
The end result is online poker sites charge many times more in rake fees than their brick and mortar counterparts. This results in the games big fishy losers busting quicker, the players who would be breaking even are moderate losers, and instead of having thousands upon thousands of poker players making comfortable six figure a year livings, we have MAYBE a few hundred. And all that money is going to a very small group of people (the operators) and it’s going offshore. It’s one big pyramid scheme.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can get rid of the rake in poker. We’re already seeing a pricing war in the form of rakeback, which keeps getting higher and eventually will get to 100%.
If you play online and you don’t get rakeback, you are literally giving away your money to a bunch of poker site operators. Do your part to change poker into the positive sum game it can be. If you signup to Full Tilt, make sure to put in a rakeback code. Mine is “Rakefree”, but there are plenty of other codes out there that will get you the same thing. Just use one. And make sure your friends use a rakeback code as well. Friends don’t let other friends play without rake back!
I’m compiling a list of all the rakeback codes I can get for all the major poker sites and networks. I’ll be adding it to the site soon. Until you can play rakefree… play rakeback.