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- Poker rooms vs. Players: Rake increase at the tables
Poker rooms vs. Players: Rake increase at the tables
Several poker sites decided to increase the rake (commission) on their tables in the first months of 2023. In this article, we share all the details.
A long way to being the most expensive room
The rake is the commission poker players pay at the tables to the operator organizing the game. It is usually one of the most critical indicators for professionals because the lower the rake, the “easier” it will be to beat a certain level, and vice versa, a very high rake will make even the best player unable to come out positive at the end of the month, even having the best rakeback deal.
In just three months of 2023, three of the best poker rooms increased their commissions on cash games. Let's see the detail.
CoinPoker: more rake in exchange for more rakeback
For a long time, CoinPoker had a 4%rake, below the industry standard of 5%. However, with the happy announcement that now all players will receive more, rakeback came the news that everyone would pay more rake at the tables.
Now on CoinPoker, players pay a 5% rake with caps up to 3.5BB.
New promotions accompanied this announcement:
- Players will receive 33% instead of 30% directly in the room
- Rake races have a higher prize pool (over $3k/week)
- 100% welcome bonus up to $1,100
We consider that CoinPoker continues to have one of the fairest commissions in the industry.
GGPoker: More rake is better?
We also noticed a significant change in the GGPoker high-stakes tables. If before the regulars complained that the rake in this room was unbeatable, with the new structure, it certainly will be:
The rake cap on the VIP tables was doubled and will now be up to 1BB. On an NL5k table (one of the most popular levels), the maximum rake went from $25 to $50.
Update April 16, 2023: After a 2-week boycott organized by the high-stakes community, GGPoker decided to rollback its rake structure at HS games (NL5k+). The cap is now 0.1BB ($100 at NL100k) to 0.55BB ($27.50 at NL5k).
According to many pros, this rake is still pretty high but has shown to be sustainable thanks to the softness of the games.
Playing NL5k on GGPoker remains more expensive than on the Winning Poker Network, and similar to iPoker with a €25 rake cap and WPT Global with $30. Remember that the GGNetwork is one of the few sites still charging preflop rake.
Chico Poker: new promotions and new rake
In March, the Chico Poker Network decided to increase the rake on all limits up to 6.25%. The cap is also higher, except for NL10. Along with this announcement, new promotions were added, including a Bad Beat Jackpot and renewed races, which are unlikely to compensate for the increase in commissions.
The change was accompanied by a remarkable message on the website: “From March 1, 2023, TigerGaming reserves the right to change the rake structure at any time.”
Update June 2, 2023: Chico reversed almost all the changes in the rake structure: caps were lowered and the percentage returned to 5.56%, except for NL10 and NL25.
While the rake is slightly higher than the 5% standard, other sites also have similar structures.
What is the reason for the rake increase?
Of course, we do not have a direct explanation for this, and we can only limit ourselves to speculating about what motivates these changes. Despite the complaints of regulars, most casual players (the preferred ones of the rooms) are not aware of the paid rake, and their gaming decision depends more on the availability of traffic, reliability of the room, and deposit methods, among others.
Then, apparently, the rooms prefer to charge higher commissions to offer better promotions for their player base, indirectly affecting professionals who consider the rake a crucial indicator.
Some industry personalities have also spoken out on this issue. Phil Galfond, for example, doesn't support the higher rake because it is against his ideal of "preserving the dream of being an online pro,” considering that even if the rake increase is successful in the short term, it could discourage future generations from playing because it would be clear that games cannot be beaten.
Alex Scott, WPT Global Manager, considers the relationship between rake and the quality of the games to be very important. According to Scott, the high rake tends to improve the quality of the games because it pushes the “nits” away, which results in higher win rates, indicating that the challenge is to find the point at which the rake and the win rate are maximized.
More rake is not better, but it is clearly the trend of the industry in 2023.
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