What is a ‘Table Charge’?
A table charge is the set fee which is taken by the host of a poker game. It is a fixed amount paid by each player, usually at the same time as they buy in for their chips. In most cases, the table charge replaces the rake or collection, so pots are kept by the players with no further cost. Sometimes the charge and the collection are used together.
‘Table Charge’ Explained
If a player opts to play their poker in a casino or a cardroom, they should expect to pay some form of fee for the privilege. In the casino, most games make money for the operator through the inclusion of a house edge. This is a tipping of the odds in the favour of the casino, so that they retain more of the bets placed than they pay out. For example, in the game of roulette, players would be able to make a 50-50 bet on a colour or on odds/evens, and therefore win half the time. By adding the zero, and even the double zero, the house edge is created. Poker is an exception – players bet against each other, so there is no room for a casino advantage. Instead, a fee or collection is added to the game.
If a poker game has a table charge, this means that players must pay a set fee to enter the game. This is usually taken at the start of the game, as the player buys their chips for the game. The fee often replaces the collection or rake, which is a cut taken from each pot or taken at timed intervals throughout the game. However, some casinos will have an initial table charge as well as some form of timed rake, though this additional collection might not be activated until later in the game.