Loyalty Programs, Promotions Let Online Players Get ‘Rakeback’
For the newbie online poker player, the concept of playing poker at online casino sites could lead to a very basic question: Since I’m playing against other poker players, how is the poker site making money?
For tournament play, the answer is easy. The sites charge entrance fees for the tournament. In cash games, however, the sites charge a “rake” on each poker pot. In other words, the casino site is taking a small cash cut of each pot. A rake of about 5 percent is average at most online poker sites operating in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, but the rates can vary depending on the games and stakes.
Most poker players barely notice that the casino site is taking the rake, especially in lower stakes games. But to be truly successful as an online grinder, knowing the rake at particular sites can be vital. And just as important, each of these sites usually offer various “rakeback” promotions that give you back a part of the rake you contribute to the site.
Sounds complicated, but really all this means is that poker players are paying the rake and should take advantage of any promotion that returns them some of that money.
The easiest way to get rakeback on U.S. poker sites is through loyalty programs. Just like loyalty promotions for casino games, earning certain levels of loyalty points means a cash or bonus return. The more you play, the more you get back.
For example, at BorgataPoker and its partner PartyPoker, players earn iRewards Points at a rate of two iRPs per $1 paid in rake/fees (including tournament fees). Points accumulated—usually calculated on a monthly basis—allow you to rise through various tiers in the loyalty program. Players can then redeem their points for tournament dollars, poker bonuses, or for straight cash back. The higher your level, the better the rewards.
PartyPoker offers a similar program, but rewards a higher rakeback at its premiere levels. That means a greater rakeback—as much as 20 percent—for more serious poker players while BorgataPoker may be the better choice for casual players.
WSOP.com also offers two iRPs per each $1 in rake for its Action Club rewards program. WSOP.com’s partner 888poker offers the same iRP schedule, but like PartyPoker and Borgata, WSOP is designed to reward casual players while 888poker has higher rakeback at premiere loyalty levels.
PalaPoker offers up a loyalty program for poker and bingo that grants status points for rake and tournament fees that can later be changed to rewards points depending on your loyalty level. And PokerStars NJ also offers a tiered-rewards program.
There are other ways to earn rakeback, of course. Most leaderboard promotions, for example, reward players with the most loyalty points earned in a certain time period with extra bonuses on top of their regular loyalty program bonuses. Other promotions such as freerolls also return cash to players.
In the end, one of the keys to making money at online poker is taking advantage of any “rakeback” you can get. That’s where the promotions page at iGamingPlayer.com comes in, allowing you to compare various promotions and rewards programs.
After all, it is your money that you are ultimately getting back.