Poker would be a zero sum game if it were not for the rake. Rake of course being the fee that online poker rooms charge players to play their games. The fees in the poker industry are far from standardized. Many poker rooms sneak in a little raise in rates here, or offer a small discount in rake there, all in an effort to boost certain games, stakes, or satisfy certain segments of the market.
As edges become thinner in the poker world due to the proliferation of knowledge and readily available training materials, the need to find a way to increase your win rate becomes vitally important. One of the most obvious ways is to choose a site that takes the least amount of money out of every pot, the lowest raked poker sites, and thus allows you to use your skill to take the most from other players at the table. The challenging part though is figuring out what site takes the least from each pot and how it compares with other sites that are available to US based players.
ProfessionalRakeback.com knows that you'd rather be playing poker than scouring every possible available poker website for information and thus we are here to help you in that quest with this easy to decipher rake comparison chart. These tables and charts focus on the main of the US friendly online poker networks, namely : Equity Poker Network, Winning Poker Network, Revolution Gaming Network and Chico Gaming Network. When looking at the numbers we are just going to consider the raw data, and will talk about mitigating factors such as bonuses, rakeback and other money-added value at the end. - This article is accurate as of December 2015.
The micro stakes is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to finding the most profitable site in terms of rake considerations. At the lowest level EPN puts a huge burden on players with a 10% rake and fairly high caps. This changes pretty quickly, but it makes depositing a very small amount on there more difficult and a major consideration for players. 10nl and 25nl though on EPN is just as competitive as other places in rake percentage, but does have higher caps in most instances. Winning Poker Network has the best rake structure available to players, especially at shorthanded tables. The low rake percentage and low rake cap make starting, and continuing tables, less of a burden for players meaning game starting is more common and allows players to get in good volume. Playing on 5Dimes or SportBet can add a bit of extra value as players will have access to not only Winning Poker Network, but also Grand Poker Network, which is a new addition to the online poker market.
Chico Network and Revolution Network both have higher than average rake rates at all 3 of the observed micro stakes levels. Revolution Network has the highest percentage taken with fairly high caps. Chico has a higher rate and cap than average, but does fall below Revolution Network. I would suggest reading the addendum at the bottom of the article to compare value-added promotions for these sites, as this strict comparison doesn’t tell the whole story, especially with Revolution Network.
Play at the least raked micro stakes sites by clearing your web browser's cookies and clicking here for: any of our Winning Poker Network partners (America's Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, 5Dimes, SportBet, True Poker, PokerHost)
These are the levels that you notice things start to get a bit more homogenous and caps become a much larger part of the equation. Equity Poker Network, Winning Poker Network and Revolution Network all have 5% rake percentages. This is a huge gain for Revolution Network and makes them just as competitive as everyone else. Equity Poker Network has some of the highest caps, especially when the tables get full, though this is very much offset if you are clearing a deposit or reload bonus or if you are on 35% rakeback. Winning Poker Network offers the lowest caps and continues to offer the lowest percentages. This makes climbing the ranks a bit easier in some ways, because you don’t have to change sites, if you don’t want, to continue getting to higher stakes.
Chico Network is the only site that have a different rate as this level. Their rate is about 0.5% higher than the rest, which isn’t extreme but is noticeable over a decent sample of hands. The caps are a mixed bag. It’s another situation where you need to take outside considerations into effect if you want to play on one of the higher raked sites.
Play at the smallest raked small stakes sites by clearing your web browser's cookies and clicking here for: any of our Winning Poker Network partners (America's Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, 5Dimes, SportBet, True Poker, PokerHost)
This is the level where rake might start to matter a little less to some players and game selection, or even availability starts to become a factor. Chico Network has the highest rake for US-friendly sites. The caps don't make this any easier to swallow with them being at about the same or higher than most other sites on the list. It is important to note though that these games can be softer as there is a large sportsbook attached (with a very active customer base) to Chico Poker Network, making it easier for the site to cross promote and funnel players.
Winning Poker Network, Equity Poker Network and Revolution Poker Network all have 5% rake and the only difference is really the caps. WPN has the lowest caps on almost all of their games. Equity Poker Network has the highest rake unless the table is full. This is caused by their insistence of having a $3 cap on every table, no matter what. As a result, there heads up and 3-player caps are nearly twice or 3 times that of most sites, and even 6 times higher than industry leaders in some instances. Revolution Network fits between all of those sites, with nothing spectacular, but nothing consistently bad either.
