View Full Version : At what limit do you stop being a bonus whore?

11-24-2005, 05:56 PM
I was just wondering this, what limit do you guys think makes bonus whoring unnecessary and less EV, providing you are a winner at your limit?

Also, can somebody school me in how to calculate how much you can expect to make in rakeback for a given period of time? Thanks!

Arnfinn Madsen
11-24-2005, 06:09 PM
The best bonuses beats rakeback all the way up to at least 100/200. I think it is just that when players play mid-/high-limits the bonus is to small moneywise for them to bother. I play 15/30 and I still do the juiciest bonuses, but I think I am an exception /images/graemlins/smile.gif.

11-24-2005, 06:10 PM
Bonus whoring would always be +EV since bonus money is better than no money. The difference it will make to your bankroll, however, is reduced.

11-24-2005, 06:25 PM
Thanks for the info you guys. I definitely have a much smaller bankroll and playing lower than you are, so I think I'll definitely have to keep pursuing these bonuses to build my bankroll. What do you mean by the "best" bonuses tho? Which sites and clearing rates would you consider in that realm for a 5/10 SH guy like me? Which bonuses currently out now do you see worth doing, since there are a ton?

Arnfinn Madsen
11-24-2005, 06:50 PM
When there is a bonus at Stars it is great for 5/10SH. It think it gives you a bit above 100% rakeback (have no stats on it). Also the Action Poker network bonuses (tigergaming.com, jimfeistpoker.com, mtpoker.com, pokerincanada.com & superiorpoker.com) are great for 5/10 SH. The drawback there is that it is quite dead Eurotime, but on US evenings you can play 2-3 tables 3-6 handed. I have cleared $5k on TigerGaming.

11-24-2005, 07:10 PM
Here's something I wrote about Bonuswhoring/ Rakeback/ fishiness. The numbers for rakeback come from www.o8poker.com. (http://www.o8poker.com.) Average size pots are probably a bit bigger for O8 than Hold'em, so this might affect the analysis slightly, but it's approximate anyway.

I. Bonus, Rakeback, or Fish?

A common question among online players is whether they should chase rakeback and bonuses, even if it requires them to play on sites with better players. The correct answer is: it depends. However, in general, it is best to chase bonuses at the low limits, get rakeback at middle to high limits, and play against fish at the ultra-high limits. For example, imagine you are going to play 100 hands of poker with the following three choices:

1) Clear a 10x played hands bonus
2) Get 33% rakeback
3) Play at an ultra-fishy table

Let's compare the options for three different limits: $1/$2, $10/$20, and $100/$200.

At $1/$2, you will pay approximate 8.7 cents of rake per hand. Over 100 hands, that's $8.70 in rake, such that a 33% rakeback deal will net you $2.90, or 1.45BB/100 hands.

By comparison, clearing a 10x bonus gives you $10, or 5BB/100 hands.

Increasing the fishiness of the table is hard to estimate, but consider the following: A very good win rate for $1/$2 is 3BB/100. This is assuming that you're playing on a fairly standard table, which is to say, a fairly fishy one. An extremely fishy table might get you up to 4BB/100, whereas a TAG-filled, solid table could wipe out your profit entirely or even put you slightly in the negative. But, even the difference between the best and worst possible tables is at most 4BB/100, and that's being extremely generous. The difference in the quality of players between sites is rarely, if ever, that large. Most of the time, the "fish factor" will increase your win rate by 1-2BB/100 over a less fishy table.

Therefore, the bonus is by far the best.

Now, consider a middle-high limit table: $10/$20.

At this table, you're paying an average of 31.7 cents per hand in rake, or $31.7/ 100 hands. 33% rakeback will give you $10.66, compared to the $10 bonus. (Note that this seems impossible at first, because the rake is usually capped at $3, or 30 cents/ person at a ten handed table. But the table won't always be ten-handed, which increases your share of the rake slightly. However, whenever there is a rake, it will almost always be the full $3.)

A majorly fishy table that increases your win rate is much better than this, but you're not going to find as many fish at $10/$20, and the skill difference between them and the good players isn't nearly as great as at $1/$2. Thus you should probably not count on more than a .5BB/100 increase from the fish factor, or $10/100 hands.

So at $10/$20, all 3 are about the same. Higher rakeback, a better bonus, or a super fishy table should point you in that direction. Keep in mind that some sites like Absolute give you bottomless bonuses + rakeback.

Finally, at the very high $100/$200 game, rakeback will net you about the same as in the $10/$20 game, because whenever the rake is taken (i.e., when there's a flop), the rake is already capped at the maximum $3. It will usually reach this same cap at $10/$20, but there might be a few hands that see a flop but only get $40-$60 in the pot and thus have only a $2 rake. We'll estimate $11/100 hands rakeback at this level. The bonus is still good for $10. But here, a fishy table makes all the difference in the world. Again, fish are tougher to find at this level, and even a $100/$200 "fish" is probably a pretty decent player. So you shouldn't count on more than about a .25BB/100 difference between a good and bad table. Still, this works out to an extra $50/100 hands, well more than either rakeback or bonuses.

11-25-2005, 01:02 PM

Nice analysis, but if a fishy table was worth +20 BB/100 over a normal table at the lower limits, how would that change your analysis? /images/graemlins/wink.gif

11-25-2005, 01:46 PM
I play NL 400- NL 1,000 and I still whore. My favorite sites to whore are pokerstars, pokerroom, and party. Pokerroom takes a little bit longer for me to clear, but still worth it I think.