Opening poker website: business features

The poker game’s been going on for hundreds of years. At one time poker was a national card game in the United States. There are a lot of big tournaments with millions of prize funds. But the real boom in poker occurred with the advent of the Internet. Now anyone can try their luck in a mini-tournament at any time of day. It is enough to have a phone or a computer with a connection to the Internet.

How difficult is it to create your poker room and earn money on the excitement of players? Let’s look at the items.

Features of the business model in online poker

What do the poker room organizers do for a living? Each of the players pays the so-called rake. This is a payment for the game. This is either a fixed fee or a small percentage of the bank. If you have a large number of hands, the amount is quite decent.


That is, the task of the owner of the room is to attract as many players as possible and make them play as many games as possible. If a visitor will visit the site every day and spend several hours for cards, then only for the rake he will pay a few hundred dollars a month. This is almost a perfect client.

If the player very often loses, the loss of money on the rake for him becomes very noticeable. In order not to lose the client, the organizers use the so-called rakeback. That is, as in the case of bank cashback, return part of the rake.

The size of a rakeback can vary widely, from a few percents to a few dozen. Its size can be linked to different activities: the number and duration of games (a day, a week and a month), the ratio of winnings to losses, the experience of the player on the site, and so on.

Rakeback is one of the most powerful marketing tools of the poker site organizer. Rake and rakeback have a direct impact on both casino income and player satisfaction.

Participants pay a separate tournament fee for tournaments. It can reach up to 10% of the bank.

Competition in the poker business

It’s huge. Your new website will have a hard time competing with monsters like PokerStars, Full Tilt, 888 or Bet365. These companies have everything: fame, authority, long history, huge advertising budgets, all possible analytics about the state and development of the market. What can make players leave for a new project?

Of course, there are options. You can, for example, work in a local market that is not yet interesting to large companies. Or have access to a large audience. Or work with a certain technology (VR, Blockchain, Bitcoin). Or just have your vision of the ideal poker room and understanding of how to interest them in a certain segment of the audience.

Promotion of online poker room

You can write interesting content about the features of the game of poker, winning strategies and the like. Then distribute it through social networks. The same content can be used to attract traffic from search engines (SEO). And also the creation of video clips and even podcasts based on it.

Contextual advertising is more difficult. It is not always possible to promote poker in Google Adwords or Facebook through advertising. You must have a poker license that covers the countries where you are going to show contextual ads. Otherwise, all you can count on is blocking the ad campaign.

In poker are very important personal qualities of the player, his ability to quickly analyze the situation and make balanced decisions. Not surprisingly, some regular people call themselves masters of this game. Some of them regularly stream on platforms like And if they play well or at least comment on their actions, they quickly gain an audience. Ironically, many people are interested in watching someone else play online poker. However, if the streamers of computer games and cyber-sports matches gather tens of thousands of viewers, why should you be surprised by the streamers on poker?

These streamers can (and should!) buy advertising, place them in a referral link to your site. It is best if such a presenter will play on your site and tell about it to their viewers. Strimmers usually agree to this practice, especially since they do not spend their money. All expenses are paid by the advertiser.

Getting a poker license

As in the case of casinos and sports betting, the opening of a poker room requires a license. In some countries, such as the United States, it will be very difficult to do so. And very expensive. But if you use the licenses of countries with not very well-known names, this problem to bypass is real.

Approximate cost of gambling licenses in island states and off-shore countries:

  • Grenada – $40,000 + $20,000 registration
  • Antigua – $75,000 + $10,000 clearance
  • Costa Rica – $1000000 + $5,000 design
  • Panama – $60,000 + $20,00 clearance

These options are not exhaustive, but you will have a rough idea of the costs of a license.

Without a license, it will be harder for you to accept money from players, buy ads (online and offline) and pay taxes.


In the 21st century, you don’t need to hire programmers and create a site and engine for poker room from scratch. A large number of companies will gladly provide you with ready-made solutions. Problems may arise unless you need to refine the functionality. In this case, it is better to choose a service provider at once, who can refine your site as you develop.


To create your poker room, you will need specialized software plus a significant investment in marketing. It is unlikely that you will be able to attract players from large poker sites, but you can count on niche markets and specific segments of the audience. The risk is considerable, but also the profitability of this type of business at the height.