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Rakeback

All savvy poker players know about the advantages online poker offers over traditional live poker. There are numerous edges, but some of the most prominent ones are the benefits provided by sign-up bonuses and rakeback. In order that you should truly understand how rakeback works and what its advantages are, we'll run a comparison between first deposit bonuses and rakeback deals.

Whenever a rookie signs up for a nice bonus deal, he figures he's going to get free cash to play with. Money upfront however, is something very few poker rooms offer.

Bonuses usually work like this: you get the 100% (or whatever) match on your first deposit and you get the cash transferred to your bonus account. In order to actually be able to use that cash, you need to unlock (redeem) it by generating rake, using the money that you have deposited. Again: you'll be using your own money to get to your bonus. You only get it transferred into your real money account when you'll have fulfilled the rake requirements.

Despite that, the deal is still an extremely good one. What it really means is that during your struggles to unlock your bonus you play with reduced rake, since you know you'll be getting your bonus eventually. The rake that you generate during this period is much more than the bonus you're unlocking, so basically, you'll be getting a part of the rake you pay back at the end of the redemption period.

This means that sign-up or first deposit bonuses are in fact a form of rakeback as they are. Why don't we call bonuses rakeback deals then? Because there are a few significant differences between the two, and all these differences are in favor of the rakeback deals.

  1. Difference no. 1
    After the bonus is unlocked and it hits your real-money account, you'll no longer enjoy reduced rake. A rakeback deal on the other hand, never expires. You play with reduced rake all the time.
  2. Difference no. 2
    Bonuses have all sorts of special terms attached to them. Rakeback deals usually have none. Such special terms can be: the validity period of the bonus. If they're not unlocked in a given time, bonuses expire and players lose them. The rake requirements for the unlocking of bonuses can be much steeper than in the case of a - let's say - 30% flat rakeback.

Some bonuses can only be unlocked in one lump sum which makes it more difficult for players to get their hands on at least some of the bonus if they're unable to fulfill the requirements in the given period of time.

Flat rakeback is usually a very simple setup: if the site says it'll give you 30% of your rake back, than that's what you get, without validity periods, without pressure on you, without any other strings attached. In order to understand though what it really means to get 30-50% rakeback, you need to understand what the rake is, because - at the end of the day - that's what it all comes down to, both for the poker player and the poker room.

The rake is the share the poker room takes off every real money pot played at its tables. That's how a poker room makes its money, and that's what drives the online poker industry. Rakeback means that you'll be getting 30-50% of the rake you help generate back.

When it comes to rakeback, it is important to know what rake calculation method the poker room uses. Dealt rake gives credit for some of the rake generated on a hand for all players who are dealt in. If you're a rock, dealt rake will make sure you generate rake even as you merely hang around waiting for something to act on. That will also mean you'll be earning money on every hand you are dealt in.

Contributed rake takes into account how much each player contributes to the raked pot. As a rock, you won't make much money here, but it'll be much more rewarding to act aggressively and play many hands. Be careful not to let this consideration interfere with your advanced poker strategy though.

Now that you understand what rakeback is and how it works, you probably also understand why you should never play a hand without rakeback again.

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Did You Know?

Patrik Antonius and "Isildur1" broke the record for the biggest pot in online poker history on a single hand when Full Tilt poker was still open.