Rake is a fee taken by the poker room for allowing players to play at their tables. Rake fees vary from casino to casino but you can expect to pay a set dollar amount per hour or a percentage of each pot.
The money from the rake goes towards paying for dealers, poker room staff, the running of the poker room and profit for the casino itself.
Online rake fees are a little different and are generally slightly less than land based casinos. To start with, there are no dealers and fewer staff, so wage bills are lower. There is the cost of running the poker software and website and, of course, the online poker room needs to make a profit too!
Online poker rooms usually cap the rake taken at around $3 on the ring tables. Smaller stake players can expect to pay small rakes, whilst high rollers will probably be paying out the maximum rake on most hands.
Tournaments take a rake too. This is known as a tournament fee, or commonly referred to as 'juice,' For example a $100+$10 means $100 goes to the tournament prizepool whilst $10 goes directly to the poker room.
The rake back business is becoming a popular one online, players, especially cash game players, are becoming more and more interested in ways to pay less rake and increase their overall profits. Carbon Poker offers all players a percentage of their rake back. This is a unique bonus system which max's out at 50%. If you are a heavy cash game player, this return of rake will be a huge boost to your profits. Poker Works has an in-depth review of CarbonPoker, why not take a look?
As internet poker evolves the online poker room rakes will become more competitive, this is great news for online players.