Rake in Poker Tournaments?

Gameaholic21Gameaholic21 New JerseyRed Chipper Posts: 21 ✭✭
I'm not sure I understand rake for tournaments. I've been primarily a cash game player and I get rake there for the most part, but it's not really something I've ever considered in tournaments. That being said, the more I read the more it seems like I should get a grasp on it ASAP and keep it in mind moving forward.

Is rake for tournaments really that different or as important as a cash game? Cash games it's money taken out of a direct pot which effects what you're winning essentially, but tourneys have set prize pools so it seems different.

Aside from the obvious "less is better," What's a good rake vs. bad rake? And mostly, why does it really matter for tournaments? I've always thought of a buy-in as the full price of the buy in. Only really ever considered risk to reward (Money for buy in vs prize pool/guaranteed amount etc.)

What's the benefit for thinking about a $120 buy in as a lump $120 or thinking of it as $100 + $20 to play?

Is there that much of a difference between a $120 ($100 + $20) tourney vs a $400 ($350 + $50) tourney vs a $65 ($53 +$12) tourney aside from more money/more reward?

Thanks in advance for any help!


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,272 -
    I think this article will address most of your questions, and if it doesn't please let me know here and I'll do my best to fill in the gaps.

    tl;dr - yes, rake matters in tournaments. a lot.
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  • Gameaholic21Gameaholic21 New JerseyRed Chipper Posts: 21 ✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    I think this article will address most of your questions.

    Hey Kat - That's actually the article that made me realize "I guess this matters more than I think" and led me over to the forum for more information! (great article btw - thanks for it!) So any more information on it would be great.

    I guess I just don't really understand how exactly it works in relation to tourneys. Cash games I get it - Rake is money taken off the table every hand. But tourneys are different, it's not real cash. Is rake then now effectively "money taken out of the prize pool"? Or does it work differently than that?
    If you’re familiar with online tournaments you might be saying at this point “$25 rake is okay for a $250 buy-in.” Agreed. Unfortunately a typical daily tournament in many Vegas rooms has a buy-in around $80. We’re dealing with crippling juice.

    What exactly makes it crippling? Like obviously I understand that $25 taken out of $80 leaves a bigger hole than $25 taken out of $250, but the total price of the buy-in ($x + $y) is still what's being risked to win whatever may be in the prize pool right?

    If $25 of the buy in is rake, or $30 of the buy-in is rake but the total buy-in is the exact the same (let's say $100 to make it easy), why exactly is it more beneficial to play the one with the smaller rake? Where is the money difference going/what is it effecting in relation to the tourney?
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,272 -
    edited July 2019
    Think of it as a risk-reward exercise. For a $100 tournament you're risking $100 to win some reward. The higher the rake, the lower the reward.

    It's the same as any bet. If one book is offering you +300 on a proposition you like, and another offers +400, you take the +400 every time.

    To take this a bit further, assume that you could play enough tournaments that variance was washed out and you converged to your "true" ROI. In a low rake tournament that ROI might be +50%. My assertion is that the rake is so high in some tournaments that the long-term ROI of a superstar would be negative. But whatever that number is, it is inversely proportional to the rake, so less rake is good.

    tl;dr tournament juice is money removed from the prize pool.
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  • Gameaholic21Gameaholic21 New JerseyRed Chipper Posts: 21 ✭✭
    Makes sense. That helps clarify it a good bit. Thank
  • LeChiffreLeChiffre NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 657 ✭✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    so less rake is good.


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,272 -
    Ha. Right.
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