Vigorish, or simply the vig, also known as juice or the take, is the amount charged by a bookmaker, or bookie, for his services. In the United States it also means the interest on a shark’s loan. The term is Yiddish slang originating from the Russian word for winnings, выигрыш vyigrysh. Bookmakers use this concept to make money on their wagers regardless of the outcome. Because of the vigorish concept, bookmakers should not have an interest in either side winning in a given sporting event. They are interested, instead, in getting equal action on each side of the event. In this way, the bookmaker minimizes his risk and always collects a small commission from the vigorish. The bookmaker will normally adjust the odds, or line, to attract equal action on each side of an event.
The concept is also sometimes referred to as the overround, although this is technically different, being the percentage the event book is above 100% whereas the vigorish is the bookmaker’s percentage profit on the total stakes made on the event. For example, 20% overround is vigorish of 16 2⁄3%. The connecting formulae are v = o⁄(1 + o) and o = v⁄(1 − v) where o is overround.
It is simplest to assume that vigorish is factored in proportionally to the true odds, although this need not be the case. Under proportional vigorish, a moneyline odds bet listed at −100 vs. −100 without vigorish (fair odds) could become −110 vs. −110 with vigorish factored in. Under disproportional vigorish, it could become −120 vs. +100.
- In table poker, the vigorish, more commonly called the rake, is a fraction of each bet placed into the pot. The dealer removes the rake from the pot after each bet (or betting round), making change if necessary. The winner of the hand gets the money that remains in the pot after the rake has been removed. Most casinos take 5-10% of the pot, capping the total rake at $3 or $4.
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