How Much Does Rakeback Increase the Online Poker Player’s Win-Rate?

The amount of poker players that are interested in rakeback has increased by such large amounts over the last two years that there are now multiple poker web sites and poker forums that are solely dedicated to the subject of rakeback. With all of the information that is available on the subject, it is surprising how many poker players do not understand the fundamental theories behind rakeback and the positive effects it will have on their bankroll. Using examples of the winning, break-even, and even the losing player, the purpose here is to show that no matter what limits of poker one is playing online, that the effect rakeback will have on their bankroll will prove to be positive.

The terms ‘winning poker player’, ‘break-even poker player’, and ‘losing poker player’ need to be given some sort of definition. For our purposes here, we will assume that the winning poker player wins 2 big bets per hundred hands (‘big bets per hundred hands’ will be denoted as ‘bb/100 hands), the break-even poker player wins at 0 bb/100 hands, and the losing poker player wins at -1 bb/100 hands. As will become apparent, the actual limits being played is not important for our purposes , but in order for the explanation to be understood abstractly and conceptually, a $3-$6 game is going to be used as an example throughout the rest of the article. Using the definition of a winning player from above, the $3-$6 player will win $12 (2 bb) every 100 hands. The L will win -$6 every 100 hands. The bb/100 hands is not taking rakeback into consideration.

The average $3/$6 10 handed game will have a pot that is raked $2.00 (it is a little bit more, but for our purposes here, $2.00 will be an easier number to work with). This means that each player contributed $0.20 to the rake. The player will receive 35% of that $2.00 back for a $0.07 refund.
To clarify, the Monthly Gross Rake (MGR) is calculated by dividing the amount of players dealt in the hand, by the amount of total rake taken from the pot (10 players / $2 = $.020). To figure the rakeback monetary amount received per hand, multiply rakeback percentage by the MGR per hand ($0.35 * $0.20 = $0.07). Then multiply the rakeback per hand by 100 to see how how much rakeback will be earned per 100 hands ($.07 * 100 hands = $7.00).

With the $7.00 per 100 hands, the winning $3/$6 poker player earns 150% of her winrate, the breakeven player now shows a $7.00/per 100 hands win/rate and the losing player will be slightly better than break-even (provided that he doesn’t lose more than $6 per hour). If a player plays two tables at a time, they will be able to play approximately 150 hands an hour. This means that the winning player of 2bb/100 will win $28.50 on average for every hour she plays. Rakeback will have made up $10.50 of her poker winnings.

The above examples are using very specific definitions of ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ poker players and also only takes $3-$6 limit hold-em into consideration. Using the above, one can easily deduce how much rakeback they will earn every 100 hands. Even players that are winning players at lower limits will earn a decent percentage of a bb/100 hands even if they don’t win at a rate of 2bb/100. A losing poker player of more than 1bb/100 hands, will still benefit from receiving rakeback at any limits.

As long as the formulas above are used, it will be close to impossible to show that rakeback is not worth receiving if there is any significant amount of hands played in a month. Since poker players are always looking for an edge, turning down an obviously large rebate that will be received monthly (and sometimes daily) is a mistake that will not take long to show itself.

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