Thursday, March 24, 2005

Full Tilt v Party Poker Bonus Comparison

I've been following with interest the various posts about the Full Tilt Poker bonus. Like most other people, I have only gradually been grinding my way through it, and I began to wonder why it was taking so long.

Since I've just commenced another Party Poker bonus work-off, I thought I'd do a quick comparison of the two and analyse why the Full Tilt bonus takes so long to clear. This is based on my standard game - 2/4 Limit Hold 'Em full ring games.

Since the Full Tilt bonus offers a much higher maximum payoff, I've restricted the comparison to $200 - the maximum that can be gained from the current Party Poker offer. Our two scenarios are:

- Full Tilt Poker sign up bonus. 100% to $600. So in our case, assume a deposit of $200 to qualify for a $200 bonus.

- Party Poker reload bonus. 20% to $200. So in our case, assume a deposit of $1000 to qualify for a $200 bonus.

The Party Poker bonus requirements are quite straightforward. 7 raked hands per dollar of bonus, played within 7 days of depositing. This means we need to play 1400 raked hands within 7 days to claim our $200. A raked hand in Party Poker 2/4 is any hand where the pot equals $20 or more. Given the looseness of Party players, most hands exceed that total. Indeed some tables can have average pot sizes as high as $40. Certainly $25 to $30 average pots are common.

Therefore not much more than 1400 hands actually played will be required to claim the bonus. Lets say 1500 for arguments sake.

Full Tilt Poker has a more complex qualifying structure. Each raked dollar contributes a point towards the bonus earned. Each point in turn translates into $0.06. This doesn't sound a lot, however a $20 pot on Full Tilt contributes a $2 rake (with 4+ players in the pot), so if the average pot per hand was $20 then for each hand played, we would earn $0.12.

Therefore to earn a $200 bonus, assuming an average $20 pot, we would need to play 200/0.12 hands, which equates to 1670 hands. Not much more than Party!!

Add to this the fact that Full Tilt release bonus in $20 installments, and a hand of less than $20 will still contribute a small amount to the Full Tilt bonus, whereas on Party it goes uncounted, and suddenly the Full Tilt bonus doesn't seem such a bad deal.

When you take into account the magnitude of the multiplier - 100% v 20% - suddenly Full Tilt starts to look like a very good deal again. Remember we have staked $200 on Full Tilt to earn $200. On Party Poker we have staked $1000 to earn $200.

So, why are people so unhappy with Full Tilt? Well, in my opinion, it's down to the player style.

Full Tilt seems initially to have attracted a lot of bonus hungry whores, much like myself. What do good bonus whores (good low-limit poker players) do when they are sitting in late position with 76s, UTG raises and everyone folds to them? They fold of course! As, probably, do both blinds. Leaving a pot of $7 to be claimed. On Party you'd probably see four callers and a pot heading for $20 pre flop.

For the first few weeks on Full Tilt I saw dozens and dozens of hands go down in this, or similar, ways. The result, lots of very small pots, and very few bonus points earned.

Fret not, for help is at hand. As mentioned in previous posts, there seems to have been a noticeable loosening up over the last week or two. I don't know why this is.

Living in the UK, I'm not aware how much Full Tilt are advertising in the US - though I did like their online adverts! Maybe the fishes have scented the bait - but the callers are getting looser, the pots bigger, which means more bonus more quickly.

So, hang on in there, and I think you will see your Full Tilt Poker bonus gradually migrate to your Neteller accounts.

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