Building a Poker Bankroll from Scratch – 3. Rake, rake, rAkE, rake and RAKE!

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Concise, but gives usable heuristics and insights of how to think about blockers/combo selection.
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"D7 breaks down how you should think about blockers on two-tone boards, un-blockers, and how to leverage your blockers to help with close decisions. You need not be afraid of these concepts. After just a 20 minute video, I'm sure you will feel comfortable harnessing this knowledge in your next session."
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J, CFP StudentFinland
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"Before i joined i was weakish z200 reg for years, without clear strategy how to play, without idea how to improve on my own, how to be the best pro i can be or how to learn efficiently.... 4 months later, and i play 500 comfortably, tried even a little bit of 1k ... didnt expect that to happen this soon"
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Building a Poker Bankroll from Scratch - 3. Rake, rake, rAkE, rake and RAKE!!

What’s up troops!?

So… as you might’ve guessed… today’s article is about rake.

Rake is about the least exciting, least sexy poker topic imaginable. Yet aspiring grinders who are ignorant to it’s effects find themselves stuck in the mire that is nano and micro-stakes games for months or YEARS longer than they need to. Let’s take a quick look at what we’re up against.

Pokerstars Rake

Pokerstars rake table

Initially, this looks very reasonable. They charge less at baby stakes, both in terms of % and the rake cap, and more at higher stakes. Which probably means those games are easier to beat, right? Especially given there’s so many weak players in those games. Right???

Wrong. 

Let’s reframe these numbers into the relevant format.

High Rake Poker

This is how you should think about the rake environment in your games – what’s the highest number of BB I could end up paying. 

And notice how things have completely changed – most specifically at 5-16nl, 6-9handed. At these stakes, guys are getting absolutely hammered by the rake, actually paying more than at 2nl, as much as 20BB off a single pot. 

Think about how that affects the EV of any hand that stands a reasonable chance of seeing a flop – in the best case scenario where you stack a deep-stacked opponent, you have to pay a whole dollar – 20% of a buyin! – to rake.

Poker Rake is Too High

Out of curiosity, I did some digging on statname to try to see how this might translate into the winrates of players in these games. Check this out.

This looks about how I’d expect it to – slightly lower winrates achievable in the bigger games due to slightly stronger reg pool. But watch what happens when I expand the dataset to include 2nl, 50nl and 100nl.

Online Poker Rake

Two things are surprising about this. First – HOLY MOLY – look at 2nl!!! The average winrate of the top 12 all time 2nl FR winners is 17.4 compared with 11.7 at 5nl. The number of weaker players/ quality of the regs is obviously some kind of factor here, but I’d posit that the smaller rake cap, at 15BB compared with 20 at the higher limit is also having a large affect here. 

The second thing looks less dramatic but is arguably more surprising – the winrates of top regs at 50 and 100nl are HIGHER than the top regs at 25nl! This is a very surprising result. I hope given my experience coaching people at these games that you’ll trust my opinion when I say, this absolutely does not indiciate a weaker player pool at 100nl than 25nl. So what could be causing this difference?

Variance? Well, no. The 50nl sample for example has 23.1m hands, so we’re talking very high levels of confidence in these winrates given 80 or so typical standard deviation per 100 hands in these games.

There’s only 1 other variable it could be. Yes, that ever-unsexy one. Rake. 

Just think about how crazy this is. Selecting from a SMALLER number of running games. Playing BETTER regs and LESS fish. People are winning at a HIGHER rate playing for 4x as much money! If there was ever motivation to get the hell out of the microstakes games, surely this is it. 

If you’d like to see the data I used in writing this article, you can check it out here -https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s879gw-zllsH6zzQYIprj9DeYw0NW6gthYcCvRZN31M/edit?usp=sharing

Alright, I get it - rake is bad. What can I do about it?

Excellent question, reader. I like where you’re head’s at.

FIRST’S THINGS FIRST. Game selection is one of the pillars of a winning poker strategy. The second best player in the whole world will not make money if he only ever plays against the best player. Very, very bad players have made a killing at online poker by ensuring they play against players who are way worse than them. This is true at every stake level, from nosebleeds to nanostakes. 

How Much Rake is Too Much

Next thing next. If you’re going to build your bankroll from scratch, you’re going to have to make it through the microstakes, and you’re going to have to pay a substantial amount of rake. 

Given all this is true, you must must MUST make sure you’re getting a decent chunk of that rake back. There’s 1,000 articles out there on this subject, as most poker content websites are trying desperately to have you sign up through their affiliate link, so I don’t think I need to labour this point too much. 

