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Rake for .25/.50 Home Game?

Discussion in 'Home Poker Rules' started by justsomedude, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. justsomedude

    justsomedude Well-Known Member

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    In my latest home game, some friends suggested I institute a rake.

    The game is .25/.50 with $25min/$60max buyins. Rebuys are capped at half the big stack. Friendly game, most people know each other, or have gotten to know each other through my games.

    I don't do anything lavish... I just host in a private space (my photo studio), fill some coolers with ice, and of course provide all the gear (chips, tables, chairs, cards, coolers, etc.). We break for pizza (everyone chips in), and drinks are BYOB. No dedicated dealer.

    All in all it only takes me a couple hours to setup, and isn't a huge ordeal for me (aside from getting the damn ice). My studio is my business, and I sublet it to area photographers. So there is some potential lost revenue, in that I have to block out the studio calendar from 3pm to midnight on game nights.

    Is it worth raking and/or appropriate? I'm open to suggestions.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  2. TenPercenter

    TenPercenter Administrator
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    Assuming it's legal to do so in your location....

    I'd suggest something in the line of 5% or so if you are just looking to cover expenses and or cover for lost studio time. Something like .50 per $10 in the pot and stop when it hits $50.

    Another way would be to have a prominently displayed donation jar with notes on how much your target per person per session.

    My home games (no rake no tip) allows donations and we pretty much break even on food. We provide hot food for every game. Of course this does NOT cover all the real costs like poker gear, utilities, soda machine, ice machine, dedicated appliances, snacks, loss of rent etc. For example my poker room could easily be rented out because it's a separate entrance with dedicated facilities.
     
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  3. TenPercenter

    TenPercenter Administrator
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    I see now from another thread you're in Texas. Rake is illegal in any way.
     
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  4. justsomedude

    justsomedude Well-Known Member

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    I'm in Denver, CO. Rake is probably illegal, but then again, I'm assuming home cash games are as well.
     
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  5. abby99

    abby99 Admin / Chip Magpie
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    All of the home games that I host or attend are rake-free. For my game, I provide bottled water, soft drinks, some beer (at most a six-pack is consumed), and a few card-and-chip-friendly snacks. If we get hungry, we chip in for take-out or delivery. I don't expect a "tip", although some of my players round down a couple of bucks when they cash out. To be honest, I'm grateful that folks come to my home for a game so that my chips and other gear don't wither away from loneliness.

    As for chips, cards, poker table, and other goodies, that's on me.
     
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  6. justsomedude

    justsomedude Well-Known Member

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    I share the same mentality. I fear a rake could scare people off.
     
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  7. Trihonda

    Trihonda Well-Known Member

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    This.
     
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  8. big_alv77

    big_alv77 Well-Known Member

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    When we try to setup a home game (that's not hosted in one of our players' residence), the person in charge of securing the venue will total the cost to rent the establishment and then divide that cost by the total number of players. It generally works out to $5-$10 per player. You can even subtract that "venue" fee from the starting stack, if you wish. So, in essence, you're not "raking" the players for running a game. Rather, you're splitting the cost to rent the venue.
     
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  9. DrStrange

    DrStrange Creativity Alliance
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    I'd say inappropriate and unneeded.

    I did not get the impression that the cost of hosting was a huge drain on resources in that the host only provides ice as an extra cost item. Perhaps I missed something big but it looks like out of pocket costs are less than $5 per session.

    Capitol costs aren't really the responsibility of the players except in special cases. You don't ask the crew coming to watch the big game to pitch in because you bought a TV, have some chairs & tables, powered up the refrigerator and have a nice surround sound system.

    I appreciate that hosting in an office space could have an implied cost and an opportunity cost. Perhaps the game could be hosted in your apartment or house when there is high demand for the studio?

    I think a rake sets a bad tone for the game. It also creates expectations - things like professional dealer, security, snacks and soft drinks, perhaps better quality chairs, table and chips.

    There is the obvious down side. The game is now clearly illegal and likely violates the terms of your lease. The police aren't likely an issue for a one or two times a month game but the lease could prove to be a big deal.

    Just don't do it -=- DrStrange
     
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  10. pokerplayingpisces

    pokerplayingpisces Well-Known Member

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    FYI-taking a rake here in CO is illegal. I think for a small game among friends, I don't think your chances of getting caught would be high. Some places rake, and get away with it. Other (mostly games with large stakes) have been busted. Personally, I don't take a rake. Players at my game have been known to chip in, and buy takeout. Whenever there is a big fight, players have donated to help cover the PPV, but I have never asked them to do it. Everything else, I provide; water, soda, snacks, some alcohol, and of course my poker gear.

