Bad Beat

“What is a rakeback, and why have I heard so much about them lately? Why do I need to worry about things like this? What ever happened to the good old days of poker where all I had to worry about were the cards in my hand?” Many recreational poker players are asking these questions now that internet poker is the most popular way to play, and the answers are simple.

First of all, there was no golden heyday of poker where you only needed to think about the cards in one’s own hand, unless you wanted to lose to someone who bothered to learn important skills, like how to read people, game theory, or, as Annette Obrestad once demonstrated as she won a 180 person tournament without looking at her cards more than once, your position at the table is far more important than the cards that you actually hold. So go ahead and get the idea that poker is a simple game out of your head, because that will destroy your playing every time.

Rakebacks are important. Whenever people play poker on an online poker site or in a casino, the house takes a percentage of each pot– this is called the rake. Before you get righteously indignant about the house taking part of your money, understand that since people are playing one another and not the house in poker, this is the only way for the house to make money, so this money is what keeps the lights, service, and customer service running. A rakeback, then, is when the online poker site or the casino (in the case of live play) give you a percentage of the percentage that they took (the rake) back.

This is used largely as an incentive for players to choose to play with them, a kind of goodwill gesture that is meant to say, “Look! We like you so much that we’re willing to make less money if you’ll play here.” If you’re familiar with how businesses work, you may be wondering what the catch is, as businesses are not in the habit of giving money away, but it’s simple. The amount that they return to each player is insignificant compared to the increase in the number of people who are willing to play (and stay) on the site. Most sites also require that you claim your rakeback, which means that they’re counting on you not doing so. In essence, most sites offer you the opportunity to take a rakeback, which is slightly different than directly giving it to you.

One site is paving the way to change this process, however– the accumulation of every No Bad Beats rakeback is automatically deposited into your account once a week when you play with them. The amount you’ll make on rakebacks depends on whether you play at a cash table or in a tournament, but since the No Bad Beats rakeback is at 40%, a full 10% higher than what you’ll find at almost any site, there’s no disputing that the No Bad Beats rakeback is one of the best available.