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I am pretty new to online poker. As far as I understand, the sites differ only by special events (which don't matter to me at all) and rake structure. Thus the question, which sites are the most friendly as far as these charges go?

Edit: given I recently started playing online, I aim for the lowest stakes; BB in a matter of cents for now.

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You should include stakes that you play at. Sites have different rake structures at different stakes. –  Chris Marasti-Georg Feb 1 '12 at 19:35
    
@ChrisMarasti-Georg Oh, that did not occur to me, I've added it to the question now. –  Mikulas Dite Feb 1 '12 at 19:56
    
Sites have different rake structures at different stakes? I. did. not. know. that. shiiiiiiiiiit. –  k to the z Feb 1 '12 at 21:28
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4 Answers

Poker Stars rake. This is a straightforward listing - Rake is a percentage of the pot up to a certain maximum, based on the number of players that were dealt into the hand. Right now, at .01/.02, there is a 3.5% rake with a $0.30 max per pot.

Cake Poker rake. This is a bit harder to figure out - the Rake column says how much rake is taken out, per amount in the Per Pot column that is in the pot. For instance, if rake is $0.01 and Per Pot is $0.15, there is 1 cent taken out per 15 cents in the pot. You can divide Rake by Per Pot to get the percentage. Right now, there is a 6.7% rake with a $0.50-$2.00 max, depending on the number of players sitting at the table.

I couldn't find a listing of Merge network's rake structure. Also note that a rakeback deal can lower the effective rake that you pay.

In general, below a $0.25 big blind, PokerStars seems to have the best rake structur. Higher than that, it used to be that Full Tilt + rakeback was the best. I don't know the current best for $0.25 and above.

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In addition to the rake structure at any given site, you should also give consideration to player rewards (especially cash bonuses), to rakeback, and to withdrawal fees. All of these factors can significantly impact the actual effect of how much money the site takes from you for playing.

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This might be a little controversial. But I think is still relevant to the question.

betco.in is an open source no rake poker room where you can play poker using bitcoins.

Edit: They do apparently. But its significantly lower than PokerStars. At least 60% lower i think.

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Um... They do take rake. betco.in/rake –  Chris Marasti-Georg Feb 3 '12 at 14:27
    
Wow i read somewhere that they did not and joined. Haven't been able to play a single hand yet (no one plays) so i didn't realize. The rake is very low when compared to PokerStars though. –  AntonAnsgar Feb 3 '12 at 14:40
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This is a good question with no "one correct answer". Try follow this rule - the smaller the site the better the rake program.

To clarify things a little bit, allow me to describe the rake issue (as I know it).
Basically, there are two types of rakes: for tournaments and for cash games.

In tournaments the rake is usually 10% of the buy-in (i.e. 10$+1$ tournaments means 10$ goes to the prize pool and 1$ is the site commission).

In cash games, the usual rake is 5% of the pot (every hand) up to a limit of ~3$-5$ (depends on the site). If the flop is not dealt, there is no rake.

This was the theoretical part. There are few things you should take in consideration:

  1. Its like insurance plans - each site change their rules slightly, so it will be difficult to compare between them.
  2. The sites usually give a "discount" if you join an expensive tournaments. For example, 100$ buy in tournaments has 8$-9$ rake.
  3. In cash games, the rake limitation is a build-in discount for players playing big cash games. For example, 0.5$/1$ blinds, 6 players table. lets assume that average pot is 20$ (just a number) --> In this case the rake will be 1$ (5%). In 25$/50$ blinds, the average pot is 400$ (again, just a number) --> the rake is 3$ (according to rake limitation) which is >1% rake.
  4. sometimes the sites "punish" players playing small tournaments by slightly increasing rakes (1$+0.12$).
  5. When a site want to promote a specific game/cash level/tournament etc. it might temporarily reduce the rake a little bit.

There are more issues that indirectly might influence rake like promotions and frequent player points, but this is subject to a different question

Amigal

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This doesn't answer the question. –  Chris Marasti-Georg Feb 2 '12 at 15:41
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This question has no "correct" answer. The question looks for online poker sites. There is no one site above the others. At a given time each site can be the best site... –  amigal Feb 2 '12 at 16:00
    
There absolutely is a best answer. Look at the rake schedules for a certain level, figure in any potential rakeback, and figure out which one is the lowest. –  Chris Marasti-Georg Feb 2 '12 at 16:17
    
I don't understand why you voted me down. I promise you that even if you'll do the best calculations regarding the rake - you will get different answers depending on the sites and time you'll check. Every site has its own special offers and special promotions. Its influence the rake of that site at a given time. My answer was general in one hand but detailed enough to give information what should be checked. I kindly request you to undo your down voted. I feel you where too hasty too use it in this case. Thanks, Amigal –  amigal Feb 5 '12 at 18:25
    
I voted you down because I don't feel that you provided an answer to the question that was asked. The mission of Stack Exchange is to codify knowledge, and your answer does not help codify the knowledge on which site has best micro limit rake structure. –  Chris Marasti-Georg Feb 6 '12 at 13:58
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