Imagine being seated at the poker table —virtual felt or real. You're surrounded by a motley crew of players, all of them practicing the best poker faces, as they sit poised and ready to outwit one another. The chips are stacked high, the tension is electrifying. But behind the scenes, there’s another key player in the game that perhaps you haven’t even considered.

A subtle, yet formidable force… the Poker Rake

What is a Rake in Poker?

So, what exactly is this poker rake we speak of? Well, in short, it’s a fee charged by the casino or poker cardroom to play a poker game.

Think of it as the casino’s way of taking a slice of the action for hosting the game. They need to cover things like operating costs and overheads in order to keep the site or poker room running, so the rake is a commission of sorts that covers all their behind-the-scenes fees.

This skilled maestro works tirelessly backstage to ensure that every game you play runs smoothly and hitch-free.

How is Poker Rake Calculated?

Poker rake is calculated differently depending on the type of poker game you’re playing.

In any poker ring game, for example, the rake is calculated by taking a percentage of the winnings in the pot. A set portion of the pot will go to the house (the cardroom or poker site), and the remainder will stay in the pot. Generally speaking, rake is only applied to ring games.

Rake isn’t applied in poker tournaments, instead there’s a predetermined fee — between 7% and 10% — applied to play in the tournament. It’s similar to rake, but instead, the tournament fee is incorporated into the tournament “buy-in”, or “entry fee”. The poker room will collect a percentage of the tournament buy-in for hosting the tournament. This amount is usually shown on the entry fee. The rest of the buy-in goes back into the prize pool.

The percentage of rake can vary between different poker websites — in poker tournaments for example, it might be as high as 15% of the tournament fee. Or, in ring games, the pot rake could be set at 5% of the total pot winnings.

Most commonly, the pot rake is generally 2.5% to 10% of the pot in each hand, up to a specified maximum amount. This is usually capped to a maximum amount of rake that a poker room can take from a pot.

Some poker sites take a set amount of rake from the pot regardless of size. Some won’t take any rake until the flop is dealt, which means only hands that reach post-flop are eligible to be raked. For example, if you raise pre-flop and take down the blinds without seeing a flop, then you win the entire pot rake-free. That is, no rake will be applied. This is called “no flop, no drop.”

What is Global Poker’s Rake?

At Global Poker, rake is only taken during ring game play. The rake is set to 5% (up to the capped maximum amount detailed on the table below) of the total pot winnings. This cap is the maximum taken (or raked) from the pot. The cap can differ depending on the number of players actively sat on the table, but it’s always set to a specific and maximum amount. So, regardless of how big the pot gets, the maximum taken from the pot is what is stated in the table below.


The rake is also only taken after the flop. It’s not taken if the hand ends before the flop — the “no flop, no drop” rule. So, if a player raises pre-flop and everybody folds, no rake will be applied.

How is Rake Collected?

There are a number of different ways that rake is collected, depending on the type of poker game you’re playing, and where you’re playing. Live poker games and online poker games will differ slightly, as do tournaments and ring games. We’ve listed all the different types of poker rake below.

Pot Rake

Pot rake is the most common type of rake. It’s usually only applied to ring games, and it will always be set to a maximum capped amount. Pot rake is generally 2.5% to 10% of the pot in each hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount. Global Poker, for example, has a rake of 5%, but if you look at our rake table above you can see that in a Sweeps Coin game of 10/20 Blinds with 5 active players, the maximum rake we would collect for this hand is SC5.5. The rake cap (maximum rake) to apply is 10/20 blinds with 5+ players cap. If there were only 2 players, it would be set to a 2-player cap, so the maximum rake would be SC1.5 in that particular hand.

Pot rake is deducted from the final pot, at the end of the hand, before it is passed to the winner.

Time Collection

A time collection fee, or “timed rake” or “table charge”, is a fixed fee that’s applied to each player prior to playing at the poker table. No rake is taken from the pot, instead, each player is charged a fee to play for a set period of time. The reason it’s called “time collection”, is because the fee is collected at intervals. Typically, each player will be required to pay a “time collection fee” that’s collected every 30 minutes or every hour. This sits outside the normal collection of rake and is applied to each player individually. This fee is usually set by the Poker House.

