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Rake Poker Definition

House Rake - Time Collection

by Jesse Knight
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Poker Rake
Rake - The amount of money the house is taking for running the game. The cardroom's income.


Casinos cannot spread live poker games without paying dealers, floormen, cocktail waitresses, chip runners, or paying for the chips, tables, cards and electricity to light the room. In order to do so, they take a rake, or a fee, from each hand of poker (up to a maximum amount regardless of the size of the pot). This serves as the house’s income needed to continue running the games and making a profit.

The rake is usually in the form of a small percentage (5%-10%)or a specified dollar amount that is taken from the pot until the maximum amount is collected. Depending on the card room, rakes commonly vary from $3 to $5 per hand, per table.

Even individuals hosting a “home game” will sometimes take a small rake from each pot to help defray the cost of refreshments. Savvy online players will sometimes check down hands so as not to “feed the rake”. If the pot is small and they feel they are up against a similar hand, they refrain from betting as doing so will only give the house a disproportionate amount of the extra bets as “rake” they will not recover as winnings.

Another form of “rake” is called a “time charge” or "collection". This is more common in No Limit cash games, whereby each hour or half-hour, the dealer collects a flat fee from each player.

Collection is sometimes called “house collection.” It is the method by which casinos and card rooms generate revenue. There are two distinctly different ways of collecting for the house which are commonly used. They are “per hand collection” and “time collection.” Historically, the per hand collection method has been used in low limit games, while time collection has been used in at the higher limits.

In the “per hand” collection method, a collection is taken for the house from every qualifying hand. The amount of the “per hand” collection is usually calculated in one of two ways. It can be a set fee, which may be adjusted based upon the number of players dealt in. This is commonly referred to as the “flop and drop” method. Alternatively, it can be calculated as percentage of the pot size (usually 5% or 10%). If the percentage method is used, the collection is taken in quarter or dollar increments, and there is generally a cap (usually between $3 and $6) on the amount that can be taken on any given hand. In the percentage scenario, the rake description might read something like: 10% rake, $5 max.

The other way of collecting for the house is called “time collection.” In the time collection method, no rake is ever taken from the pot. Instead, each player is charged a fee for the right to play for a predetermined period of time, usually 30 minutes. Most commonly, time collection is taken on the hour and half past, and runs between $8 and $12 for 30 minutes of play, with higher games often having a slightly higher collection rate than lower games. This sum is collected from every player, by the dealer, and dropped all at once.

Increasingly, casinos have viewed the “per hand” collection method as superior and the “time” collection method as inferior. In fact, many casinos have abandoned time collection all together, in favor of per hand collection. There are several reasons for this. First of all it is more efficient. In the per hand collection method the dealer can take the drop while the hand is in play. With time collection, the game stops for a minute or two while rent is collected from all players. In addition to the efficiency problems with time collection, some players may attempt to avoid paying time altogether. Players who are new to the game are often allowed to pay at a reduced rate or are not required to pay until the next collection. Some players may claim to be new players when they are not, or they may try time their arrival a hand or two after collections are taken. Players may also use the call for “collections up,” as an excuse to leave for the day rather than pay for another half hour. To avoid all of this, casinos are increasingly employing the per hand collection method.

Rake in poker tournaments is taken in the form of an entry free.

Usage: Collections Up, Time Collection, Collect the Time, Per Hand Collection, Flop And Drop Collection, Can't Beat the Rake, Rakeback, Rake Back

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