How to Build Your Bankroll with Rakeback

We consider rakeback to be as important if not more important than bonuses when it comes to building a bankroll–players are lucky today as when I was building my bankroll most poker rooms didn’t even offer a VIP rewards program let alone rakeback. Fortunately, all players today don’t have to make a choice between receiving rakeback or getting a deposit bonus as all rakeback poker sites provide the opportunity to get both. First, we are going to define what rakeback is and then move to more advanced topics like how to use rakeback to our advantage.

Overview of Rake and Rackback – What is it?

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Every time you play a pot at an online poker room you contribute rake. There are two main types of rake that a poker room collects: contributed rake and dealt (shared method). As you may know, poker rooms make their money off of the “rake” which is typically taken as a percentage of the pot and usually at a 5% commission (or less) up to a $3 maximum (higher stakes may have a higher maximum rake).

Now you might think this is a very minimal amount of money to be giving up, but if you are a long-term player and/or end up climbing the stakes then the amount of rake you contribute over time can be significantly. For example, even players at the $25nl, $50nl and $100nl level will generate hundreds if not thousands of dollars in rake each month.

Most players see rake as a “tax” and “not fair” because it takes away from our bankroll but technically without the rake poker rooms wouldn’t survive and wouldn’t be able to continue providing services to us. Wouldn’t it be great to receive a portion of that rake paid back to you as a “rebate” for playing? What if not everyone were able to receive that opportunity? That would be one major advantage–and its possible you can get that advantage too.

Luckily some poker rooms provide the opportunity for affiliates to promote “rakeback” – where a certain percentage of a player’s rake is paid back directly to them on a regular basis. This rakeback reduces the impact of the commission fees and we consider it a “refund” that you automatically receive in cash. This rakeback contributes directly to your bankroll in a positive way every minute of every day that you decide to play poker. Cool huh?

As a result, we are able to look at how to build your bankroll with rakeback using different strategies. To start we will examine your options for rakeback. On average you can expect to receive 30% guaranteed although some poker rooms provide a higher amount; as a general rule of thumb the higher the guaranteed rakeback the more beneficial it is for the player–but at the same time it also harms the poker room. Ideally, the best rakeback poker sites provide a decent rakeback percentage that motivates players but at the same time doesn’t put a poker room in bankruptcy. Depending on which site you play at will determine what percentage you are eligible to receive.

Rakeback vs VIP Rewards

Best Rakeback Poker Site Rakeback %
Americas Cardroom 27%

While many poker portals and even poker rooms try and lump rakeback and VIP rewards together (Party Poker is a good example) the two are very much so different. Rakeback is very much an “exclusive” item and most of the time it is not even promoted on the website itself but only by select poker affiliates–which we hapen to be one. VIP rewards provide different levels of “cash back” that are sometimes equivalent to rakeback, but depend on how much you play in a given week. For high volume players, some VIP rewards programs are better than rakeback. Most players though will benefit more from rakeback more than from VIP rewards even if its on the same poker room.

How do you know which to choose? Typically choose rakeback first then move to a VIP rewards program once you become a mid stakes grinder. Fortunately most if not all poker rooms will allow players to switch from rakeback to VIP rewards; poker rooms want to make YOU happy so you continue to play poker… and generate rake. Always remember that!

On PokerBankrollBlog.com we have listed poker rooms that combine the best of both worlds – Rakeback and VIP Rewards – and rank the poker rooms by their equivalent “cash back” percentage. However, this page is solely for rakeback poker rooms so any poker rooms listed on this page will allow players to earn guaranteed rakeback every day. Now that we have made the distinction between Rakeback and VIP Rewards its time to move on to some general strategy on how to use rakeback to build your bankroll.

Bankroll Building Strategy Using Rakeback

While perhaps not the first thought that comes to your mind, it is possible to use rakeback as a tool to build your bankroll quicker. The overall concept is to save money on rake and to make the most money as quickly as possible. For obvious reasons, the higher the percentage the poker room offers, the better, so if you have not signed up to a site yet, then I suggest checking out our rakeback page to see your options.

If you are currently registered at a poker room but have never signed up for rakeback then you are still good to go. There is a process that you can complete to enable rakeback; it requires a few steps, but is worth it in the end.

