Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dude, they pissed on your rug

DUDE: I was talking about my rug.
MAUDE: You're not interested in sex?
--The Big Lebowski

They finally caught up with him. They finally got the guy who's been peeing on rugs. That's just wrong, man.

Back to poker...

It looks like Party Poker isn't going to be offering too many deposit bonuses. Instead, they offer a convoluted structure where most players get a pop-up window when they sign in that says if they earn so many Party Points, they'll be rewarded with a certain amount of money.

A lot of people on 2+2 have been complaining about this new structure. But I think it's a pretty good idea -- in principle.

This kind of bonus makes business sense for Party. Reload bonuses only attract bonus whores, who do the bonus and then leave (I've been plenty guilty of this at many sites). Reload bonuses don't bring much profit to the poker site because the bonus amount often approaches the amount of rake paid. The only way the site's investment pays off is if they hold on to the players that are attracted by the bonus, but that never works with the majority of bonus whores.

There are a couple of big problems with this new bonus structure. The main problem is that many of these bonuses are unrealistic. The workthru is simply too high for most players.

The other disadvantage of this system is the lack of transparency. No one seems to have been able to figure out how the bonuses are rewarded and why the corresponding workthru requirements seem inconsistent. Some people received small bonus offers that take a gazillion hands to earn. The formula that Party is using certainly is not public, and customers don't have enough information to know what they need to do to get better bonus offers.

I've been thinking about how realistic my bonus workthru is. I was offered $580 if I can earn 7310 Party Points between Jan. 13 and Jan. 27. As a "silver" member of Party's VIP club, I earn points at 1.5 times the regular rate. At $5/$10 limit, I will earn 12 Party Points for every 20 raked hands played. Two-tabling 6-max games, I play about 100 hands an hour. I don't know how many of those hands are raked, but I would guess most of them are -- maybe 80 or 90?

Anyways, if 80 hands an hour are raked, I am earning 48 Party Points an hour. Multiply that by 1.5, and it will take 100 hours to work off this bonus! If I play two hours a day during the 15-day bonus period, that's only 30 hours. If I play $10/$20 6-max (18 Party Points per 20 raked hands), I will earn 72 party points an hour. Multiply that by 1.5, and even then, it will take 67 hours to clear the bonus.

In other words, it's not doable for me.

I like the idea of linking bonus rewards to time of play, but you have to do some math to figure out if it's even worthwhile to try. In my case -- and I suspect with many players -- it's not possible.

I hope that Party figures out that I won't play any more than usual to try for a bonus that I can't attain. Then, maybe next month, Party will reduce the workthru requirement to something more reasonable.

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