Monday, 12 May 2014

How Rakeback Affects Your Winnings

Even though, most readers already know what this is all about, I think this is a topic where someone probably has a different way of looking at it. In this post I'd like to make sure that we're on the same page.

 What is Rakeback?

There are two main ways of how it can be calculated.
Rakeback can either be a fixed percentage of the rake you pay. The percentage of the rake you will get back is usually settled up with the poker room before joining it.
Or it is a (rake-)volume-based rate that will be renewed after a specific time period. Most poker rooms use this form of rakeback nowadays. While playing you are achieving a so called VIP-Status. And your VIP-Status will determine your rakeback percentage. This means that the more rake you pay in a specific time period, the more of the rake you will get back.
In order to take fully advantage of your pokerstites' rakeback programm, you should put in some time to truly understand the rakeback system of your poker room.

What does Rakeback mean for you?

Rakeback is a constant add-up to your winrate.
Example: Let's assume you are a Supernova player at PokerStars who is grinding at the 100nl Fullring Tables and you're playing enough to reach the 200,000 VPP a year. In order to do that you have to play 910,000 hands.

Thus, the value of the you're rakeback in total is 15K$*. On 910K hands this increases you're winrate by 1.65bb/100. (15000$/910k hands*100~1.65)

This doesn't mean that a lot of rakeback makes you a winning player. But it shows you how your rakeback deal and the number of hands you play affect your total winnings and winrate.

*For those of you who want to know how I get to 15K$:
11.2K$ FPP Value+1,2K$ VIP Stellar Rewards+2,6K$ Milestone Bonus

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $2.00 BB (9 handed) - PokerStars Converter Tool from

saw flop | saw showdown

Hero (MP2) ($201.50)
MP3 ($122.68)
CO ($173.20)
Button ($200)
SB ($384.99)
BB ($208)
UTG ($207.14)
UTG+1 ($342.83)
MP1 ($199.62)

Preflop: Hero is MP2 with K, Q
3 folds, Hero raises to $6, 3 folds, SB raises to $20, 1 fold, Hero calls $14

Flop: ($42) 10, J, 10 (2 players)
SB bets $28, Hero calls $28

Turn: ($98) A (2 players)
SB bets $52, Hero calls $52

River: ($202) 6 (2 players)
SB bets $284.99 (All-In), Hero calls $101.50 (All-In)

Total pot: $405 | Rake: $2.80

Results below:
SB had A, A (full house, Aces over tens).
Hero had K, Q (royal flush).
 Outcome: Hero won $402.20

Against an aggressive opponent, I like defending KQs in position against a 3bet. Since I would flat this flop with JJ/Tx/(KK+) there is no need to raise anything. Turn and River are no-brainers.


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  4. What you have written about rakeback is so very true. Rakeback is not the end all be all that some players make it out to be. Some players thing so much about it that they forget to think about how much rake the poker rooms charge / how much they pay. Some players get crazy and obsess over the percentage paid back. Professional online poker players instead focus on using rakeback as the tool it was intended to be, a discount on the rake for volume players.

    With that said, RB can be an important part of a players income, especially at the lower stakes where relatively speaking, rake is high. It is also a big problem for American players or rest of world players looking to play against American fish by playing on US poker sites where there are limited options available. The only sites that offer rakeback to US players or to play against US players are listed as follows:

    Winning Poker Network - True Poker Rakeback, Black Chip Poker Rakeback, Americas Cardroom Rakeback.

    Revolution / Cake Network - Juicy Stakes Rakeback, Intertops Rakeback (by invitation only).

    There there is the bitcoin poker site Seals With Clubs Rakeback.

    There is also de facto rakeback at Grand Poker Network which can be accessed via 5Dimes and Sportbet

    Only a handful of places offer Mac-friendly rakeback since the whole industry is focused on Windows PC poker software clients.

    Ultimately it all comes down to thinking about your overall situation and taking into account all of the variables involved. That is something, as you stated, that needs to be done in order to be successful. Failing to account for the rake in the hands can lead to mistakes in play.

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