Another day, another rake increase hits the online poker world. Today, Ignition poker, on the Bodog Network, announces rake increases of up to 33 percent!
The fourth largest online poker network in the world, and the largest US poker site, Bodog Network and Ignition Poker respectively, announced rake increases that will take effect starting in 2017. This announcement was made via email today, December 9, 2016, to both players from Canada on Bodog.eu and players from the USA, playing on Ignitioncasino.eu. Per the email sent to players, here is the new rake schedule:
Rake will be collected at $0.01 for every $0.20 in the pot, instead of the previous $0.05 per $1.00 Max rake will be moving on Heads-Up Tables from $0.50 to $1.00 Max rake will be moving on Pot Limit and No Limit tables at stakes higher than $0.10/$0.25 from $3 to $4 The below tables are effective as of Dec 13, 2016.
Heads-Up Tables (only applies to 1-on-1 tables, not heads up play at tables that seat more players) Stakes/Limit Rake per Pot Max Rake All $0.01 for each $0.20 in pot $1.00
Fixed Limit (FL) Stakes up to and including $1 / $2 Stakes/Limit Rake per Pot Max Rake $0.05/$0.10 $0.01 for each $0.20 in pot $0.10 $0.10/$0.25 $0.01 for each $0.20 in pot $0.20 $0.25/$0.50 $0.01 for each $0.20 in pot $0.40 $0.50/$1.00 $0.01 for each $0.20 in pot $0.50 $1.00/$2.00 $0.01 for each $0.20 in pot $1.00
Stakes higher than $1 / $2, up to and including $30 / $60 Number of Players $0.20 pot Max Rake 2-3 $0.01 $1.00 4-5 $0.01 $2.00 6+ $0.01 $3.00
Pot Limit (PL) and No Limit (NL) Stakes up to and including $0.10/$0.25 Number of Players Rake per Pot Max Rake 2 $0.01 for each $0.20 in the pot $0.50 3-4 $0.01 for each $0.20 in the pot $1.00 5+ $0.01 for each $0.20 in the pot $2.00
Stakes higher than $0.10/$0.25, up to and including $10 / $20 Number of Players Rake per Pot Max Rake 2 $0.01 for each $0.20 in Pot $1.00 3 $0.01 for each $0.20 in Pot $2.00 4-5 $0.01 for each $0.20 in Pot $3.00 6 $0.01 for each $0.20 in Pot $4.00
The changes will not affect all players, nor will it affect all players equally. Lets take a look at what has changed, for whom it has changed, and what one can expect with regard to the increasing price of poker.
Rake, prior to this increase, was collected on a scale of 5 cents per $1.00 in rake. Now, rake will be collected in smaller increments over smaller pot sizes, at a rate of one penny per $0.20 of rake. While this is the same 5% ratio, it means that smaller pots will be eligible for a rake drop, where as in the prior system, they were not. For example, in 25NL, let us say that player A in the small blind open completes, and player B in the big blind checks. Both players will see a flop, with $0.48 in the pot as $0.02 will be raked immediately. Let us next assume that player A bets pot for $0.50 and player B calls for a total pot of $1.50. On the turn, player A bets $0.45 and player B folds. Final pot size pushed to player A will be $1.86 ($0.25+$0.25+$0.50+$0.00+$0.45 minus $0.09 in rake).
Under the previous system, a pot size of $1.95 (before rake) would not have triggered a second $0.05 of rake and thus, the amount pushed to the winner of the hand, player A, would have been $1.90. Four cents may not seem like much, but over time, this adds up to a non-trivial amount of extra rake, especially to lower stakes players whom it will disproportionately affect.
Rake, prior to this increase, was capped at a maximum of $3.00 per pot, a standard rate followed by the majority of real money US poker sites. With a 5% rake scale, this means that any pot that reached a size greater than $60 would have reached the maximum amount of rake charged, and would incur no further fees. Per the new rake schedule, maximum rake is increasing to $4.00 per hand at 50NL tables through 2000NL tables (all stakes above 25NL).
What this means is that in order to cap the rake, pot size will need to exceed $80 per hand. For players on the upper end of the spectrum, such as $400NL games and above who regularly reach $80+ pot sizes, this will mean a rake increase of up to 33% above previous rates! For players on the lower end, at 50NL, it is far less common to see $80 pot sizes, as to reach such a number, it would require two full stacks virtually being all in. Since this happens infrequently, the difference will only be felt on a small percentage of hands, less than 10%. Where this max rake increase will smack the hardest is for players who play 100NL-400NL where average pot sizes are considerably more likely to fall into or exceed the $60-$80 level. Regulars in these games will see a very noticeable increase in rake charges, as expressed in bb/100.
Heads up players will also feel the pain of this new policy change. In the prior system, rake in a two player game was capped at $0.50 per hand. Under the new structure, that will double to $1.00 per hand maximum. This does not apply to six max or full ring tables however. It may behoove heads up players to begin starting ring games in order to get in more volume at cheaper prices.
These new changes are raising the price of poker. As some of you may be aware, online poker is the often unwanted bastard child of online gambling. The margins for online poker, as far as operators are concerned, are pitiful when compared to sports book and casino margins. Adding to that , poker players tend to withdraw much more frequently than sports and casino players. Given that processing costs, especially for offshore sites that service US players, it is no surprise to us that we would see an increase in Ignition's rake.
An increase in the price of rake is not unheard of either. Another US site, before seemingly shuttering its doors in October, had raised the rake on its higher stakes games from a $3 cap to a $5 cap. PokerStars, the largest poker site in the world, has raised rake on players numerous times since Amaya took over and began pushing the company into an all forms of gambling model as opposed to a poker only site. Now that the largest site in the world, PokerStars, and the largest site in the American market, Ignition, have raised rake, we expect others to follow. Do not be surprised if sites like America's Cardroom, BetOnline, Intertops, or Grand Poker follow suit and raise their rake in the future. However, for the time being, the aforementioned sites all cap rake at $3.00 per hand. For a comparison of rake schedules at various US poker sites, please check out our US Poker Rake Comparison Guide. As always, Professional Rakeback does our best to provide our players with the maximum amount of rewards allowed in order to mitigate the detrimental effects of rake on your winrate. Check out all of our rakeback deals if you are in the market for a new poker site!
Luckily, for players, Ignition Casino's poker site is one of the softest poker sites in the world. So while your winrate may be decreasing due to the rake changes, it will likely still be higher than it could be at many other sites. This mainly due to all of the Sports bettors that Bodog and Bodog88 bring in from Canada and China respectively. Furthermore, Ignition itself brings in an incredibly large amount of casino bettors who like to punt off stacks at the online felt when they run hot. In the short-term however, if you are a winning player on Ignition, your winrate will likely fall. In the medium to long-term, things will likely equalize somewhat. Rake increases have taken place before on other sites and what tends to happen is that marginal winners are squeezed out and/or quit playing. The recreational fish don't seem to care one way or the other what the rake is, assuming they even know that rake exists in the first place! The solid winning players will soak up more money once some of the marginal winners become losing players or leave the site, and things will continue as they always have.
Early estimates of these rake changes are negative, but not insurmountable. Some cash game players will see virtually no changes. Others, such as heads up players who play exclusively on two man tables, may see up to a 100% increase in rake. But for the majority of players, this will be an additional rake tax of between 5-12%. Not something we want to see, but not something that will cause too many people to cease making a solid income grinding Ignition's tables. Good luck to you all, and play well!