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It would appear as though it is a zero-sum game, i.e. whatever one player loses, another player wins, as opposed to for example, sports betting where the house always takes a spread no matter what.

So how do online poker sites make money?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

They take a percentage of each pot, called the "rake."

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A basic example would be a great addition. Thanks. –  Toby Booth Jul 27 at 1:17
    
What's the approximate typical percentage that they take? –  CaptainCodeman Jul 27 at 11:09
    
@CaptainCodeman each site will tell you how much their rake is. You'll generally find something like X% with a Y$ cap, and the cap may depend on the game's betting structure. –  mah Jul 27 at 13:31
    
@mah, cool, thanks bro –  CaptainCodeman Jul 27 at 14:14

As others have mentioned the main way these sites make money is from rake, where a percentage of the pot or entry fee is taken.

It might also be worthy to note that there are some rake-free poker sites such as BetRaiser.

These sites generate their income mainly from the transfer/deposit fees when you move money in and out of the site. Some sites also use their online poker purely as a side line to win over traffic into their online casinos.

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As well as rake, the amount of money deposited on such sites is massive and so a significant chunk of money is made by the sites investing the collective bankroll. There are however strict rules to stop companies using more riskier investment strategies.

As an aside, if you're comparing one site with another it isn't enough purely to compare the rake level. Some of the rake can be reclaimed in loyalty schemes etc. How these operate varies greatly from site to site.

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On average they take 5% of every pot, or 5-10% from every tournament entry fee. That is called rake. Rake is also present in real Casinos.

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Looks like part of your post got lost...? –  Robbie Dee Jul 28 at 11:34
    
Just a word. Thanks –  Lendar Jul 28 at 16:41

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