Rake Back is a rebate given to poker players. The rake is the small table fee charged to the players for each hand of poker. Rakes add up over time if the player plays frequently and/or for high stakes games.
Online poker rooms, in general, do not offer rake back. They offer sign up bonuses instead. There are a lot of bonuses offered out there but there is only one poker room that sanctions rake back themselves.
So why the buzz on poker forums and elsewhere about rake back offers? These offers for rake back are coming from affiliates that work for the poker rooms. Party Poker, the world’s largest online poker room, does not allow their affiliates to offer rake backs. They’ve started to enforce a long standing no rake back policy that can lead to these affiliates being shut out of their program. At the very least, Party Poker will make it impossible for them to track, and hence pay, rake back to the players. So if a player is thinking of a good offer that’s been made to them for rake back at Party Poker, they might want to think again.
If the affiliate is caught doing this they will be shut down and the rake back payments will stop. The affiliate will still keep getting paid commission on the already signed up players though.
There are other risks involving rake backs. They have limits on them. It is really not worth the affiliate’s time to offer them to the casual poker player as they are seen as never accumulating enough rake to be profitable, so they will go after the frequent player instead. The limits involve the player having to contribute so much rake per month before becoming eligible for a certain percentage of it back. Another risk is that the affiliate will get the player to sign up then stop paying. Most affiliates get paid commission for the life time of the player so if they conveniently decide they will no longer pay the rake back the player has no recourse other than not playing at their favorite poker room.
Is it possible in these deals to get rakeback plus the sign up bonuses? The poker rooms that do allow certain affiliates to offer these are not as likely to offer the rake back players the generous re-load bonuses. If you don’t believe this, when was the last time that you saw even a sign up bonus link that was associated with a rakeback offer? Well, most have never seen one. In 99% of the deals they won’t offer both. These rake back affiliates are, in essence, replacing the sign up bonus with a rake back deal instead. The just want to sign up players and it does not matter how they get them.
Always read the fine print of the rakeback offer. Often you will see them have funny rules such as; do not enter a code at sign up. Is it possible they wish to avoid triggering a bonus code?
In reality, only the very high end, frequent player will truly benefit from a rake back program in any significant way. Most players will make much more back with the signup and reload bonuses. And for those that use them, the rake back benefits will not make up for the bonus losses right away. It will happen, but takes time. The only real way a player can be guaranteed of getting paid rake back and not having to worry about their poker account being close is find a poker room that sanctions rake back themselves, or stick with the bonuses.
What’s that about accounts being closed? Yes, they can be. If an affiliate offers a rake back deal and the player already has an account at that particular poker room they will not receive it without attempting to open a duplicate account, usually in another name. If the player is caught all related accounts will be closed. Players have to decide if it is worth the risk of losing their account at a room they like playing in.
Can players actually lose money joining a rakeback program? Yes. For the majority of players out there the loss of both sign up and re-load bonuses will be greater than the amount of rake refunded back to them. Even the smallest sign up bonus of $25 would take two and one half months equal in rake back for the average player.
In conclusion, it is up to the player. In most cases rake back is probably not worth the hassle. Even for the frequent player there is less risk involved in getting the rake back from a poker room that sanctions it itself, not an invidual affiliate. Frequent players are also more likely to be eligible for VIP programs at these same poker rooms. Included among the many benefits are special bonuses and more accumulation in that room’s point system. The average player will come out ahead with the bonuses.
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