But I do need you to ask yourself – have you bothered to look into your game selection and rakeback setup? Are you putting in volume in the smartest way you could be? In less words, are you a sucker??

I ask because I know there’s a looooooot of grinders out there who tell themselves a nice story about how they don’t want to use game selection as a crutch, or that they can’t handle the software of X site… so they play zoom on pokerstars and complain about how difficult it is to make it up through the stakes. 

I ask because I’ve been there. Unfortunately I can’t find the post now, but I vividly remember posting in the old Small Stakes Full Ring forum (RIP) a screenshot of my pokerstars lobby, with me on every 25nl FR waitlist, with the caption ‘game selection is for opponents’. As cringey as that is now, it pains me more to think of the time I wasted playing 100k hands/month in those games instead of focussing on quality over quantity. 

That's all for now!

Be smart and DON’T be lazy – get yourself on 1 or more sites that offer good games with solid rakeback. Grind first deposit bonuses, ask around, play affiliates off against each other until you’re getting AT LEAST 70% of your rake back. If this sounds like a lot, look harder. 

Till next time..

GL out there! 

D7

PioSolver Course - Endboss Package

Everything you need to know about PIO
$447
$ 247 Lifetime Access
  • No Previous Experience/Knowledge Required
  • Learn How to Use The Most Advanced and Powerful Features
  • 6h of Material, inc feature guide, HH analysis
    PLUS bonus Mental Game Series
Popular

Blockers in 20m

Learn when to make the big move
$ 17 Lifetime Access
  • Learn How Blockers Affect Your Folding, Calling and Bluffing Decisions
  • 17 Rapid Fire HH analyses
  • Make Smarter Decisions, Play Better =>
    Crush Your Opponents
New
Andrew
AndrewPioSolver Masterclass Endboss Customer
Read More
"...Overall, I highly recommend this course to anyone who owns Pio but does not feel they are getting full value out of it or using its features well; which is probably almost all users."
Danny, CFP Student
Danny, CFP StudentScotland
Read More
'If you have the dedication and commitment these guys will no doubt improve your game and help you crush.’
Ruben, CFP Student
Ruben, CFP StudentSweden
Read More
'...a perfect fit for anyone who wants to take their poker game to the next level. ‘
Daniel, Blockers in 20m Customer
Daniel, Blockers in 20m CustomerSolid Content
Read More
Concise, but gives usable heuristics and insights of how to think about blockers/combo selection.
Deividas, CFP Student
Deividas, CFP StudentLithuania
Read More
' I really enjoyed working with all the coaches. THANK YOU guys. If you're really looking to improve your game, work hard and dedicate to poker, this is really good opportunity.'
Attila, CFP Student
Attila, CFP StudentHungary
Read More
'...I feel more motivated than ever and I enjoy poker again so much that I can't stop thinking about it.'
Marc, CFP Student
Marc, CFP StudentDenmark
Read More
'...now i am winning at NL100z. This progress is only over the span of 3-4 months. I can’t emphasize enough, how good these coaches are. They are very quick to spot leaks, and give you the right tools to improve immediately.'
Chris, Blockers in 20m Customer
Chris, Blockers in 20m CustomerEye Opening Look at Blockers for Great Value
Read More
"D7 breaks down how you should think about blockers on two-tone boards, un-blockers, and how to leverage your blockers to help with close decisions. You need not be afraid of these concepts. After just a 20 minute video, I'm sure you will feel comfortable harnessing this knowledge in your next session."
Tim, CFP Student
Tim, CFP StudentTaiwan
Read More
‘…Before joining bitb I was a 50z breakeven player. Now I can continue to challenge and progress at higher level. I believe that the results of these efforts need to be attributed to the selfless dedication and transparent teaching contents from the coaches…’
J, CFP Student
J, CFP StudentFinland
Read More
"...been playing 500/1k for two months and my general feeling is im MUCH stronger player than 4months ago..."
Underdog, Blockers in 20m Customer
Underdog, Blockers in 20m CustomerInsane video
Read More
This is one of the best videos for my own poker game i have seen lately, it is worth every dollar and a lot more, thank you very much for the video
Andrija, CFP Student
Andrija, CFP StudentSerbia
Read More
"Before i joined i was weakish z200 reg for years, without clear strategy how to play, without idea how to improve on my own, how to be the best pro i can be or how to learn efficiently.... 4 months later, and i play 500 comfortably, tried even a little bit of 1k ... didnt expect that to happen this soon"
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