Effects of the Rake or Time Charge on
your Bottom Line
Dave in Cali
is no simple formula that will give you
an exact figure of a game's profitability
in relation to the rake or time charges.
There are some things to consider however,
that should allow you to make an educated
decision on whether to play in a given
game. You must consider the cost and how
it is collected from the players, as well
as the players and how much of a favorite
to beat them that you are. Also, you must
consider the action at the table and average
pot size in relation to the charge and
how it is collected.
First off, time charges are going to be
better than rakes in most cases, but possibly
not all (if the time was really high this
might not be true). I have never seen
a game with a time charge that I wished
had a rake, in my experience it is always
cheaper to pay time than rake. I play
low limits in a casino where the time
charge on 3-6 kill Holdem is 3$/half hour.
That is a fantastic deal and is the lowest
cost I have seen anywhere. On 4-8 kill
the time is 4$/half hour. That is still
well within the limits of beatability,
and it is still cheaper than most raked
games by a significant margin. The 8-16
game also has a 4$/half time charge, making
it the best deal in the house, costing
you only 1 small bet per hour. Not too
shabby. This is the primary reason why
I play almost exclusively in this cardroom,
the other choices I have are all dropped
games and are considerably more expensive.
Time charges hurt all players equally
whether they are loose or tight.
the game is raked, you are probably paying
quite a bit more than if it's by time.
Atlantic city has a 10% to 4$ max in increments
of 1$ rake on most games below 10-20 limits.
That is pretty expensive, but the games
are typically good enough that you can
still beat them quite nicely if you are
reasonably tight and play well. When the
max is 5$ or higher, you are getting pretty
much ripped off by greedy casinos, IMO.
This is not to suggest that AC casinos
are NOT greedy, their rake is borderline
on the highest rake I would be willing
to play in, assuming I had a choice in
the matter. When I lived there however,
there was no choice (I believe Foxwoods
was MORE expensive, but I am not positive
the game is DROPPED, you are paying even
more than if you are paying rake. There
are two types of drops, "drop on the flop",
and "dead drop".
on the flop can implies that the drop
is taken out only if there is a flop,
thus making it possible to steal the blinds
without paying the drop. There is also
another type of drop where you post an
additional blind on the button and it
counts toward your bet. This type of drop
is also taken by the house only if there
is a flop. Drops like this are more expensive
than rakes because the maximum is always
taken regardless of pot size. Rakes may
be less than the max in small pots. Drops
are always the max. Rakes and drops on
the flop hurt bad players more than good
ones because bad players play more pots
and therefore pay the rake more often
than good players do.
drops are considerably worse than drops
on the flop. This is where you post a
blind on the button, usually 3$, and it
is immediately taken by the house, before
the cards are dealt, and this charge does
NOT count towards your bet. Therefore
you ALWAYS pay the drop out of your stack
EVERY time you are the button. This is
pure thievery, the epitome of pure greed.
Cardrooms that have dead drops have no
concern for the players or their own repeat
business, they simply leech off the unsuspecting,
knowing that the lack of any competition
will force the poker consumer to pay or
don't play. They do not care that they
could make a decent profit and not be
so greedy, it is only about taking the
maximum from the unsuspecting. Unfortunately,
in some places, like LA, there are so
many people wanting to play poker, willing
to play at any cost, that they can simply
get away with it. Knowledgeable players
can either pay the tremendous cost, or
go elsewhere (which may be a very long
distance away). Dead drops hurt all players
equally because you DEFINITELY pay the
drop every round.
you think about it, it should be obvious
why time is better than rake, and rake
is better than drop on the flop, which
is better than dead drop. IMO, I would
never play in a dead dropped game, no
matter how good the game, because I just
couldn't stand to pay that much, and the
game would be so hard to beat that it
wouldn't be worth my effort.
considering if a game is beatable, you
need to see how loose it is and how well
the players play. Tight games are harder
to beat in the first place, but if the
game is tight, now you are winning smaller
pots on the average, and your are paying
proportionately more time or rake than
if the game was loose. Tight games with
drops or high rakes should be avoided
like the plague. They are UNBEATABLE.
I saw a low limit game in AC where all
the players played fairly well and there
were no loose players. After 3 hours,
my friend asked around the table who was
winning. No one. That should say it all.
In tight games, the pots are small and
the rake is almost always the maximum
in percentage. What I mean by this is
that if they charge 10% to 4$, and the
pot never goes above 40$, they are always
charging 10%. If the pots average 80$
with the same rake, they are taking an
average of 5%, which is much better. Loose
games with poor players and larger pots
are easier to beat in the first place,
plus the charges are proportionately lower.
Look for loose games. That is generalized
advice that is one of the two most important
skills as far as making money in poker
(the other is reading hands).
If the game has a jackpot, that means
additional money is being dropped out
of every pot. This hurts you the same
as if it was a rake or drop. I understand
that the money "theoretically" goes back
to the players, but face it, your odds
of hitting a jackpot, or ever seeing that
money again, are not good. I basically
consider it to be history once it's dropped.
Jackpot games are not good for poker,
IMO. Others share this opinion, but some
disagree. For the serious player, jackpot
drops do hurt your bottom line though,
as you will be overall less likely to
hit a jackpot anyway, because you play
tighter and don't foolishly chase jackpots.
casino should lower the rake or time for
short handed games (and most do). If they
do not, you are suffering much worse when
playing short handed. If they do not,
they are being excessively greedy and
I would point this out to the manager
just before telling him I would not play
there any more because of their policies.
rake or time must be evaluated as part
of the overall quality of the game. A
game with extremely bad players may be
quite beatable even if the rake is high.
Conversely, a fairly tight game could
be beatable if the rake or time charge
is really low. Understanding how the house
charges the players to be in the game
and its effect on your bottom line is
one more aspect of poker that you must
understand in order to become a winner.
© Dave in Cali 2001,
all rights reserved