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The rake is the amount of money taken by the house in return for operating a poker game. Unlike many other games available to play at a casino, the house is not involved in the betting themselves – poker is played between the players, so money would only change hands between the participants. Because of this, the casino takes a commission in return.
With roulette, blackjack and a range of other games the participants play against the dealer who is a representative of the casino, known as “the house”. If the hands are lost the money goes to the house. In poker the money is only won by the players, so casinos needed a way of making money from the games – that’s where the rake comes in.
The rake can be taken in a number of ways – either by tournament fees, a percentage of the chips taken while the hand is being played or a timed collection. The amount can be anywhere between 2.5%-10% of the hand, although promotions can sometimes offer players the chance to play for less.
The rake doesn’t really exist in sports betting, as bettors are usually betting against the bookmaker’s odds. In American sportsbooks though there is a vigorish – sometimes known as the vig, juice or cut – which is the amount charged by the bookmaker for taking a bet.
With the recent changes to the sports betting laws in the United States, some professional leagues have attempted to negotiate a kind of rake on bets relating to their games, arguing that they should receive a cut of the betting money since they are putting on the events. There has been no settlement on this proposal as yet.