Trick or Treat? – The Spooky Truth Behind Bonuses and Loyalty Schemes

October 30, 2012

Trick or TreatExtorting sweets with menace is allowed only once a year and the kids I know really take advantage.  But, what about us grown ups, what treats and tricks can we expect at this time or indeed any other time of year?

Welcome bonuses are a way of enticing you onto a site with the hope you’ll enjoy it so much you’ll become a regular.  Now, some of these bonuses appear very generous, but not all are.  We have gone through all the leading poker sites and worked out how much you would need to spend to collect $10 or £10 free, the results are interesting to say the least.

The most generous welcome bonus has to be a no deposit bonus, currently only 3 of our reviewed sites offer these, Sky Poker, Bet365 Poker and 888 Poker (see info).

But what about the match bonuses we see on most sites?  At the generous end of the scale for playing cash games we have BetFred, Titan and Party with a rake of 30 ($ or £) or less, at the not so generous end are PokerStars, Cake and Intertops, all with a rake required of over $150. Huge difference I think you’ll agree.

When we looked at tourneys the results were similar, at the generous end we find Titan, Betfred and Everest who require a fee spend of $23 or less, while at the less generous end this time are 32Red, Carbon and Bet365 with a fee spend of over $60 to get that magic free $10. Let’s take a look at the figures…

Welcome Bonus figures – how much you need to spend to get £/$10 free

Cash Games Rake
Tournament Fees
BetFred Poker £20 Titan Poker $19
Titan Poker $22.00 BetFred Poker £20
Party Poker £30 Everest Poker $23
Intertops Poker $167 Bet365 Poker $67
Cake Poker $167 Carbon Poker $75
PokerStars £170 32Red Poker $104


Loyalty schemes are another way sites try to convince you that their poker room is where you’d like to spend your time.  Again we worked out how much you’d have to play to collect $10 free.

At the lower levels of these loyalty schemes Bet365 and 32Red came out at $20 and $33 respectively for both cash and tournament games.  Doing not so well for cash games are Everest Poker with a $595 rake spend, also Cake and Intertops requiring a £400 spend on rake to get a free £10.

The best deals for tournament play at lower level loyalty are from Bet365 at $20 and 32Red at $33.  For tournaments the worse deals are found at Party with a fee spend of £250 needed, PokerStars are slightly better at a fee spend of £182 before you get your hands on a free £10.

If you are a member of the highest VIP level you may have to spend less to get a free $10 or £10, Sky, Everest and Titan offer more for high rollers playing tourneys whereas if cash games is where you play and you expect to have the highest VIP level then Bet365 Poker and 32Red Poker have the most to offer you, loyalty wise.  The not so generous for high rollers are PokerStars, Party and Bet365 while playing tourneys and for cash games Everest, PokerStars and Party offer the least generous deals. Not the results we expected at all.

Starter Level Loyalty schemes – how much you need to spend to get £/$10 free

Cash Games Rake
Tournament Fees
Bet365 Poker $20 Bet365 Poker $20
32Red Poker $33 32Red Poker $33
Intertops Poker $400 Betfair Poker $180
Cake Poker $400 PokerStars £182
Everest Poker $595 Party Poker £250


Highest Level Loyalty schemes –  how much you need to spend to get £/$10 free

Cash Games Rake
Tournament Fees
Bet365 Poker $20 Sky Poker £15
32 Red Poker $33 Everest Poker $31
Titan Poker $39 Titan Poker $34
Party Poker £120 Bet365 Poker $100
PokerStars £140 Party Poker £120
Everest Poker $178 PokerStars £140


As you can see above some of the figures are $ and some are £, we have used £ where it is available, some poker rooms only work with $, you can still pay in and out with a range of currencies and it is converted before you hit the tables.

So, in conclusion, if you’re joining a new site and want the most out of it we’d recommend going for any no deposit bonuses on offer, see our page that will list the current NDB offers. Today, the day before Halloween 2012, there are 3 sites to consider,  UK players can get no deposit bonuses of £10 from Sky Poker, $5 from Bet365 Poker, and £12 that turns straight onto $20 at 888 Poker.  For all you non UK players 888 Poker will give you a no deposit bonus of $8.

Once you have used these up try out BetFred, Titan or Everest.

If you are a high roller who will build a good loyalty rating we’d recommend Sky, Everest, Bet365 and 32 Red.

Of course all of this doesn’t take into account the game playing experience at each site, we recommend all the sites mentioned above and a few more, to hear our opinions on each site see our player reviews, we also have pages with information on all the welcome bonuses and loyalty VIP schemes on offer.

Stay safe and good luck at the tables.