PokerStars Rakeback Value and Bonus Offers
PokerStars.com is the largest online poker site in terms of both real money player volume and rewards offered to their players. If you’re looking for a PokerStars Rakeback deal, stop searching and read further. PokerStars does not offer direct rakeback, you won’t find it at a rakeback site or in a third party private offer. What PokerStars does offer is bonuses, promotions and an amazing VIP program that account for a combined value significantly higher than the 27 percent rakeback deals offered at their largest competitor.
The value at PokerStars begins with their $600 sign up bonus, and then expands to their free roll tournaments, milestone hand promos, tournament leader boards and then to their VIP program. This value we’ll often refer to in this article as PokerStars rakeback equivalent or PokerStars rakeback percentage, as we’re attempting to compare it against their competitor’s offers. We’ll start with the PokerStars Bonus and then get into the meat of the rakeback calculations towards the end of the article.
PokerStars Sign up Bonus
PokerStars welcomes new players with a 100% up to $600 sign up bonus. What’s nice is that this bonus is not only for players who’ve rolled enough to deposit $600. PokerStars will match a player’s first three deposits for up to 90 days at 100% up to a combined total of $600 in bonus cash. Join PokerStars.com now and you’ll have 6 months from the date of your fist deposit to clear the full bonus.
PokerStars Points Programs
The heart of PokerStars Rakeback value comes from their “Points Program”. There are two different types of points in PokerStars points program, which are defined below to reduce confusion when reading further about PokerStars Rakeback.
FPP – Frequent Player Points: These are the actual points a player receives when paying a tournament buy-in or participating in a raked hand. This amount is determined by a players VIP level, with VPP (see below) acting as the base, and their VIP level acting as a multiplier which determines the actual number of FPP awarded.
VPP – VIP Player Points: This is the base amount of points earned for both playing raked hands and buying into PokerStars tournaments. VPP points are used to determine a player’s VIP Program tier level and towards clearing sign up bonuses. The actual number of FPP a player earns for an action uses VPP as the base and VIP tier level as the multiplier.
PokerStars VPP Points are earned as follows:
5.5 VPPs are earned for each $1 paid in tournament entry fees. For example, a $20+$2 tournament will earn a player 11 VPP.
In ring games 6 VPPs are awarded when the total rake of the pot reaches $1. All players dealt into the hand then split the points equally.
Rakeback Value of Sign up Bonus
To give our first look at how much this translates in terms of rakeback value: The PokerStars.com sign up bonus is 100% up to $600 clearing at 17 VPP per bonus dollar. This means $3 worth of tournament buy-ins will equal $1 in cleared bonus. Simple math shows us that when using the tournaments to clear the bonus 33% PokerStars rakeback is earned. The brilliant part is that we haven’t even scratched the surface yet in terms of the actual PokerStars rakeback value, because the 17VPP used to clear that bonus dollar also earned FPP points which have a significant additional value. More on that to come later, but first let us introduce the PokerStars VIP program so you can see just how many FPP points can be earned.
PokerStars.com VIP Program
The PokerStars.com VIP Program is extensive. At the heart of it are the FPP points which can be used a variety of different ways including purchasing PokerStars bonuses, entering tournaments, entering freerolls or redeeming them for merchandise such as electronics, travel tickets, gift certificates and more in the PokerStars VIP store. A Player progresses through VIP tier levels based on their VPP earnings. The higher the tier a player has reached, the more FPP points they’ll earn for each raked hand played and each dollar spent on tournament buy-ins. As the FPP earnings rate increases, so does the PokerStars rakeback equivalent they receive.
PokerStars VIP Tier Levels and Benefits
Below is a table showing the different PokerStars.com VIP levels, as well as how many FPP points they’ll be given for each VPP earned:
As you can see, FPP points can add up in a hurry. There are many ways to use these points, and the highest value way is to save up 5 million FPP and purchase an Aston Martin from the VIP store. In this scenario, each FPP is worth about 2.4 cents each. This is of course not practical for most players, so we’ll get more practical below and leave out SuperNova elite from this discussion.
The most practical way for many players to get the highest PokerStars rakeback equivalent out of their FPP points is to save up 250,000 and then purchase $4,000 cash bonus from the PokerStars cashier. When using this option, the FPP value is 1.6 cents per FPP.
For those looking to redeem quicker, the best option is a $215 PokerStars tournament entry ticket for 13,500 points (1.59 cent per FPP point value).
Also one might consider the following bonuses which are available from the PokerStars VIP store:
Silver Star -5,000 FPP for $50 Bonus – 350 VPPs to clear
Gold Star – 25,000 FPP for $285 Bonus – 1,995 VPP to clear
Platinum Star – 50,000 FPP for $650 Bonus 4,500 VPP to clear
SuperNova – 100,000 FPP for $1,500 Bonus 10,500 VPP to clear
Using these bonuses as opposed to the concierge option or $215 tournament ticket option will reduce a player’s PokerStars rakeback equivalent. The $1,500 SuperNova bonus is worth 1.5 cents per FPP (compared to 1.61 for concierge, and 1.59 for $215 tournament). This drops down significantly for the lower levels, with the $650 platinum bonus worth 1.3 cents per FPP, and the $285 gold bonus worth 1.14 cents per FPP.
PokerStars Rakeback Examples
As a player concerned with maximizing rakeback equivalent, you’ll want to aim to qualify as a platinum star each month. From experience I can tell you playing a few tables for 5 or 6 hours per night at $3/$6 to $5/$10 fixed limit, I’ve had plenty of days where I exceeded 1,000 VPP earned, so really while it does take some table hours, the goal of 7,500 VPP per month is a walk in the park for full time players, and reasonable for most part time players. When January rolls around it would be wise to up the goal a little and shoot for SuperNova status by that year’s end.
On this page, we’ve covered most of what a player needs to calculate the rakeback equivalent of the PokerStars VIP program. It is difficult for us to calculate this for every player individually, because it depends entirely on stakes played, players per hand, and how much each pot is raked. Knowing your own game preferences, it will be easier for you to do the math yourself. Here is a table of roughly what rakeback percentage you can get for each VIP status if you save up and buy the maximum cash bonus:
You can run the numbers yourself as your own stakes. No matter how you crunch the numbers though, a little research will finally put to bed the rumor that the PokerStars’ competitor offering 27 percent rakeback has a better deal. This is a myth that was spread by a large number of their affiliates pimping that deal in order to convert players and earn large affiliate commissions. It was a believable myth and caught on, but it always has been a myth nonetheless.
Now that we’ve established that PokerStars.com (which is by far the largest online poker site) offers the best promotional value to their players (highest rake return), why not open an account today at the PokerStars website.