Where Does the Rake Fit In?
It still surprises us, after we and others have written so much on this subject, that many poker players still try to game the poker rake as a strategy ploy! Let’s make it as plain as we can: the rake in online and land based poker should have nothing to do with how you play any hand!
Why is There a Rake in Poker?
The simple and best answer is: the poker rake is the way the poker room, be it a land based poker room or an online room such as Juicy Stakes, pays its bills! When you play poker with your pals once a month or so, you don’t give the “house” a rake. Instead, everyone puts up a few dollars for the cold cuts, soft drinks, beer, and the deck of cards, which are often thrown out after a long session of poker among friends with mustard on their fingers!
In a friendly poker game among...friends, everyone comes and goes as a single unit, more or less. We have heard about friends who play all night poker once or twice a year and the winners take the losers out for breakfast!
In a poker room, the players come and go as they see fit. As a result, the room has to take a little from every pot to pay its bills and keep the poker room open!
How Does the Juicy Stakes Poker Rake Work?
We use a mathematical formula to figure out the rake for the hand. Rather than go into the subtleties of rake math, we would like everyone to know that the rake has an upper limit on all hands. That means that the rake won’t get into stratospheric heights even if the pot on a specific hand does.
All of this also means that the rake in higher stakes games is often less as a percentage of the actual pot than is the rake in a lower stakes hand. This does sometimes lead players to play at higher stakes before their game is sufficiently sophisticated to warrant such a move.
Our advice is always to play at the stakes that your skill warrants. You can move up to higher stakes if you choose to after sufficient grounding at lower stakes.
What Strategy Should I Focus on Instead of the Rake?
There are so many aspects of strategy in poker that it is hard to point to a single one as the primary strategy element to concentrate on! However, there is one aspect of poker strategy and play that we have not covered at length here at Juicy Stakes: the art of bluffing in online poker.
So, let’s spend the rest of this tutorial on bluffing!
Is Bluffing Different Online or On Land?
Of course, there are significant differences in bluffing depending on the venue of the poker game. At a land based poker room, everyone at the table can see you as you bet. If you have any tells at all, they can see them.
Tells may be overrated as a way to ferret out a player’s hand but they are still a prominent way to figure out a hand. Tells are much more difficult to “see” in an online game for obvious reasons.
There is still one very important truism that applies to bluffing in poker irrespective of whether you are playing online or on land. Someone will be bluffing on almost every hand! You need to expect a bluff and you need to develop the ability to read a bluff and not be fooled by it.
Is there a Single Most Foolhardy Approach to Bluffing?
Yes, there is and it is as simple as the maxim we just gave about bluffing in general. A bluff is not intended to make you think that the bluffer has a powerhouse hand; a bluff is designed to make you think that your opponent’s hand is stronger than yours, even marginally.
Perhaps marginally. Because if you fold a hand that you think is marginally weaker than your opponent’s hand, it doesn’t matter that it might have been hopelessly weaker than the opponent’s hand!
A perfect example is when the flop shows an ace and an opponent bets quickly and strongly, attempting to show that he has paired his ace in the hole. Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t. You, with a pair of kings might very well fold! Such is the essential power of the bluff!
Let’s say that one player bets the ace heavily. He wants everyone who stayed in to see the flop to fold. What will he do if an opponent not only calls him but raises? Bluffing the bluffer is a common poker occurrence.
Study Your Opponents
We have said this in the past and it is still a very important and simple piece of advice for novice poker players. We assume that you will fold most of your hands before the flop. What you do for the rest of the hand is as important as what you do on hands that you play! Especially in terms of understanding your opponents’ betting and bluffing habits, it is extremely important to pay close attention to the hand as it unfolds.
You may learn if an opponent is a bluffer in more hands than is sensible. You may learn if an opponent folds easily in the face of a strong bet which may or may not be a bluff. You may learn if a player stays in hands they should have quit which means that they cannot easily be bluffed but also means that they can be induced to pad the pot on hands where you have the nuts.
We Are Playing in the Dark
Of course, this is a subtle reference to the great song “Dancing in the Dark”. When you play online, you are playing in the dark as far as “seeing” how your opponents react. You need to master the art of bluffing at an online poker game.
There is a famous story of Bill Cosby walking into the bathroom in his house where guest Ray Charles was shaving. Cosby was alarmed and he asked, “Ray, why are you shaving in the dark?” Ray Charles answered, “Bill, I always shave in the dark.”
Online poker does have an element of the players being blind. It does, on the other hand, have the element of sharpening all of your other observational skills.
Play Poker Online at Juicy Stakes
Online poker has other elements that make it preferable for many players over land based poker. For one, there is no travel cost. Another advantage of online poker is its flexibility. At Juicy Stakes, we offer poker in many variations. You can play in more than one game at a time. It is easier to find a poker game at Juicy Stakes that covers all of the basic requirements you have for playing over the more limited games at a land based poker room.
Join Juicy Stakes Poker NOW! As an aficionado of poker, you will be more than satisfied by the poker opportunities you will find here at Juicy Stakes!