How To Compare Poker Loyalty Schemes

best loyalty poker schemeAll poker sites offer their regular players incentives to stay around. After all, if they did not people would simply leave for the next room offering them a welcome bonus!

Unfortunately, comparing the benefits from these different schemes is not straightforward.

Complicated progression through different levels, multipliers on points earned, tournament entries with different field sizes and prize pools and many rewards which are not cash-based create a confusing picture.

This article takes you through some easy tips for comparing the rewards at the leading sites. For readers outside of the US, you can get side-by-side comparisons of the value of loyalty programs using my VIP Rewards Comparison Widget over at sister-site SNG Planet – try it here.

How To Compare Poker Loyalty Schemes?

#1 – What Level Will You Reach?

To find out what VIP level you will reach, you need to have an idea of the value and volume of games you put in and the rake (fees) you will pay. Start with a daily estimate, then work out how many points you’ll get and multiply by how many days you plan to play a month. Next you can check the tiers of the schemes which match your rake.

Here is the most important part.

All the schemes give you ‘points’ faster once you move up the levels of their loyalty scheme. This can range from 1.1x to 5x for different schemes. Once you know this multiplier, you can find out if your real points total will move you up higher than you expected.

If you are not sure how much time you can commit I would recommend staying on the smaller side, it is very easy to overestimate – especially if you have recently caught the poker bug!

The final calculation is usually in the form of a percentage of your fees returned. Multiplying your daily rake by this percentage will give you the amount of cash and bonuses that you will enjoy from each site.

#2 – Are There Any Additional Schemes?

In addition to the main points / tiers systems, many sites have side-schemes. Examples include PokerStars ‘Stellar Rewards’, Titan Poker’s ‘Titan Treasures’ and the missions and challenges which run at Party Poker.

While these are aimed at the more recreational player types, the money can add up. For example ‘Stellar Rewards’ can be worth up to $1200 per year on top of the normal VIP rewards scheme. Titan Treasures could be worth more. This is harder to measure, since you need to complete missions and get ‘gold coins’ which can be turned into bonuses. If you do not that the challenges are right for you (or, more likely, that your time is better spent winning money from your regular game) – then it can be best to leave this particular extra alone.

#3 – Tournament Entries – Free And Paid.

poker points schemes articleMost loyalty scheme offer exclusive tournaments, and some entry into paid events (RedKings FishMarket tickets for example). With the bigger sites these tourneys can have big prize pools, like $30k weekly and $100k monthly games at PokerStars.com.

When comparing loyalty schemes, putting a value on these can be tricky – and is very much down to the preferences and experience level of the individual players.

For example, a $30k VIP tournament might well attract 10,000 entrants, averaging $3 each. If your skills are far better, this game might be worth 2x or even 3x the average – but it will take you 6 hours to complete.

If you are early in your poker career and wish to gain experience (and maybe catch a nice win) then these games can be valuable.

If you are already grinding the cash games and would be giving up profit by focusing on these crazy loose tournament minefields, then the value might not match the benefits for you.

#4 – What Else Can You Do With The Points You Earn?

Many sites now have online stores which you can spend the points you earn from real money play in. PokerStars is probably the biggest, with everything from tournament entries (Sunday Million for just 13,500 points!) to a Porsche Cayman!

For the regular players, there are smaller things like apparel, chipsets and ipods too. This should be a final check before you commit to one site – make sure you get a great choice of what to do with your points. Some sites (Bovada + Titan) even let you buy into regular tournaments in their schedule using these.

Best Loyalty Program Overall

For non-US players Titan Poker come out on top, their rewards are the biggest for anyone above the micro-limits – and the cool Titan Treasures is an additional extra which gives you bonuses of up to $1000.

US Players should head over to Carbon Poker on the Merge Network – this is the only loyalty scheme with daily cash-back, up to 40% of your fees depending on which tier you are in. This is in addition to the most generous welcome package of any site worldwide. Find out more at www.carbonpoker.ag