Monday, August 13, 2007

Bonus Baby

Bonus releasedI mentioned a few posts ago how I’d received one of those “because you are a valued player on our site” bonus offers from Full Tilt. Had seen others writing about how they’d received similar offers throughout the summer, so I was glad finally to get mine.

Excuse my glee here, but many of us Americans haven’t been able to take advantage of the regular deposit bonus offers like we could before the UIGEA passed and Neteller went away. Not sure if all of these Full Tilt offers have been the same or not -- I think some may have different time periods and/or maximum pay outs. The way mine works, once I activate the sucker I have 30 days to accumulate as many Full Tilt Points as I can. For each Full Tilt Point, I get $0.06, with payouts coming in $20 increments. I could potentially earn $500 worth of bonus money, if I played enough. One earns a single Full Tilt Point for every dollar of rake taken out of pots into which one has been dealt. Also, you can receive partial points; e.g., if the rake on a given hand was $0.15, you get 0.15 of a Full Tilt Point.

When I received the offer, I had a mere $25 in my Full Tilt account. In fact, I’d been sitting on that for the last few months, pretty much staying away from Full Tilt except for the occasional Ante Up! tournament. Back in January, I had right at $100 in Full Tilt when Neteller abruptly shut out us Americans. I held steady there for about six weeks or so, then had a bad run at the limit HE tables that knocked me back down around $30. I didn’t log on at Full Tilt for a couple of weeks, playing on Stars, Absolute, and Bodog where I have healthy (i.e., $200-$300 or more) rolls with which to play. Then I tiptoed back over to Full Tilt and managed to piddle away nearly all of what I had left.

That’s when a non-American buddy of mine generously offered to transfer me $25 on Full Tilt in exchange for my giving him $25 over on Stars. That was mid-March. Looking back through my records, I see that I essentially avoided Full Tilt for the next three months, again content just to play on those sites where my roll was comfortably large enough to play my regular games (PLO25, PLO50, and some LHE 1/2) without worries.

Then came the bonus offer. Before activating it, I decided to try to build up a little bit so as to have something with which to play once the bonus clock started ticking. I won about ten bucks in a session of PLO25, then bumped my balance up to $50 in a few brief, fortunate turns at LHE 0.50/1. I activated the bonus on July 24th.

The last time I went bonus chasing on Full Tilt, things went only so-so. That was when I first signed up on the site. I deposited $200, thus giving myself a chance to earn $200 during those first 120 days I played. I ended up reaping $80 worth of the bonus, never really venturing beyond the 0.50/1 tables where one only nets about a penny per hand bonus-wise. During that same period, I also made an additional $14.30 at the tables. Not so hot, really, though I suppose it could’ve been a lot worse.

Then came the UIGEA, and I withdrew most of my Full Tilt moneys. Then Neteller’s January surprise, then my March swap of funds . . . and we’re back to late July 2007.

I started out splitting time between full-ring LHE 0.50/1 and PLO25. I did well enough to crack the $100 mark after a week, at which time I moved over to the LHE 1/2 tables. As far as the bonus goes, one gets just about $0.02 per hand at both full-ring LHE 1/2 and PLO25, meaning I’m earning about a buck’s worth of bonus for every 50 hands I play.

I’m still playing some Omaha, but have mostly stuck to full-ring LHE since I’ve been running so well there. How well?



That’s the last two weeks’ worth of LHE. Am not playing all that much, really. Was away a few days at the beach, and I’m only averaging about 60-65 hands & less than an hour per session.

Hadn’t really played LHE at all for several months -- and in fact was really only playing 6-max before -- so I’m not completely up on how to read my stats for this here small sample. (Comments welcome, though I know that with 750 hands I ain’t giving youse much with which to work.)

As you can see, I’m playing a conservative game, only preraising when I should (really) and enjoying a nice win percentage at showdown. I am, as it happens, following those “Rules of Engagement” I set for myself earlier in the year -- only playing one table at a time, leaving if ever down more than 10 big bets, leaving after 50 hands if down, etc. (Of course, having mostly winning sessions makes it a lot easier to follow such stop-loss guidelines.)

I like how I’ve played, but much of the profit can be attributed to some truly awful play by those around me. You know, the usual -- people incapable of letting go of bottom pair, calling down with ace-high, river folds after failed chases, etc. Just be patient and you can’t help but take their chips.

Anyhow, with the $40 of bonus money I’ve picked up thus far I’m up over 300 clams now on Full Tilt. Have ten days left on the bonus, and probably won’t even worry about earning more than $20 of it.

Kajapoker wrote a nice post about a week ago called “How I Play” where he talked about how real life stuff cuts into his poker playing time. Kaja’s situation differs from mine in several respects, but I still appreciate (and can identify with) what he says there at the end about working to “find a balance” between poker and other obligations. I’m facing a lot of “real life”-type obligations here over the next few weeks and so know I’ll only have limited opportunities for playing. And so must be patient . . . both at the tables and away from them . . . .

But it’s all good. And very cool to have another site in play again when looking for tables. Having balanced bankrolls across the sites definitely helps in the effort to “find a balance,” generally speaking.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Erwin Blonk said...

It seems they offer the bonuses to US players only, at least I have only heard them talking about getting offers in this round of bonus offers. As US players have a hard time funding their accounts it effectively (if not intentionally) serves as a means to move money from non-US (mainly European) players and also to keep US players playing because they play less, keeping their bankroll alive.
If it is a matter of moving money to US players (who have still have to risk their bankroll to get it) that´s perfectly fine with me. It is in everybody´s interest to keep as large an active player base as possible. It´s a modern day reversed Marshall plan.
So, in short, I don´t expect Full Tilt to offer me a bonus, like they did last year. That´s just as well, I don´t chase bonuses, it doesn´t work for me.

8/14/2007 2:07 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Glad to see you're doing well at FT. I've had the worst time playing there. Down about 20 bucks, which includes the $20 I cleared of my 300 dollar deposit bonus. I really need to find a way to move my money to new site.

8/14/2007 3:00 AM  
Blogger KajaPoker said...

Thanks for the link and post pimp Shamus!

8/14/2007 12:22 PM  

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