Taking a Rake Poker Meaning & Why It’s Illegal

Poker, a riveting game of skill and strategy, is widely popular in both brick-and-mortar and online UK casinos

One critical aspect of the game that often eludes the grasp of many players is the concept of the ‘rake’. So, what is taking a rake in poker? And why is it sometimes referred to as illegal? Let’s delve into these intricate questions.

What Is Taking a Rake In Poker?

In the world of poker, a ‘rake’ refers to the commission or fee that a casino or poker room charges from players. This commission is typically a small percentage of the pot, usually within the range of 5-10%, respectively.

For instance, in an online poker game, the dealer (virtual) is the one generally responsible for collecting the rake. The collected rake is then used by the casino or poker venue to cover various operational costs such as dealer salaries, chip purchases, and maintenance of the poker room.

Interestingly, the rake is typically collected not from the blinds, but from the pots that a player has won. Some casinos opt to take the rake via the cash pot, while others may do so via tournament buy-ins.

Why Do Casinos Take a Rake In Poker?

Casinos operate as businesses, and like any other business, they need revenue to sustain their operations. In poker, the casino isn’t a player, but merely a facilitator, providing the venue and the dealer for the players. Therefore, they don’t stand to win or lose based on the outcome of the game.

Thus, the rake serves as a source of income for the casino, enabling it to profit from every poker game it hosts. It’s essentially a service fee charged by the casino for providing the players with the platform to play poker.

Is Taking a Rake In Poker Illegal?

The legality of taking a rake in poker isn’t clear-cut. It varies significantly depending on the jurisdiction, the location of the game, and the specific laws and regulations in place.

In many countries and states, rakes are perfectly legal. However, there are jurisdictions where laws prohibit casinos from taking rakes in poker games, while others regulate the maximum amount they can take.

For instance, in the UK, it’s illegal to take a rake if you’re hosting a private poker game without a gambling licence. This is because it’s viewed as a form of gambling, and therefore, it would be deemed illegal because it’s unregulated.

It’s also important to note that operating poker games in an illegal location can make the taking of a rake unlawful. Therefore, it’s safe to say that taking a rake isn’t inherently illegal – it highly depends on the circumstances.

What Is No Rake Poker?

No rake poker refers to poker games where the casino or poker room doesn’t charge any rake. 

These games can often be found in online casinos. The reason why many casinos can afford to offer no-rake poker games is that they have other profit-making games like slots, blackjack, and roulette that contribute to their revenue.

However, it’s important to note that no-rake poker games are not commonplace. Most casinos, both online and physical, do charge a rake for their poker games.

What Is The Difference Between a Drop and a Rake?

While a rake is a commission taken from the pot by the casino or poker room, a ‘drop’ refers to the money taken by the house before the pot is awarded to the winner.

In most casinos, the dealer takes the rake before awarding the pot to the winner. The dealer typically announces the rake amount before taking it so all players are aware. It can be collected through a ‘dead drop box’, tournament buy-in or time collection, and is often kept separate from the pot.

On the other hand, a drop is collected before the game. The money dropped is not part of the bets made by the players. It’s a fee collected by the house for hosting the game.

Overall, understanding the meaning and implications of a rake in poker is crucial for every poker player. While the rake might seem like a small amount, it can accumulate over time and significantly impact any overall winnings. 

It may be best to check the rake schedule of your preferred poker room and compare it with others before deciding to play. And remember – always gamble responsibly.

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