weather you play cash or or sit and goes whatever real money
games you play the site takes a fee from the pot. in sit and goes or tournaments it will be a registration fee so typically a $10 tourny will take $11 with $10 been put into the pool from that and the site pocketing that $1 for themselves. in cash games usually they take 5% of every pot at low stakes it gets less % wise as the stakes increase.
in the past the sites used to offer rake back to players who signed up asking for it before they did. this was literally what it sounds like theyd get a % of the fee or rake the site charged back.
however now most sites have stopped this practice and only use a vip program this is where you get loyalty points for every amount of money in rake or fees they make from you. depending on your activity level this can be up to 33%.
making a 10% roi (return of investment or in simpler terms profit) per sit and go you play is generally considered very good.
so if you played a $10 sit and go $11 in total making $1.10 would profit on average would be considered very good. now if you get 33% of the fee back thats an additional 33cents and that adds up thats 30% of your total profit a nice increase. however online is becoming much more competitive and most players struggle to make a 5% roi now which would be 55c in this example.
thats a 60% bonus to your roi.
so you can see that this is a very important thing.
btw if you reach the highest levels on poker stars you can expect 45%+ rake back but very few players ever achieve that status level.
i make about 3-4% roi and the site takes on average over $1000 in rake from me each month. i still make a profit but im sure you can appreciate how much the rake eats into that, and therefore rakeback is fundemental for any serious player.