The House always wins

It’s not a zero sum game and I knew that. It’s just not something I’d paid much attention to, I knew it was happening but only vaguely.

Our first hand in a duel. I have 5,000 chips and 2259750 has 5,195. Total chips= 10,195 between us.

We play 82 hands and go back and forth, 2259750 holds the lead until the very end where it’s basically a tie.

The last hand. Now I have 4,816 chips and 2259750 has 4,623. Total chips= 9,439 between us.

So, in essence, I won (marginally) against 2259750 while still losing. I’m not complaining. It was just interesting to have it illustrated so clearly.

It’s better to be the house than the player. Not as exciting maybe but it sure is steady income.


Welcome to rake! Its actually a lot lower here than it is for cash. At really low stakes for cash, most people cannot stay ahead of rake and that’s why most people lose in the long term. The thing about rake is that it is highest on the lowest stakes, here and elsewhere. The people playing for the lowest amounts of money/chips pay the highest percentage of their pots to the house. Its like a big regressive tax on the people least able to afford it.


I’ve never gambled in a casino. Ok, I once put $5 into a one armed bandit on a whim and made $20 but that’s it. My real world poker playing is strictly nickel-quarter at kitchen tables with friends. The casino’s ‘rake’ is just like the broker’s fees in the stock market. Got it.


The house rake is one of the reasons to sometimes not call a big all in bet if you think you’ll tie or split the pot evenly. It’s bad enough to get quartered at high-low, but to also have the rake deducted? Hair-pulling time!


Its also a factor in preflop play. First, a large rake, punishes players from calling too wide just to see flops. If you are giving up 10% off the bat, you just can’t speculate like players do here and expect to be profitable. The second way it factors in is with the “no flop no drop” policy seen many places. This results in both tighter calling ranges but also in higher 3 and 4-bet frequencies. If you can take the pot before the flop, then no rake is deducted. This higher the rake, the more prevalent this strategy.

Rake is an interesting factor in poker. I would love to see it increased at higher stakes here for many reasons. How it would affect preflop play is an important one, Do you think the players here would still want to see 75% of pots with really weak hands if they were paying any sort of realistic rake at all? It doesn’t matter when the rake is capped at a fraction of 1% but it would have an effect on players habits if it was somewhat realistic - or it would start to eat at their bankrolls. Either way, a good reflection of actual poker.