Play at the lowest raked mid stakes sites by clearing your web browser's cookies and clicking here for: any of our Winning Poker Network partners (America's Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, 5Dimes, SportBet, True Poker, PokerHost)
High Stakes game start to get kind of interesting, because not all sites offer them, and some sites that do offer the games simply don’t get traffic. Winning Poker Network has games up to $5k ($25/$50) and has a pretty competitive rake rates, its caps are the highest among the sites that consistently have higher stakes games run, unless you are at a full table. Chico Network, which offers up to $1k ($5/$10) has higher rake, but competitive caps. Equity Poker Network and Revolution Network offer games, but do not have them run on a consistent basis. With many pots reaching the cap at this level, having a better rake rate can be exceptionally important as the smaller pots that don’t reach the cap will start making some of the major differences in how much rake you pay to a site or network.
Chico Poker Network: Chico Network is a bit of a mixed bag, but does offer an amazing initial deposit bonus that makes it fairly competitive with a lot of sites. They offer a 200% bonus up to $2,500! Our review breaks down the clearance rates for that bonus, as it is different depending on what stage you are on. Chico Network also occasionally offers reload bonuses that are quite lucrative. There is also a bad beat jackpot and 4 of a kind challenge to help supplement the rake taken by the network. Sign up for a new account and bonus using this BetOnline link or this Sportsbetting signup link.
Equity Poker Network: Equity Poker Network has one of the more unique ways of doing deposit and reload bonuses. They offer a fairly good 150% up to $1,500 on first deposits and then 50% up to $750 on reload every month, but they also offer instant cash back when you make qualifying deposits on either bonus. This money is added directly to your account and is on top of whatever clearable bonus you have. So the effective rates are higher than 150% and 50% and in reality can come much closer to 200% and 80%. These bonuses also clear at a 50% rate, which is very player friendly. Without those bonuses though, there isn’t much for rakeback as points can only be converted to cash at a 5% rate. Sign up for Full Flush Poker and enter bonus code PROFRBFFP for the maximum deposit bonus.
Revolution Poker Network: Revolution Network offers an average deposit bonus at 200% up to only $1,000, that also clears at a very good rate. If you have the industry best 36% rakeback (that is dispersed using the dealt method) then it clears at roughly 27%, and if you are on the VIP system clearance rates can exceed 50%. There is also four weekly rake races for players, as well as a monthly prize for the site's top performer with a total distributed prize pool of $20,000. With rakeback, the deposit and reload bonuses, and a rake race it’s a very profitable place to play. Sign up here for Juicy Stakes 36% weekly rakeback or Intertops 36% daily RB.
Winning Poker Network: There is a flat 27% rakeback offered on many of the skins on Winning Poker Network. This is optimal for lower stakes players. Higher stakes players can look into the Elite Benefits rewards program where players can earn up to 70% rakeback on an annual basis. In addition to rakeback and VIP rewards, there is also a weekly cash game rake race called “The Beast” that rewards around $4,200 to first place as well as a weekly SNG rake called "Sit and Crush" which awards approximately $650 to first place. WPN also offers an initial deposit bonus of 100% up to $1,000 and frequently has reload bonus that range in value from 50% to 200% all of which clear at 20% effective rakeback. Sign up for 27% flat rakeback at our WPN partner sites by clicking these links: PokerHost, America's Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, 5Dimes, SportBet, and True Poker. (please note that links above in the article text are Elite Benefits VIP signup links and if you want flat rakeback, then try our WPN rakeback comparison)
Everything is a bit of mixed bag and individual promotions and game softness need to be taken strongly into consideration when choosing a poker site. If you are basing your decision on what site to play at solely based off of the effective rake taken from each pot then Winning Poker Network is very competitive at all levels, with Winning Poker Network's VIP program offering the majority of the lowest rake levels to players. Revolution Network enters that conversation as well when you get past micro stakes limits as it has the same rake rate as WPN but slightly higher rakeback percentages with reportedly soft games.
When taking rakeback and bonuses into the consideration things get more complicated once again. Bodog begins to fall behind as Winning Poker Network and Revolution Network close that gap significantly more. Chico Network could be good for players in certain situations as well. Rakeback is very hard to talk about in some ways as well though as each player is different and because of that we would encourage you to Skype us for a personal consultation so we can most appropriately guide you to what Internet poker sites would work best for your particular playing habits.
We hope that this guide has been useful to you and we encourage you to share it with anyone and everyone you know! Sharing is caring, please use the like button and post this in forums when people ask about rake :)