Sunday, September 1, 2013

The best Poker bonuses for 2013 - a surprising tale of maths and ingenuity

I hadn't played Poker in a long while...

I've always loved the bonuses in gambling. The free bets when you sign up at a bookies, the free tip from a mate that comes up trumps ... and, of course, the bonuses in Poker. But it had been a while for me, a long while since I'd been out of the game. I can't remember exactly what it was that gave me the bug again, but recently I found myself having to research the best poker bonus. The results, to say the least, were surprising.

The first trick they play on you

There's usually a trick in most advertising. Look hard enough and you'll usually find the subtle psychological ploys the ad men use. For Poker bonuses it's no different. Big headlines screaming $2000 or £1200 instantly make you think, "Wow, that's a big bonus!". Of course, it's never that easy, is it? To get the bonus, you need to play poker. That much I already knew. So, a bonus of £1200 doesn't mean a grand+ instantly in your pocket. You earn your bonus. But each room has different conditions on exactly how it should be earnt. The question I had was "which room makes it the easiest for me to get the most money?". It was time to get out the calculator...

Doing the math

So, how was I going to do this? First off, I familiarised myself with the process of how you go about earning your bonus. At most sites, the bonus is released to you in stages. As you play poker on the site, you pay rake (a commission to the poker site to play). As you pay rake, you earn your bonus. So the Poker site is never losing - all the bonus is, is essentially a discount on your rake. I decided to pick 4 of the top Poker sites, examine their websites, and work out exactly which one was giving the highest discount...

So which sites give you the best discount on your rake?

Well, there wasn't too much of a difference, but a difference there was...It worked out like this:

Site % Discount
Betsafe 36
Betfair 29.8
William Hill 29.4
888 Poker 20

By the looks of it above, Betsafe is the clear winner. It gives you a whopping 36% discount on the rake you pay (until you've earnt the full bonus amount). So was that the one I ended up choosing?

Why I didn't choose the site that paid the highest bonus...

No I didn't! You see, although Betsafe may offer the best bonus by the numbers, there's one little problem. Unlike the other sites, they don't pay out the bonuses until you have earnt it all. So you only get the discount after you have paid $6944 in rake, for the $2000 bonus. And you have to earn that in 43 days. That's quite a challenge, and extremely risky.

So who did I end up choosing?

Well, I ended up going for Betfair. It gives a great 29.8% discount on your rake, it pays off the bonus in $5 increments and it's rewards program is one of the best too. (But that's the subject for another post.) In the meantime, if you're looking for the best Poker bonus in 2013, you can do a lot worse that Betfair's...