PokerStars rake adheres to a “no flop, no drop” policy, meaning that no money is taken out of hands that end on the first betting round (before the flop in Hold’em and Omaha, before Fourth Street in Stud games, and before the Draw in Draw games).
Pre-2012, PokerStars rake structure used to be that they take 5% rake of every pot up to $2 at low stakes, $3 at mid stakes, $5 at the very highest stakes, and $0.50 in heads-up pots.
An incremental system was used, whereby no rake was taken until the pot reached certain fixed sizes, e.g. 5 cents per dollar. For example a $0.99 pot at 25nl would be rake-free, a $1.01 or $1.99 pot would both be raked 5 cents, a $2.01 pot would be raked 10 cents, and so on.
Since 2012, PokerStars now uses a linear rake system which starts raking from the first cent. This on the surface is bad news for players, but to compensate PokerStars lowered the 5% figure and the size of the rake caps. Overall rake levels were made even lower - especially for microstakes players - and PokerStars remains the site with the lowest rake online.
Tournament buy-ins are divided into two separate pieces: one large piece for the prize pool, and a smaller piece to cover PokerStars’ hosting costs. This latter piece represents the “rake” of the tournament, and it is typically is between 6-10% of the total buy-in.
All tournament buy-ins on PokerStars are described using this two-part system. So in a $100 + $9 tournament, for example, for each entry, $100 goes to the prize pool and $9 rake goes to PokerStars.
PokerStars uses the weighted-contributed method to calculate rake contribution. This means that for every hand, you receive rake credit proportionally based on how much you contribute to the size of the pot.
If you fold preflop, you earn no rakeback, and for all heads-up pots you play you share the rewards equally with your opponent. In a three-handed pot where all three players see the river and the pot was raked $3, you'll receive a percentage rakeback credit for $1 of rake each - i.e. if you earn about 50% rakeback as a repeat Supernova VIP, you'll receive $0.50 in rewards for that pot.
PokerStars rakeback comes in the form of Frequent Player Points (FPPs) that are awarded to players based on how much rake they contribute, which can then be converted to cash at the PokerStars VIP Store. There are also stellar rewards and milestone bonuses for hitting new VIP levels.
Overall, PokerStars rakeback returns range from 12% to 74% based on VIP level.
Up to 30% Rakeback + €1000 Bonus
Up to 70% Rakeback + None Bonus
Up to 22.2% VIP Rakeback + $500 Bonus
Up to 30% VIP Rakeback + $600 Bonus
Up to 30% Rakeback + $1000 Bonus
Up to 27% Rakeback + $1000 Bonus