Does rakeback still make sense while playing online?
First off, in general terms, rakeback is mostly of interest to those who play online cash games at least at a moderate level, like $0,50/$1,00 or higher. Of course you should also be among those who actually beat the game. If you do not, rakeback is of little consequence, since you will still show a negative profit. Borderline, if you break even, the rakeback actually is your profit.
Unlike in the past, there are only a few online poker rooms left today for which external providers offer rakeback. The reason is simple: to calculate the rakeback, the poker room must give the rakeback provider access to the game stats for the players registered through them (that is, the amount of rake generated). But only a few poker rooms are left doing that. And among the rooms that do, there is not a single one of the bigger online poker rooms.
This leads to the problem that you get rakeback only for smaller and mostly dubious providers. Often these are poker rooms that have a gambling license in countries like Curacao or Belize. The risk of losing deposit money or not being able to cash out winnings is very high among such providers, not to mention the danger of such a poker room going bankrupt overnight.
There's also another major drawback: with these smaller providers, you will often find it hard to find a cash game table above $ 1 / $ 2, and there will be a disproportionate number of good players , who also play for rakeback. This of course makes it difficult to make a profit there.
Therefore, we strongly advise against using external rakeback services!
How can you still get some of your rake back?
Well, most major online poker rooms have begun to offer incentives for frequent players. These systems are not usually called rakeback, but it comes down to the same thing. Usually you score points depending on the played level and the generated rake, as well as points for played tournaments. These scoring systems are mostly progressive, i.e. the higher you play, the more points you get per your rake. In addition, most rooms have a "status" system (for example, bronze - silver - gold, etc.), and a higher status means that points are won more quickly. Finally, you can then convert the accumulated points back into real money for your bankroll, which is practically equivalent to a rakeback.
Where do you get the best rewards?
First of all, you should stay away from Pokerstars. Their in-house cashback program has been severely cut back in recent years, to the detriment of the frequent players. You are better off playing at smaller competitors - the tend to reward players better, in order to compete with Stars. These are the rooms that we find have the best in-house reward system:
1. Bet365 - register here
2. Titan Poker - register here
3. Party Poker - register here.
Those a all top-level poker rooms, where you will always find enough action, and where you will get back a not inconsiderable part of your rake.