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Using Rakeback to Build a Poker Bankroll

07.12.2010 -

While winning consistently is the ideal way to build your poker bankroll – and is the only way to build a bankroll without redepositing – there are other ways that smart players can boost their bottom line. Deposit bonuses are the most popular and promoted way for poker players to optimize their initial bankroll, but if you're playing the game right before long you won't need to make new deposits. That's why rakeback is ultimately a better bankroll incentive for long-term poker players.

What Is Rakeback?

To understand rakeback, you first have to understand rake. Rake is how poker rooms make their money. Basically it's a flat rate commission that poker rooms shave off the top of every pot. While few amateurs pay much attention to rake, it's an important number since it directly affects your winnings. Most poker rooms take a very modest rake – 5% or less – so players should be wary of a room with a high rake. Rakeback then is an incentive that gives players a return on their paid rakes, similar to a credit card that offers cashback.

How Do You Get Rakeback?

Few poker rooms offer rakeback automatically. Usually poker players must attain a certain member level, enter special promotional codes, or join a third party incentive club in order to qualify for rakeback.

How Can Rakeback Help Your Bottom Line?

Rakeback is generally awarded in one of two ways. Either a player is guaranteed a set percentage of their paid rakes back, or they are given a predetermined amount of cash back. The more you play, the more you will appreciate the first form of rakeback, whereas casual players will probably get more with a straightforward cash back program. Some poker rooms award rakeback weekly while others calculate it on a monthly basis. Either way, the advantages of rakeback should be obvious since above all else it's more money, and more money is always a good thing.

Getting the Most Rakeback

The beauty of incorporating rakeback into your bankroll building strategy is that the better you get at poker, the more you'll be winning which translates to more rakes and by extension to more rakeback if you know where to find it. In other words, rakeback is money you earned by winning the pots it was drawn from, so how much rakeback you receive is directly tied to how much you win.

We've touched lightly on how players can go about getting rakeback already, but it's important to note that some poker rooms simply don't offer this incentive. It's definitely something to consider when choosing where you want to play. We highly recommend that players serious about building their bankrolls look for sites that 1) have a lower rake to begin with, 2) offer rakeback, and 3) don't use rakeback as a replacement for their regular comp point system.

If you are already committed to a poker room that doesn't directly offer rakeback incentives, then you may still be able to earn some rakeback by joining one of their affiliate promotional groups. If you are in doubt about your poker room's available incentives, then by all means contact them, and be sure to ask specifically about rakeback.

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