If you'd like to advertise on this site, please email me to discuss details and rates.

Decisions, Decisions... (Updated)

Whenever I find myself playing at Stars, I start to imagine what it would be like to achieve Supernova Elite. And then I remember that I've never played more than four tables at once (and never more than three successfully). But I did get to wondering if I'd ever be able to earn Gold or Platinum VIP status on PokerStars.

The current VPP/hand rates for 2010 are still a little unknown at this time. At this time, it appears that VPPs clear a little more slowly for cash game players than in 2009. The PokerStars VPP/FPP calculator hasn't been updated with the new VIP program specs. But given my numbers over the past couple of weeks, I'm fairly confident that I'll never earn Platinum, Supernova, or Supernova Elite in my lifetime without going pro. And while my wife fully supports my poker-playing hobby, neither my wife nor I would put my family's welfare into online poker's hands.

I know that I could maintain Silver Star VIP status for the year (assuming I don't give up on poker again). Of course, there are a few extra incentives to putting in more than the bare minimum. There are VIP Stellar Rewards offered at VPP milestones. Stars also has a fairly good history of offering some great reload bonuses from time to time.

Last year, Stars offered $600 in reload bonuses at an average 25x clear rate (15K VPP). The good news is that earning 15,000 VPP per calendar year would give me a ton of value from reload bonuses, the new Stellar rewards, and other cash bonuses from the VIP store.

I've earned roughly 12 VPP/hour per table of $0.50/$1 SHFL this month. I'm assuming that I'll play mostly $1/$2 SHFL (~30 VPP/hour) in 2010. I'd need to play 42 table hours per month to hit the 15K VPP points needed. For my time, I'd earn:

  • $600 in reload bonuses (assuming same bonus schedule as 2009)

  • $200 in Silver Star cash bonuses (purchased for 5,000 FPP in VIP Store)

  • $160 in Stellar Rewards

  • One set of Copag Cards ($30 value)

  • Tony Holden's Bigger Deal ($15 value)

Those numbers add up to roughly $1,000 in perks and bonuses from PokerStars if I put in my 42 table hours every month.

But if I take a look at Full Tilt, I'd get about $1200 in rakeback across the same number of hands. Is it worth $200 to play at Stars? Can I expect to make an extra $0.50 per table hour playing at Stars? I can't answer that question.

Of course, the numbers above rely on Stars offering another $600 in reload bonuses this year. It's hard to say how things will work out in the end. I think my best bet for now is to simply focus on playing solid poker. But as a general strategy for choosing when and where I play, think I'll do the following:

  • Play at PokerStars at the start of every month, earning the 750 VPP necessary for Silver Star VIP status.

  • When clearing a reload bonus, earn an additional 500+ VPP. It should be possible to earn up to an additional 1000 VPP per month if required.

  • Finish out the month at Full Tilt. When not earning bonuses, rakeback is pretty crucial.

Of course, all of my careful planning and calculations go out the window if PokerStars reworks their VIP system. And what if I start playing three or four tables at once and want to try for Gold Star VIP status (100 table hours) every month? And if Full Tilt runs any reload bonuses, I really won't know what to do...other than invent a time machine of some sort...?

Have a good one!

Note that the numbers above were changed to reflect the hourly VPP clearance rates for $1/$2 SHFL according the following chart put together by some 2p2ers.

No comments: