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One of the common topics you’ll see mentioned in the poker blogosphere is bonus whoring. Of course, bonus whoring is the act of playing on a particular site in order to take advantage of a reload or some other type of promotional bonus. Many people chase bonuses from site to site and even include bonuses in their monthly win/lose figures. The more I’ve thought about it though, the more I’m beginning to question the wisdom of bonus whoring.

At the micro-limits the benefit if substantial. Someone with a $100 bankroll who deposits an additional $1000 solely to get a 10% reload bonus would double their bankroll (assuming they withdraw the $1000 after they clear the bonus). A player who plays $5/$10 and deposits an additional $1000 into his $3000 bankroll solely to get a 10% bonus would only increase his bankroll by 3.3%.

For someone playing .05/.10 the game selection options are fairly equal across all sites since the lack of skilled competition at that level is fairly normal. The micro-limit player is giving up very little EV by playing at one site vs. another. At higher limits this EV trade-off can be substantial. If site A has 10 games spread at a particular level with a fairly good mix of good and bad players one is +EV over playing at site B which only spreads three games at the same limit with a much tougher group of opponents.

One common bonus whoring tactic is to play limits lower than the person’s normal game. Say for instance I normally play $5/$10 and I sign up at FullTilt with $600 to get the 100% new signup bonus. Six hundred is far too small to play $5/$10 so I drop down to $1/$2 or $2/$4 in order to play lots of hands and clear the bonus. Let’s assume it takes 10,000 hands to fully clear the FullTilt bonus. Here’s the math:

10,000 hands winning at a rate of 2BB per 100 hands

@ $5/$10 total winnings = $2000
@ $2/$4 total winnings = $800
@ $1/$2 total winnings = $400

Even if you only jump down from your normal $5/$10 game to $2/$4 you give up $1200 to make $600. Now one might argue that someone making 2BB per 100 hands at $5/$10 should be able to smash a $2/$4 game for more than 2BB per 100 hands but by how much more? 2.5BB? 3BB? Even at 3BB per 100 hands your 10,0000 hands nets you $1800 including the bonus which still leaves you down $200 vs. just playing your normal $5/$10 game.

Of course, you could always deposit a proper bankroll for your limit at each site but it would seem that if you were a $5/$10 player and had $3000+ deposited at 2 or 3 different sites you would be much better off playing $10/$20 or $15/$30 than you would be chasing $100 and $200 reload bonuses. There’s also the issue to consider that you are constantly playing against weaker opponents which does nothing to improve your game.

The ultimate justification will probably come from those who choose to move their entire bankroll between sites. But even here, you’re tossing months of PokerTracker data out the window in order to chase a relatively small bonus amount. One could make that case that you might make more knowing your opponents better than you would from the bonus given a sufficiently high enough limit. It’s probably the most compelling argument for bonus whoring but when combined with the need to constantly move one’s funds from site to site and the downtime between moves, I would personally find it to be a bigger pain than it’s worth.

All in all, I’m pretty sure that the only benefits of bonus whoring are:

1. You have a very small bankroll and play micro-limit poker making the bonuses a substantial percentage increase in your bankroll.

2. You’re adding additional funds to an existing account where you regularly play.

3. You are changing your site of choice on a permanent or semi-permanent basis.

Other than that, it’s probably -EV. If anyone has a pro-bonus whoring argument I haven’t considered, please leave a comment as I would love to be proved wrong on this one.

12 thoughts to “The Wisdom of Bonus Whoring

  • Swav

    try bonus whoring BJ instead of poker IMO

  • Casino Bonus Whore

    Bonuses in poker are not worth it if you are a decent player. On my site I have tutorials that teach you how you can exploit casino bonuses playing blackjack.

  • Bill

    Curtis Sims said:

    > A. A new poker player. Has an hourly job which pays $10.00/hour. Has a
    > little talent for the game. Read a book or two, opened an account at
    > party, crushed the play money games and is now ready to play for real
    > money.
    >

    Probably +EV as long as they don’t get too carried away with it. A newer playing building a bankroll is a perfect candidate for taking advantage of bonuses.

    > B. A student. Has the choice between finding a summer job or spending the
    > summer and his evenings during the school year whoreing bonuses. Is break
    > even at 3 tables of 1/2. Could make 2.5BB/100 if he played one table and
    > thought about what he was doing.

    Another person who might be better off concentrating on improving instead of trying to play a large number of hands. Bonus whoring is likely luring him into playing more hands and more tables than he should be at this point in his learning curve. Look at that jump. Breakeven to 2.55BB/100 hands. You get better at poker by playing good poker, not by playing poor poker but playing more hands.

    >
    > C. A talented and intelligent individual. Plays whatever it takes to
    > clear the current bonus. Takes every bonus he can find. Wins at 1BB/100
    > at 3/6 3 tabling. Plays as low as quarter fifty if that will clear the
    > bonus he is on. Wishes there were more hours in the day so he could chase
    > more bonus.

    Probably -EV. If someone emailed me this scenario and asked for help on their game I would tell them to play 1 or 2 tables of $3/$6 until they got th eir BB/100 to 2 or better. They could probably be making 1BB/100 or better at 2 tables of $5/$10 by now if they hadn’t stunted their bankroll growth messing around playing .25/.50 games to clear bonuses.

    I think this paints a perfect picture of what I’m talking about though. EV isn’t measured in $100 increments. My faux pas for saying I could win $100 in one hand at $5/$10 but the point stands on the larger issue. Here’s an example of someone who can probably make more money by trying to build a $5/$10 bankroll than he can by messing around trying to 3 table $3/$6 or chase bonuses at micro-limits. You can only get better by playing better. If you dumb down your game in order to play a large qunatity of hands you’re missing fundamental progression steps that will eat you alive at higher limits.

    Perhaps my point is made best with another question; Is it better to stay a mediocre $3/$6 player chasing bonuses or become a $30/$60 player who can clear 1 or 1.5 BB/100? My assertion is that you gain far more by developing your game into a successful $30/$60 regular than it is to devoting time to chasing bonuses and playing in a sub-optimal fashion (i.e. lower limits, bad games because they’re the only ones available, playing weak-tight in order to perserve capital, etc).

    Yes, you can show that over 500 hands given a certain set of circumstances that you’re ahead but if player A is a bonus whore who is willing to give up edges like table selection and earns 1BB/100 with bonuses and player B is constantly focused on increasing his win rate by superior play, player B is likely to have both a bigger bankroll and be a far better player than player A at the end of 1 or 2 years. And the primary reason for this is that:

    a) You’re not always going to be able to find good bonus whoring opportunities. In other words, either the terms will be unfavorable, the game selection on the site will be non-existent, the room will be known for jerking you around on cashing out, etc.

    b) Player B will still be making 2.5BB/100 to player A’s 1BB/100 during those times when no bonuses are available.

    Right now I’m looking at BonusWhores.com’s listing of bonuses. Barring new player bonuses (sooner or later you’re no longer a new player at any site, right?):

    Crazy Poker is offering: 20% to $100 max ($500 deposit required for max bonus). Must play 7x the bonus amount in raked hands to clear bonus.

    FullTilt is offering: Available on first deposit from July 1st to July 31st. 16.6 points are needed for each $1 in bonus money (each point accumulated is worth $0.06). Bonus expires after 60 days.

    Bodog is offering: 20%, no max bonus. Must accumulate 3 Bonus Points for each $1 in bonus money.

    3 reload bonuses out of 33 sites listed. Full Tilt’s seems a little harsh for bonus whores so really you’ve got 2 even worth playing with. Let’s say you do Crazy and Bodog’s bonuses. How long will that take? A week each, maybe. What are you going to do the other two weeks of the month? Player A is going to be earning 1BB/100 and player B is going to be earning 2.5BB/100.

    And when both player A and player B save up enough money to play $5/$10, player B will be far better prepared to play $5/$10 than player A. In fact, if player A is only a 1BB/100 player at $3/$6, he’s likely to get creamed at $5/$10 which validates your previous statement about bonus whores moving up too quickly. He’s not moving up too quickly time-wise, he’s moving up too quickly because he never took the time to focus on increasing his win rate. And in another 6 months, player B will be taking shots at $10/$20 and player A is still going to be struggling to eek out 1BB/100 at $5/$10. Another 6 months and player B is playing $15/$30 and player A is finally starting to post some decent stats at $5/$10.

    EV isn’t measured in $100 or 500 hand increments. EV is a longterm view.

  • Curtis Sims

    Bill said:
    >I think our major disconnect here is that you think most bonus whores are like you while I’m basing my image of the bonus whore on the what I see on the bonus whore websites, blogs, and other poker message boards. I think my image is more accurate.
    [Curt] I am well aware that I am not the average bear. We have both been switching back and forth between what applies to us personally and what applies to people in general.
    Bill said:
    >You may agree or disagree with me on my impression but there’s no argument that there are a significant number of people who admit to playing at lower limits, admit to being no better than break even players at their current limits and only stay ahead of the game via bonuses, and players who do no EV calculation whatsoever and will chase just about any bonus regardless of the conditions.
    [Curt] You are absolutely correct that all of these categories and many more exist.
    Bill said:
    >I have accounts on 3 or 4 sites and I play those sites regularly. I play at those sites because they have good table selection and are generally +EV. Why would I want to chase a $100 bonus at a site with no game selection when I can make that much in one hand at $5/$10?
    [Curt] You can’t make $100 in one hand. Even if you rake a 15bb pot and net $100 you didn’t make $100 on that hand. You made your win rate at 5/10. If you make 2BB/100 that hand made you 20 cents. If you can make 1.5BB/100 at a site where you are getting a bonus that pays 1.5BB/100 then the same hand at the second site made you 30 cents. This is a clear increase of 50% or 1BB/100. If there is only one good table at the second site then you play that table and play as many others as you wish from your primary site. It is still +EV to the extent of the difference.
    Bill said:
    >You state that you have accounts at more than 18 sites but I assume you don’t have money at 18 sites. Now that means that you have to transfer funds around if you’re stuck trying to clear a bonus on a site that has crappy tables. While it’s probably +EV to transfer funds around rather than play at bad tables, why even get yourself into that situation in the first place by playing at sites prone to having no game selection?
    [Curt] First, yes I have money at several sites. No, I don’t have money at 18 or 25 sites at one time. Yes I move a lot of money around. I move sufficient money around often enough that it is worth the time and effort to optimize my EV in the Neteller drawings. There is no down side and no cost to moving money around with Neteller. There is in fact a slight +EV so why wouldn’t I do it as much as is necessary. The only cost associated with moving money is the currency conversion fees at the sites I have accounts in GBP or Euros. All of those sites have monthly bonuses and casino bonuses so I simply leave them funded enough to play one table at each and then play all three at the same time. It costs me 1.9% of my winnings to get the money out but it is very easy money.
    Bill said:
    >Now consider that fact that you’re probably one of the smarter bonus whores out there. Think about all of the people who aren’t as savvy as you are and you can see where my original post is aimed. It’s not that you can’t make money bonus whoring at $5/$10, it’s that the vast majority of people can’t and shouldn’t even try since it’s -EV for them.
    [Curt] Once again, are we talking about bonus whoreing at 5/10 or are we talking about bonus whoring in general.
    For the sake of future discussion I am going to define a few classes of individuals so we can compare apples to apples and lemons to lemons.

    A. A new poker player. Has an hourly job which pays $10.00/hour. Has a little talent for the game. Read a book or two, opened an account at party, crushed the play money games and is now ready to play for real money.

    B. A student. Has the choice between finding a summer job or spending the summer and his evenings during the school year whoreing bonuses. Is break even at 3 tables of 1/2. Could make 2.5BB/100 if he played one table and thought about what he was doing.

    C. A talented and intelligent individual. Plays whatever it takes to clear the current bonus. Takes every bonus he can find. Wins at 1BB/100 at 3/6 3 tabling. Plays as low as quarter fifty if that will clear the bonus he is on. Wishes there were more hours in the day so he could chase more bonus.

    If I had time I could add lots more. Will later.

    Curt

    PS I looked at the thread on BW. Some people wouldn’t know a joke if it bit them on the butt.

  • Bill

    Curtis,

    I think our major disconnect here is that you think most bonus whores are like you while I’m basing my image of the bonus whore on the what I see on the bonus whore websites, blogs, and other poker message boards. I think my image is more accurate. You may agree or disagree with me on my impression but there’s no argument that there are a significant number of people who admit to playing at lower limits, admit to being no better than break even players at their current limits and only stay ahead of the game via bonuses, and players who do no EV calculation whatsoever and will chase just about any bonus regardless of the conditions.

    I have accounts on 3 or 4 sites and I play those sites regularly. I play at those sites because they have good table selection and are generally +EV. Why would I want to chase a $100 bonus at a site with no game selection when I can make that much in one hand at $5/$10? You state that you have accounts at more than 18 sites but I assume you don’t have money at 18 sites. Now that means that you have to transfer funds around if you’re stuck trying to clear a bonus on a site that has crappy tables. While it’s probably +EV to transfer funds around rather than play at bad tables, why even get yourself into that situation in the first place by playing at sites prone to having no game selection?

    Now consider that fact that you’re probably one of the smarter bonus whores out there. Think about all of the people who aren’t as savvy as you are and you can see where my original post is aimed. It’s not that you can’t make money bonus whoring at $5/$10, it’s that the vast majority of people can’t and shouldn’t even try since it’s -EV for them.

    Bill

  • Curtis Sims

    [Bill Remarked:]

    I think the beauty of your response is that you’re arguing with me but making the same exact points I am. I said that bonus whoring is +EV for some and -EV for others. It’s not an automatic +EV situation for everybody. I said that people should figure out whether or not it was +EV or -EV and act accordingly.

    Your Point Was:

    All in all, I’m pretty sure that the only benefits of bonus whoring are:

    1. You have a very small bankroll and play micro-limit poker making the bonuses a substantial percentage increase in your bankroll.

    My Point Was:

    Bonus whoreing is different for different people and different situations but I will put it to you that any low to mid stakes (1/2 to 10/20) player can, with very little effort find +EV whoreing opportunities. If you can prop at 5/10 or better for 100% rake back that is going to be better than virtually all whoreing opportunities.

    There is a world of difference between the skill level and bankroll requirements of under bankrolled micro limit and 4 tabling 5/10 6max. And I will still hold that a player who can 4 table 5/10 6max can find profitable whoreing opportunities.

    I don’t have the problem yet of exceeding the levels where whoreing is profitable. I play 5/10 but not more than 2 tables at a time and I don’t play more than 3 tables at 3/6 except opening a fourth to find a better table. As I have accounts at many more than 18 sites I can find a good game somewhere. If no site has enough good tables I will play 2 sites at once. I prop at 100% rake back at levels to 5/10 but whoreing 3 tables at 3/6 is +EV over one table of 5/10 with rake back. I still whore; I am just pickier in the bonuses I chase. When I can prop 10/20 on two tables comfortably it will be time to stop whoreing. I ain’t there yet. :-)

  • Bill

    > Here we have a classic example of the old standby GIGO (garbage in garbage
    > out). I will take it one error at a time:
    >
    > “One common bonus whoring tactic is to play limits lower than the person’s
    > normal game.” Where did this come from?

    [Bill Remarked:]

    It came from reading tens if not hundreds of blog and message board posts from people who bonus whore.

    > A knowledgeable bonus whore
    > plays at the level that gives him the best EV within his skill and
    > bankroll.

    [Bill Remarked:]

    After reading the thread on the bonus whores site where they wished me cancer for pointing out that they were -EV for most online casinos, I can assure you that this is not the case with many bonus whores. Let’s put it this way, when one of the comments about the Empire account closings is that the person is going to need to hit the bonuses hard so he can last through the end of the year . . . that doesn’t really sound like someone who has any clue about playing at a level which is +EV for them.

    > This may or may not be at a level lower than the highest level
    > that he can afford to play. The biggest problem I see with whores is that
    > their bankroll expands beyond their skill level and they move up to fast.
    > Most of the $1/$2 whores are at that level because they don’t have the
    > skill to move up.

    [Bill Remarked:]

    Which, whether you realize it or not, was my point. Anybody who plays thousands and thousands of hands clearing bonuses and can’t graduate beyond $1/$2 has more serious problems than moving up too fast. I can guarantee you that one of their problems is likely to be that they play for preservation of capital instead of the aggressive type of poker it takes to move up the limits. They’re more worried about clearing that $100 bonus and breaking even on their play than they are about improving their game. I can’t think of anything more -EV for anybody who wants to play this game for any real period of time. They play weak/tight. Weak/tight is a break-even strategy.

    >
    > “Say for instance I normally play $5/$10 and I sign up at FullTilt with
    > $600 to get the 100% new signup bonus.” No knowledgeable whore is going
    > to take this bonus. It is well known to be the worst in poker. Even at
    > that it is no where near as bad as you make it out to be.
    >
    > “Six hundred is far too small to play $5/$10 so I drop down to $1/$2 or
    > $2/$4 in order to play lots of hands and clear the bonus.” You here
    > commit a major bankroll fallacy. Do you really carry your entire bankroll
    > into a casino to play? I personally only take 50 BB for the game I am
    > going to play. A 300BB bankroll for 5/10 is $3000. You need that much
    > too comfortably play that level. You do not need it all on the site. It
    > is the same bankroll spread across 6 sites. $600 is enough to buy into 2
    > games for 25BB. Unless you have a very bad run that is plenty for a days
    > playing. . If I loose that much in a short time I need a break and can
    > use the time to move more from Neteller.
    >

    [Bill Remarked:]

    Well, we play different games. I play 4 tables of $5/$10 6 max. On many of the sites that offer the juiciest bonuses they can’t even spread 4 tables of $5/$10. I just logged into FullTilt and they have 2 full games at $5/$10 and 3 6 max games. If I want any sort of table selection I would have to move down to $2/$4 or $3/$6.

    And, I like having my bankroll in just one or two places. That may not be your fancy but it’s mine. I don’t want to have the bare minimum required to sit down and play. Besides the fact that 25BB times 4 tables is 100BB which at $5/$10 is $1000, not $600. So now I would have to keep $1000 or so on each site I was going to bonus whore. At 300BB that would limit me to 3 sites. Interestingly, I only play at 3 sites with any sort of frequency. I’ve seen some bonus whores who have 18 different accounts. How can they properly fund any more than 2 or 3?

    More importantly, the whole mentality leads people to -EV type decisions. Let’s say I’m a normal $5/$10 player with a $3000 bankroll. I spread it across three sites and jump around every few days or weeks to grab the next new bonus. Now let’s also assume I’m actually a winning player and I work that up to $5000. Now, in most cases, it would be in my best interests as a developing player to jump up to $8/$16 or take a few shots at $10/$20 from time to time. But your typical bonus whore (which I’m not saying YOU are) is going to simple take his $2000 in winnings and spread it across more sites. He can bonus whore at 5 sites instead of 3. Again, I’ve seen people posting just this kind of lunacy so don’t tell me people don’t do it.

    > Let’s assume it takes 10,000 hands to fully clear the FullTilt bonus.
    > Here’s the math:
    >
    > At 1/2 it might take 10,000 hands to clear the bonus, but even at 2/4 that
    > is way too high. More importantly there is no reason to play that low.
    >
    > Now let’s look at some math:
    >
    > We can play our normal 5/10 game. There are plenty of 5/10 games on Full
    > Tilt and they are fairly reasonable.

    [Bill Remarked:]

    As I pointed out, no there’s not. There’s not plenty of tables at Noble or at a lot of other sites either. And if you play at higher limits (like I do from time to time) then the pickings get even slimmer.

    The only sites that have good game selection tend to be the more established sites (Party skins) which don’t do the bonuses with anywhere near the frequency of the newer sites.

    > With a little looking you can find 2
    > good tables. You will probably win a little less than at party. How
    > much, well that depends on how well you play and how good your game
    > selection is. You will get between 250 and 280 points per 100 hands.
    > That’s $15 to $16.80 of bonus per 100. That’s 1.5 to 1.7 BB/100. Do you
    > have rake back at party? The 250 points represents $250/9 players. If
    > you get 25% rake back that is $6.95 in rake back you will not get for that
    > 100 hands. That leaves you earning $8.05 /100 or .8 BB more with bonus
    > than with rake back.

    [Bill Remarked:]

    Again, the assumption that you can find good table selection at these other sites is the key to your calculation. I don’t believe it to be true. I left Paradise for exactly that reason. I couldn’t find 3 full tables at some limits! If you can’t even find 3 tables when you normally 4 table tell me how you’re supposed to practice game selection.

    The key to what I said in my post was that as you move up in limits, it becomes less and less profitable for you to jump from site to site chasing bonuses. In many cases you will be forced to play at lower limits and if you refuse to play at lower limits you may not have any control over what games you’re forced to play in.

    >
    >
    > Bonus whoreing is different for different people and different situations
    > but I will put it to you that any low to mid stakes (1/2 to 10/20) player
    > can, with very little effort find +EV whoreing opportunities. If you can
    > prop at 5/10 or better for 100% rake back that is going to be better than
    > virtually all whoreing opportunities.

    [Bill Remarked:]

    I think the beauty of your response is that you’re arguing with me but making the same exact points I am. I said that bonus whoring is +EV for some and -EV for others. It’s not an automatic +EV situation for everybody. I said that people should figure out whether or not it was +EV or -EV and act accordingly.

    http://www.billrini.com/index.php/2005/06/10/bonus-whoring-vs-getting-a-paper-route/

  • Curtis Sims

    Quote

    One common bonus whoring tactic is to play limits lower than the person’s normal game. Say for instance I normally play $5/$10 and I sign up at FullTilt with $600 to get the 100% new signup bonus. Six hundred is far too small to play $5/$10 so I drop down to $1/$2 or $2/$4 in order to play lots of hands and clear the bonus. Let’s assume it takes 10,000 hands to fully clear the FullTilt bonus. Here’s the math:

    End Quote

    Here we have a classic example of the old standby GIGO (garbage in garbage out). I will take it one error at a time:

    “One common bonus whoring tactic is to play limits lower than the person’s normal game.” Where did this come from? A knowledgeable bonus whore plays at the level that gives him the best EV within his skill and bankroll. This may or may not be at a level lower than the highest level that he can afford to play. The biggest problem I see with whores is that their bankroll expands beyond their skill level and they move up to fast. Most of the $1/$2 whores are at that level because they don’t have the skill to move up.

    “Say for instance I normally play $5/$10 and I sign up at FullTilt with $600 to get the 100% new signup bonus.” No knowledgeable whore is going to take this bonus. It is well known to be the worst in poker. Even at that it is no where near as bad as you make it out to be.

    “Six hundred is far too small to play $5/$10 so I drop down to $1/$2 or $2/$4 in order to play lots of hands and clear the bonus.” You here commit a major bankroll fallacy. Do you really carry your entire bankroll into a casino to play? I personally only take 50 BB for the game I am going to play. A 300BB bankroll for 5/10 is $3000. You need that much too comfortably play that level. You do not need it all on the site. It is the same bankroll spread across 6 sites. $600 is enough to buy into 2 games for 25BB. Unless you have a very bad run that is plenty for a days playing. . If I loose that much in a short time I need a break and can use the time to move more from Neteller.

    Let’s assume it takes 10,000 hands to fully clear the FullTilt bonus. Here’s the math:

    At 1/2 it might take 10,000 hands to clear the bonus, but even at 2/4 that is way too high. More importantly there is no reason to play that low.

    Now let’s look at some math:

    We can play our normal 5/10 game. There are plenty of 5/10 games on Full Tilt and they are fairly reasonable. With a little looking you can find 2 good tables. You will probably win a little less than at party. How much, well that depends on how well you play and how good your game selection is. You will get between 250 and 280 points per 100 hands. That’s $15 to $16.80 of bonus per 100. That’s 1.5 to 1.7 BB/100. Do you have rake back at party? The 250 points represents $250/9 players. If you get 25% rake back that is $6.95 in rake back you will not get for that 100 hands. That leaves you earning $8.05 /100 or .8 BB more with bonus than with rake back.

    Bonus whoreing is different for different people and different situations but I will put it to you that any low to mid stakes (1/2 to 10/20) player can, with very little effort find +EV whoreing opportunities. If you can prop at 5/10 or better for 100% rake back that is going to be better than virtually all whoreing opportunities.

  • Mike

    I think bonus whoring initially to build up a bankroll seems like a good thing. It provides some extra padding for people who are learning. (Early on I was often saved several losses by reload bonuses on Party.)

    However, your points seem 1000% valid to me. If you’re already playing 5/10 then you’ve miss the boat for bonus whoring.

    On the other hand I am sometimes tempted by the swag sites like pokerlizard. A few hundred hands for some free poker chips seems like a good deal to me. :)

  • Bill Rini

    Damn Chris, I think we’re going to have a blast in Vegas!

    Maybe I should have added another exception if you’re staying within a skin family like Crypto or Party but what about FullTilt with no hand histories or what about this new joint with a 3000% bonus? You get the most value out of PT when you play the same site, the same games over tens of thousands of hands. Playing 1000 here to clear a bonus and 2000 there for another bonus is not really giving you the full benefit of the program. And some of the new bonuses that have everybody giddy with exceitement like FullTilt’s 100% up to $600 take months of playing to get the bonus back. Of course, no hand histories so I can’t exactly tell how many hands I’ve played but when you’ve played 10+ hours and earned $60 of a $600 bonus it doesn’t take David Sklansky type skills to figure out it’s gonna take you until the next lifetime to earn the full bonus :-)

    Also, this mostly comes from reading 2+2 and blogger posts from people who have been playing for some time now. One starts to wonder if they’re still playing at lower limits because they’re so busy chasing bonuses that they never really concentrate on getting better at their game. I know you’ve had to take breaks from the game for school and such but believe me, there are guys who have been posting on 2+2 for two or more years and still start peeing in their pants with excitement over every new bonus that’s announced.

    Hey, I’ve got nothing against throwing an extra $1000 in my existing bankroll for a month to get paid for playing where I was going to play anyway. Nothing wrong with that at all. It’s when someone keeps their bankroll at Site A, throws $1000 into Site B to get the bonus and then plays at a lower level to clear the bonus at Site B. Dumb, dumb, dumb!

    I’ll leave you with this though, start paying attention when you read blog posts to people mentioning that they’re working on clearning a bonus or state that they’re only playing on a particular site because they’re clearing a bonus. Chances are you’ll start scratching your head and asking why they’re engaging in something that seems -EV for them.

  • StudioGlyphic

    I think you’re generally right. If you play 5/10, it’s probably not worth whoring for a bonus that’s equivalent to a single pot. But for lower limit players, the risk-free nature of the bonus more than makes up for the fact that it might only be 5-10% of your roll.

  • Chris Halverson

    (I signed up at TypeKey just for this…)

    I disagree with a lot of this :) Well, technically that’s not true. I think you hit on the main point when you said that bonus whoring is of most benefit for micro level players. That doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from them if you play higher.

    First off, I think the people who change their game are idiots. There’s no reason to change your game to clear a bonus. I’ve never understood that reasoning. I think I’m in agreement with you here.

    You are not necessarily throwing away any data. PT (and GT+) supports many sites including Crypto, Pacific, UB and Stars. If you whore the Cryptos, for example (all 5 of them), you’re playing against the same people and therefore you are building all sorts of data on them. There is no loss whatsoever.

    If you have a decent rakeback program and are playing 3/6 or up, it probably doesn’t make sense (maybe it still does at 3/6), but if you’re lower than that it totally makes sense. Just don’t play below your normal level.

    I’m kinda pushing the limit on that one, but the games where I play are good, so I may as well get the bonus on top of the regular play. Why not get an extra $90 just for playing 700 hands or so? Nobody thinks twice about doing a Party reload, but doing the same thing somewhere else is suddenly “bad”.

    Does that make sense? Did I end up agreeing with you? :)

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