Rakeback history

Analysis and articles | estimated reading time
2009. December 22. |
Online poker is still a relatively new concept, having only started in 1998. The biggest and most significant online poker industry began in 2002. One of the first online poker rooms was Planet Poker, launched in 1998. Following its success came Paradise Poker, founded in 1999, still being one of the leading online poker rooms. In 2001 we saw other major online poker rooms appear, including PartyPoker, PokerStars and UB.
Television was a real breakthrough for online poker in 2003, when it debuted the broadcast of the World Poker Tour (Travel Channel, March 2003), which became the most popular show of its time. Next to follow was the World Series Of Poker (WSOP), covered by ESPN. A record number of 800 participants in the No Limit Hold’em Main Event had internet players also contributing to this milestone. The record was shortly broken with the WSOP in 2004. With $5 million up for grabs, 2600 players were baited to compete for the grand prize. Rumors have it, that almost over 1500 players managed to qualify to the tournament via online poker satellite tournaments.

Following 2004, came another breakthrough in 2005, when the record was annihilated with the number of entrants to WSOP reaching 6000. One of the most important facts that contributed to the success of online poker was that previous years’ champions Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer were both players from PokerStars. This was the key factor that helped increase the legitimacy and popularity of online poker.

What was offered at the beginning? Have incentives always been accessible?


In the early days when competition was small, the Casinos that had the monopoly would only offer really minimal incentives to their players. As competition grew, the casinos began to fight for players. New incentives, such as free catering, free rooms and free shows became a common occurrence to their valued clients. Casinos tended not to support poker, as the other games brought in a much greater revenue. This is the main reason why casinos didn’t offer poker players worthwhile incentives, until the online phenomenon emerged.   

The Start of Rakeback. How did it begin?

Once the online phenomenon took off, an influx of online casinos started appearing everywhere. With this new competition came the inevitable fight for members. Online poker rooms started offering incentives, including sign-up bonuses as well as refill and depositor bonuses along with various loyalty rewards. It wasn’t until the birth of poker affiliate sites (such as Rakerace.com) that the players had a voice that persuaded online poker rooms to offer new deals. One of these deals included rakeback.

Some of the first online poker rooms allowed certain members to play without having to pay any rake, for logging a certain number of hands in return. These deals were kept under wraps to the average player in order for the poker room to maintain its traffic. The term ‘rakeback’ was derived from these deals. In 2003, the first rakeback deal between an affiliate and a poker room was initialized. 

Present time in the world of rakeback

Nowadays, a huge variety of online poker players enjoy the benefits of poker rakeback.

To get a clear understanding on rakeback we first have to define what "rake" is. The rake is the amount of money (in other words, a commission) that the players pay to the online poker room, so that the casino can make money through poker. In most cases you have the opportunity to recover a certain percentage of the rake you have generated. This is called rakeback.

Very few poker rooms offer rakeback directly. In most of the cases, registration to an affiliate site is required in order to obtain rakeback. Poker sites do not join the rakeback frenzy themselves, because if they did, all their players could contact them looking for rakeback and they would be obliged to provide it. The poker rooms allowing sites to offer rakeback prefer to advertise this as a bonus coming from the player’s affiliate, which is, in fact, true.

It is not necessary to have a deal with an affiliate in order to play online poker, but a lot of promotions, like rakeback, rake races, poker software, free goods or tournament entries will only be available for the registered users of an affiliate. By referring your friends to a rakeback deal, you can get your hands on an extra referral bonus, based on how much your friends play.

Some sites started using VIP points systems which are, though named differently, still very similar to rakeback.

Our final conclusion: rakeback is a very good opportunity for players, as they get money back; it is beneficial for the poker room, because it recruits new players, and the affiliate also gets its share.

The two methods for calculating rakeback

The contributed rake calculation lets players get their share of the rake paid to the room only if they contributed money in the given pot, while dealt rakeback calculation means rakeback for everyone that has been dealt cards. This means that in the latter case every player being dealt cards in the hand gets credited the same amount of rake, while contributed rake calculation is proportional , so players will receive rake depending on how much money they contribute in the pot. This is interesting because this way you receive rakeback according to how much rake you generate. It is generally true that if we play tight, then dealt rakeback is more advantageous for us.

The Future Of Rakeback

The future of rakeback has never looked better. In recent times, with the boom of online poker rooms, players have become confused on which deal or room is best for them. From this boom have sprung the affiliated sites like ’Rakerace.com’, striving to compile all the rooms online in one place. Apart from being an accurate guide, this compilation makes it easier for a player to acquire the best promotions, deals and take part in exclusive rake races to increase their lifetime of winnings.

Affiliate sites, such as Rakerace.com will become the key site for poker players in the future. With an ever-growing member database, affiliated sites will end up having more impact on online poker rooms, for them to offer us the best possible promotions in order to recruit new members. This, for a poker player, is good news as you’ll find your Dollar will go further than ever before.

Not only with rakeback, sign-up and refill bonuses on offer, a new era with rake races has begun. These exclusive internal promotions will coincide with your favorite poker room, and become another source of income besides your regular poker winnings. In the long run, a poker player’s lifetime winnings will increase dramatically with these easy-to-win exclusive promotions. As time goes on, you’ll find that many poker players might not just focus on the pot winnings, but more the promotions and rake races. First seen as a negative for a poker player (because who likes giving money away?), this idea is now working in your favor. Besides rakeback percentage returns available for all our members, rake races make it possible for the players who generate the most rake to actually win back more than the rake they pay.

In conclusion, the future outlook for online poker players will be brighter, with unseen and unheard of promotions to obtain for your business. In turn, the old concept of playing poker to win the pot will become playing poker to win multiple promotions and competitions with the exact same effort.

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