Rakeback Bankroll Strategy 1: Get Better at Poker

Best Ways To Get Better At Poker
1 Coaching
2 Videos
3 Forums
4 Books
5 Articles

One of the nice concepts of rakeback is that the better you play, the more you are rewarded as you will be profiting off both your winning hands and your guaranteed rakeback. The first option, although it seems like an obvious one, is to get better at poker by constantly improving your game. Successful poker players with rakeback can make as much as $100-$200/day just by playing poker and earning rakeback and we’re not talking nose-bleed stakes either. Many Turbo Heads-Up SNG specialists pull in that kind of dough at the $100 level; you just have to be good enough to compete with them and be willing to put in the volume.

Don’t believe me still? At Americas Cardroom on the Winning Poker Network (27% guaranteed rakeback), a $100 HUSNG Turbo comes with $5 in rake. The game usually lasts only a few minutes and players could realistically play 10/hour max 2-tabling as the blinds are only 3 minutes long. If a player put in that volume for only 8 hours per day (if the poker room had the traffic) they would pay $400 in rake and receive $108 in rakeback alone. If a player had a 1% ROI then throw on another $80 in profit–a professional with a 5% ROI would make over $500 in profit + rakeback.

Read books, articles, and forums to learn new playing strategies; watch training videos and get one on one coaching to improve your play (we recommend Grinderschool). If you successfully win over time, the rakeback you accumulate will add to your bankroll and help build it even more. Even on your break-even days you’re still making money! In the end, it will give you more motivation to grind, get better, and win more money. What else do you need?

Rakeback Bankroll Strategy 2: Play More Hands through Multi-Tabling

Game Average Hands Per Hour Per Table
Heads-up 150-200
6-max 90-120
Full Ring 60-75

As you get better at poker naturally you will play more hands through multitabling but this can be seen as a more risky approach. Multi-tabling would allow you to see more hands, but also play more hands. If you are a solid player and are able to play more than one table at once, you will increase your rakeback significantly.

Truthfully the hardest part when you first start to multi-tabling is to go from 1 table to 2 and then from 2 tables to 3. If you can get yourself to play 3 tables, adding tables 4, 5 and 6 are just farther down the road. We don’t recommend going directly from 1 table to 3 and then directly to 6–you are likely to make mistakes and lose money. Many of what otherwise would-be solid players do instead of focusing and playing solid poker is that they play too many hands.

Don’t make the mistake of just simply adding table to get more rakeback–this is a big risk and the additional rakeback you earn could come at a cost to both your player development and your win rate. To expand on how this is a risky approach, we can look at whether you are simply playing hands to collect rake, or because the hands are worthy of playing. Ideally, multi-tabling will allow you to see stronger hands more frequently. On the other hand, players might end up wasting their money by just playing because they want to earn more rakeback.

So yes, keep adding tables until you can easily play not just 100, but 200, 300 or even 400 hands per hour. Many of our colleagues can play up to 20 tables at a time! We don’t recommend playing more than 8-9 though as after that, are you even playing poker or just clicking your mouse button 1000 times a minute?

Rakeback Bankroll Strategy 3: Play Higher Stakes

Bankroll Requirements Per Stake*
$10nl $100/Table
$25nl $250/Table
$50nl $600/Table
$100nl $1200/Table
$200nl $3000/Table
* Based On # Of Tables You Want To Play

What’s the difference between 8 tabling $25nl and 2 tabling $100nl? Not a lot from a risk standpoint; both instances you’re sitting with $200 at the table and frankly the bankroll requirements for 8 tabling one limit is pretty close to 2 tabling one 4x higher. Time to time you should jump up stakes during optimal poker times to improve your game–this isn’t an opinion but a fact. One sure-fire way to improve your game is to play higher stakes.

Thus the last option we will look at to build your bankroll through rakeback is to play at higher stakes. Since rake is taken as a percentage of the pot, the larger the pot the more rake contributed. Furthermore, on average higher stakes means larger pots. It is important that you play using proper bankroll management, so do not play at a level that is out of your range. To 2-table a stake you only need about 25x the buy in to play and move down if you get below 15x. The idea behind this is that you will have enough blinds covered to reduce variance but at the same time you’ll be logging hours learning how the players are playing.

Overall, if you can afford to play higher stakes and want to increase your rakeback then do so, but do not simply play bigger stakes to try and collect more rakeback as you will likely end up losing money. In combination with each other, higher stakes + more hands = higher rewards.

I almost make it sound too easy! What is the first step to solid and continuous bankroll growth with rakeback? Signing up with a rakeback account. Our recommended rakeback poker room is Americas Cardroom. Earn 27% guaranteed weekly in addition to a $1000 deposit bonus.

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