Avoid Becoming a Rakeback Monkey

You probably have no idea what rakeback monkey is because I made the word up just now. But it definitely doesn’t sound good, does it? In its simplest definition, a rakeback monkey is a poker player who doesn’t make any money outside of his rakeback payments. This is a breakeven or slightly losing poker player who depends on rakeback for his livelihood.

Many rakeback monkeys used to be pretty good at poker but they got so into multi-tabling and earning the biggest rakeback payments possible that they stopped exercising their minds a long time ago. They just log in, turn on 10 tables of low stakes Holdem and zone out for a few hours. At the end of the month, they collect their rakeback payments, pay the rent and go on their happy ways.

Now first of all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being a rakeback monkey. If you don’t care about moving up in stakes or improving your skills, that’s your decision. In fact, it’s a decision many people make because it beats working your rear off at a mindless job for minimum wage.

The reason I discourage from becoming a rakeback monkey is because it is extremely detrimental to your long term earnings. If you get into the routine of opening up lots of tables and zoning out, you’re not going to learn anything in the meantime. All the other poker players who work harder than you will eventually become more skilled and start eating away at your profits.

Additionally, you don’t want to rely on rakeback for your poker livelihood. There are no guarantees rakeback will always be around. If poker suddenly becomes regulated in the United States and major gambling corporations enter the online poker market, there’s a chance they won’t even allow rakeback. That’s just random speculation but what I’m saying is that if you know how to beat poker, that’s knowledge that can’t be taken away from you.

Also, if you ever decide to play at a live poker venue, your knowledge will take you a long ways there. It’s long been known that live poker games are softer than online poker games. Even if you’re not planning on playing at any live games any time soon, that once again is knowledge that can’t be taken away from you.

And finally, the most convincing argument against becoming a rakeback monkey is a matter of economics. Your rakeback payments are nice and all, but why not work a little harder and win money at the tables in addition to those payments? You’ll be putting in the same amount of hours but earning two, three or four times as much money during those hours. Learning how to win money in addition to your rakeback payments would be like giving yourself the biggest pay raise of your life.

How to Avoid Becoming a Rakeback Monkey

There are several things you can do to avoid becoming a rakeback monkey and they are all pretty simple. The only thing it requires is a little effort.

1. Pay attention to the table at all times

Pay attention to what’s going on at the table even when you’re not playing hands. If you’re playing multiple tables at a time, this is difficult but not impossible. Arrange and resize the tables on your monitor(s) so that they are tiled and you can see all tables at all times. Whenever there’s a showdown, check the hand histories. Take notes on your opponents. Basically, stay alert at the tables.

2. Save your hand histories

Save your hand histories and review the hands that gave you the most trouble. Take a look at the big pots you played in your last session and analyze you and your opponents’ play on each street. Find a poker forum and post these hand histories for discussion with other poker players.

3. Stay up to date with poker strategy

Nobody will ever know everything there is to know about poker. That’s just fine with me, because it means there’s no limit to the pure knowledge you can acquire during your poker career. Read poker strategy books, check out strategy websites / poker forums and watch the top high stakes players in action. You don’t need to be the best player in the world; you only need to be better than the people at your table.