    Home poker games are legal here, in our great state. The major caveats are;

    1) Everyone must have a previous association with each other. (Can be a very loose association. i.e. I know you. You know Tom. Therefore, I know Tom)

    2) The amount wagered has to be under a certain limit. (Not exactly sure what that limit is, but I'm sure that my group doesn't come close)

    3) The house cannot take a profit.

    It's nice to see CO represented more. I usually have a monthly game (tourney followed by cash).
    Shoot me a PM, if interested!
     
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  11. justsomedude

    justsomedude Well-Known Member

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    Except my landlord is a regular attendee.

    :)

    Good to know. Since I'm not putting up much to host as it is, I'll probably leave it as is, which means FREE.

    Thanks all for the input and responses!
     
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  12. TexRex

    TexRex Well-Known Member

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    I think a rake is illegal is most states, and I know it is in Texas. I've seen several ways to try to get around the host not getting anything for hosting. People leaving donations is kind of iffy legally. It depends on how it's done, and it may depend on how the local police chief and DA see things.

    I know some games that rent a place and divide the cost. I think that too gets to how exactly it's done. If it's done by "pay $X to play and $Y for the space," it looks like an illegal cover charge. If it's "pay $X+Y and we pay out everything after expenses," as long as the host isn't getting the rent (meaning it goes to a 3rd party, probably non-player) or money for food & drinks, I think it's defensible.

    When I say defensible (I'm an attorney so you know), I don't mean you couldn't be prosecuted for it. I mean you chances of winning if you are prosecuted are very good. What is defensible and what is perfectly safe are two completely different things. If you host a $50 buy-in game with 30 people max, were prosecuted, spent $10,000 on defense costs, and "won," meaning no further penalty, your view would be very different.

    My advice to anyone is to stay as far away from something known to be illegal as possible. The further you are from what is clearly illegal, the less likely you are to be wrongfully prosecuted. And I wouldn't trust the "just friends who know each other coming" as safe. The fact is, people talk to their friends.

    10-Percenter has a great set up; definitely the envy of places I've seen! I like what he said, with one exception. I do not think displaying notes or signs about hoped for donations is a good idea. It could be construed as an implied cover charge. I'd instead let a couple of trust people know the hoped for amount, and let them say to others, "Joe spends about $Y per player for this. Let's help Joe by doing at least our share." It might even help to say, "and some can't afford even that, so I try to do a little more."

    My experience is that poker players are similar to other people. Some will contribute and be generous. Others think one cent more than their buy-in is an outrage. That latter group NEVER hosts. Equipment, furniture, space, water, electricity, food, etc. -- all provided by the Keebler Elves to those folks. Most people are somewhere in between those two groups of very generous to cheapskate.
     
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  13. YouDontKnowShet

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    It really depends on what you're trying to build.
    My 2 cents: Ask for donations for food/whatever. When you're trying to save up for something new, tell them, "As you all know, I don't rake this game. I'm saving up for a popcorn machine, it costs $200, I'm asking for a $15 donation from everyone tonight." If they don't donate, get it from them with your play.

    Don't rake a low-stakes cash game
    - unless you're willing to trade a positive culture for a few bucks on the side.

    I live in Utah, land of dramatic prosecutions on anything fun (see: Footloose). The only legal way to play poker in Utah is if there is nothing risked (no buy-in). Real poker is a class B misdemeanor, so it's a fair gamble. :cigar:

    There are 2 home games I've played in here ($1/$3 NLHE):
    1 takes a 10% rake up to $5 (or so they say, I'm pretty sure I've seen them take more) with tips assumed for the dealer.
    1 only accepts tips for the dealer (the host's wife and himself).

    I like the rake-less game more. Nicer players and cleaner atmosphere. Playing in a rake-less game has it's face-value, but it also creates a culture of good-faith and good people. The players are classy and the feeling is friendly. Understanding that people aren't typically trying to make their friends go felt, it's not going to get you prepared for any kind of high-stakes action. However, it is a nice change-of-pace when comparing to the girl slow-rolling me at the "other" game last week. I don't enjoy being slow-rolled anywhere, but in a home game? C'mon.
     
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