Table Charge

A Table Charge is another type of fee applied to poker games. This fee is usually collected by the casino or poker room for hosting the game. The table charge is typically a fixed amount per table per hour, and that fee covers the table cost and dealer per hour. Regardless of the number of players, the table charge will be set to a specific and predetermined amount, and the seated players will generally agree to split the fee equally with each player for that hour. Table charge is generally applied to games whereby there is no rake deducted from the pots won.

Dead Drop

Dead Drop is another way of collecting a guaranteed fee for hosting a poker game. Instead of a Table Charge that’s applied to the entire table (anyone can agree to pay the full or partial table charge, although it’s usually split evenly between all players), a Dead Drop is when everyone at the table agrees to a fixed rake before the hand is dealt.

In a Dead Drop, a set amount of rake is placed on the dealer button before the cards are dealt. It forces the rake to be set at a predetermined amount per hand, in order for the House to collect that hourly payment. So, instead of it being a flat table charge divided between all players, it would be a set amount for the person on the button per hand. This guarantees that each player at the table is applied the same amount of rake, regardless of the hand or whether they win or lose.

No Flop, No Drop

As we mentioned earlier, some poker rooms will not apply rake until after the flop has been dealt. The “no flop, no drop” rule. That is, if you raise pre-flop and take down the blinds without seeing a flop, you win the entire pot.

Poker Tournaments

Rake is typically only applied to ring games. In a poker tournament, there isn’t a set rake during play, instead rake is usually factored into the “buy-in”, or “entry fee”. This applies to both live and online poker tournaments and the amount is shown on the entry fee. The poker room collects a percentage of the tournament buy-in for hosting the tournament, and the remainder of the buy-in goes back into the prize pool.

At Global Poker, our tournament fees range from 0% to 10% of the tournament buy-in.

Live poker games

In a live poker game, the dealer collects the pot rake at the start of the hand. Once the hand is played, the dealer removes the chips from the pot and sets them aside on the table. Once the hand is complete, the dealer will then set the chips aside in a secure box.

Online poker games

Generally, when playing poker online, the rake is collected automatically through the game’s software. Some game software will display the rake in between rounds, whereas others collect rake from the winning pot before awarding the remainder of the pot to the final player.

What is rakeback?

Rakeback does exactly what it says on the tin; it gives a percentage of rake back to players in the form of a loyalty program. These programs generally award players either in the form of loyalty points, or in real prizes that go straight into their poker account.

Global Poker offers a 30% ring game giveback scheme, called The Vault. The Vault is a loyalty bonus feature awarded to ring game players every time they play a Qualifying Hand.

How Does The Vault Work?

For every Qualifying Hand (where rake is taken) played in ring games, a Gold Coin and Sweeps Coin Vault Bonus will be added to the Vault in your Profile. It’s always there to view and you can claim and play at any time.

All you have to do is play Global Poker ring games! Whatever the result at the table, The Vault means that every time you play, you’ll get more from your game.

Learn more about The Vault.

Online Poker Rake vs. Live Poker Rake: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between online poker and live poker lies in the way that rake is collected from players

Online Poker Rake

Rake in online poker is collected in one of two ways:

  1. Pot Rake — a small percentage of the pot is taken as the rake. Pot rake is generally only applied to ring games, and it usually lies between 3.5% and 5%, capped at a maximum amount.
  2. Tournament Fees — in online tournaments, the rake is factored into the tournament fee. When players register for a tournament, a portion of their buy-in goes toward the rake. The fee is usually a fixed percentage of the buy-in amount, such as 10% or 15%

It’s also collected automatically via the game software.

Live Poker Rake

Live poker games collect rake a little differently, mainly due to the physical nature of the game. Unlike game software, the dealer usually physically collects the rake before the hand is complete, or before play, if there is a Time Collection, Table Charge or Dead Drop in place.

As we mentioned previously, in a live poker game rake is collected either by:

  1. Time Rake, Table Charge or Dead Drop — a fixed fee for a specific duration spent at the table.
  2. A Percentage of the Pot — similar to online poker, however in live poker the percentage is often higher than you would find in an online game, and is also unit dependent on the chip denominations in play on the table.
  3. Tournament Fees — much the same as online poker, live poker also sets a tournament fee, which is typically a percentage of the buy-in amount.

Overall, the basic concept of rake remains the same in both online and live poker, it’s just the method in which they both collect tends to differ. It’s also worth noting that rake structures can differ between poker sites and poker rooms, as do the maximum caps.