When playing low stakes with very little rake-back, I am hitting over 10bb/100hands for rake. Its really a pretty ridiculous number to beat for a decent clip, even at really low stakes.

Do any of you consciously take the rake into consideration for any of your ranges?

If so, do you have any specific advice on how/where best to adjust?

I realize you want to focus on maximizing your EV "first", but I think I need to be thinking more of how to maximize my EV given the hand AND rake considerations.

  • 1
    I think you are focusing on bad aspect of game. The only conclusion about rake is to play or not to play... Nov 6, 2012 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


You want to maximize your EV whenever you can. There are really rare occasions for breaking this rule and take rake or other aspects (time, your extimated EV, length of game) into consideration. These considerations can increase your hourly but usually don't increase your bb/hand stat.

For example : When I play HU SNG versus regular and I know I have small or no edge, I can go for 52/48 flip( == loosing in long run due to rake!) because after that hand, I can register for another HU with much greater ROI, therefore I sacrifice some of my edge for chance to play noob for bigger edge and invest my time to play game with bigger ROI.

I want to stress that you are propably focusing on aspect, that will affect your play very rarely and not very much. Better grind and grind and get to higher stakes.

GL at tables!

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    Yeah I understand maximizing EV is #1. I am all about that, but rake is a part of that function. And with 10bb/100hands it is an under-rated aspect of overall strategy. I guess I'll just settle for the obvious answer of playing tight preflop.
    – skeelsave
    Nov 8, 2012 at 1:26
  • @skeelsave When considering rake, as Tomas-Sima said, your skill advantage is probably the key consideration, as if you're breakeven EV-wise with your opponent(s) then rake makes that -EV. It's important to note that rake shouldn't be something you consider a significant aspect of EV, if at all. Primarily because rake is something you have no control over and is game specific, not player specific. Your EV however, is controllable and relative to your skill. Beat the game; beat the rake. In that order, never reversed. :)
    – Toby Booth
    Nov 25, 2012 at 21:27

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