Poker is different than other online games in the sense that players don’t play against the house, and the winnings come from the other players, instead of the casino or website. You play against your opponents, and the website usually offers a dealer but has no vested interest in the outcome of the game. So one would wonder how casinos make money from poker? Read on to learn more.
- How Casinos Make Money on Poker
The main way that casinos and online poker rooms make money is by something called “rake”, and this refers to a percentage of money that the casino takes from a cash game. You can think of it as a tax that online casinos take when they facilitate poker games. So how does it work?
The average player probably doesn’t think about how the casino stands to gain, they just sit down and play a card game, planning to win against their opponents. Any type of cash game, whether its PLO or No-Limit, the casino will take the rake out of the pot before they hand over the winnings. There tends to be a set of rules determining how much percentage the casino takes from the pot, or the maximum cap, but this is based on the individual casino rules.
- Poker Basics
Are you wondering how online poker works? It can be a bit different from physical casinos for a number of reasons. For starters, when playing live poker, you can walk in a casino, pick a game and sign down where they have an empty chair. It’s also very clear who owns the poker rooms, and if you ask around, you will find out if the poker room is legit and who licensed it.
Things are different in an online poker room. Everything is done behind computers and firewalls; and although you can play the game without knowing everything about the poker room, as a player, you will feel more comfortable if you understand a few things about how their game works.
Some years back, online poker rooms operated as part of a network. The Merger Network is a good example of this, and these networks provided a white label platform that supported new websites with tools to set up a poker room. These tools include:
- Payment processes
- Shared player base
These tools are still used and they allow even the most recent poker room to have regular income especially through promotions and the shared player base. Online poker games involve cash games, tournaments, and sit and go’s, all of which allow the poker room to earn some revenue. There are wide variations in the stakes, but generally they range from $1 to $2,000 in many sites.
Poker Room Rake
If your poker room offers games like Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, Pineapple, or something similar, then they probably have a standard rake system to go along with it. If for example, you get in on a $15 + $1 game, that means the poker room fee or rake is just $1. Cash games are different, and in that case they will tell you what the fee is. It may not be as clear as when playing tournaments, but in most cases you will see it posted somewhere on the web page.
Much like live poker, the house will have some caps to how much money they can rake per cash game or tournament. This will also be posted on their website. The games are dealt by a random number generator which means that unlike live poker, no player could ever hope to hack it.
Collecting Your Money
Players in the U.S have few banking options for cashing out. The most common methods used are wire transfer, and checks. Cash outs won’t happen quickly, and it can take anywhere from a few days to weeks. It really depends on the website and where its located. Keep in mind that online poker is a gray area in the U.S., so it tends to attract less than stellar websites. In Europe and other parts of the world it takes just hours to get paid, and in the worst cases, it can take a couple of days for the money to show up.
Fees will vary from a flat rate to percentage per cash out. Bank wires cost more than cash outs, and some websites will give you the first few cash outs without a charge, and from there you will have to pay a fee. Read reviews to learn how your site charges and check out the banking sections to avoid any confusion.
Online poker can be profitable but of course it takes skill and experience to make anything serious out of it. It’s important to know how things work, so that you feel more comfortable playing. Remember, you won’t be able to see the other players, tech staff, transactions, or anything really. It can make you uneasy, but if you have questions, check the site’s FAQ or contact live support.