Full Tilt Poker offers rakeback to players signing up for an account through a rakeback affiliate. If you look for it you'll soon find out that the maximum amount of rakeback at Full Tilt Poker will be 27%..., or so it seems at first.
However, when playing in FTP's real money games, you do not only receive a direct (weighted contributed) amount of rakeback, but you will also receive Full Tilt Points (FTPs) and you will participate in the Iron Man Challenge and can choose to accumulate Iron Man medals. If you play a lot, you'll even receive a Black Card. At first this might seem like just a nice feature for the happy dabbler. After all, we're more interested in dollars here than some sort of kudos for playing. But did you know that your total rakeback at Full Tilt Poker can get as high as three times the standard 27% rakeback deal because of these promotions?
Then let's take a closer look at your total Full Tilt Poker rakeback percentage!
Your base Full Tilt Poker rakeback percentage will be 27%. To get this part of your total Full Tilt Poker rakeback you will have to sign up through an affiliate before opening an account at Full Tilt Poker. A great and reliable affiliate is RakeTheRake.
The 27% FTP rakeback you will get when playing real money games is 'weighted contributed' rakeback. This means that it will be calculated based on the rake generated from your own contribution to the pot. Poker players who are tighter than average will generally contribute less in rake and will consequently receive a lower absolute amount of rakeback. For tournament players the rake paid, and thus the amount of rakeback received, will be the same regardless of the rake calculation method used.
On top of your standard Full Tilt Poker rakeback deal, FTP will award base Full Tilt Points to real money players. For $1 in rake, 10 FTPs will be divided equally among all the players dealt in a hand. Therefore short handed players will accumulate FTPs faster than full ring players. Tournament players also receive 10 FTP per $1 rake paid.
Throughout the day Full Tilt Poker runs so called 'happy hours'. During happy hours cash game players can earn two or three times the amount of base FTPs. Furthermore, if you play a lot and manage to reach 'Black Card' (BC) status (on average 500 base FTPs in 100 consecutive days), you'll get an FTP multiplier of 2x (500 base FTP rolling day average), 3x (1500 FTP rolling day average) or 4x (3000 rolling day average). During happy hours, only your base FTPs will be multiplied, and not your BC bonus FTPs.
In the Full Tilt store you can purchase items which make your FTPs worth about $2.10/1000 points. You can get better value for your points by playing Sit & Go's with a prize pool of tournament tokens. Approximate value: $3.50/1000 Full Tilt points.
Black Card holders will be able to purchase a bonus of $5000 for 1,100,000 points. This bonus will be deducted from your Monthly Gross Rake (MGR, the so called 'MGR hit'). This results in a value of $3.318/1000 FTPs.
Turning all your FTPs into cash (or items or tournament tickets for that matter) will make up for only a small part of your total Full Tilt rakeback percentage at the lower playing volumes (2.7% when taking the $2,10/1000 points value). For Black Card holders the benefits will be more significant when buying the big $5000 bonus due to the FTP multiplier: 7.6% to 14.3% extra rakeback.
Based on the amount of base FTPs you earn per day and the amount of days you do so within a calendar month you will reach a certain Iron Man Status. I took the following figure from FTPs website, as I think they won't mind:
The Full Tilt Poker rakeback equivalent of the Iron Man Challenge is highly dependent on how consistent you will play throughout the years. In short, Iron Man status will be worth 100 medals in your first month, but if you maintain your status throughout Iron Man will be worth 900 medals per month after 3 years. For a complete overview of the medal value of certain Iron Man levels in a certain month, visit the website of Full Tilt Poker.
You could choose to play in Iron Man freerolls if you reach an Iron Man status in a certain month, but it is recommended that you choose the bonus medals for the highest FTP rakeback equivalent. Bronze to Iron Man will be worth 25, 40, 70 and 100 bonus medals per month respectively.
If you play a lot on, for example, a rainy day, you will be rewarded with 5 bonus medals at 1000 base FTPs earned and 15 medals at 2000 base FTPs earned (per day). This is the so called Iron Man Plus promotion.
Apart from all these medals, your Full Tilt rakeback percentage will also increase when you receive the Mid Year and End Year bonus. This is a bonus amount of up to $600 based on your Iron Man status in the previous 6 months which you will have to clear by earning points (at a rate of $0.04 per FTP). Of course, there will be an MGR hit when clearing these bonuses.
By purchasing tournament tokens players who are not a Black Card holder will get the most value (= highest extra rakeback) from their Iron Man medals: $0.1857/medal for the $26 token; $0.1923 for the $75 token. Black Cards probably don't want to mess around with tournament tokens and buy FTPs with their medals for the $5000 bonus instead. Their medals will be worth $0.1659.
The value of Iron Man in terms of Full Tilt Poker rakeback will be highest at a low average amount of base FTPs earned per day. Therefore, micro stakes players will be able to benefit the most from this promotion. At an average of only 50 FTPs/day ($5 rake per day, making silver status), the first year of the Iron Man Challenge will result in 36.7% extra rakeback which will increase to a whopping 65.5% in the fourth year. The more you play, the lower the FTP rakeback equivalent of Iron Man will be. For very high volume grinders, the total Full Tilt Poker rakeback equivalent of Iron Man might only be 1-2%.
The cumulative Full Tilt Poker rakeback from rakeback, points and the Iron Man Challenge is presented in Figure 2 and, zoomed in for the micro stakes players, Figure 3.
The FTP rakeback percentages in the above figures are calculated based on the following assumptions:
How and why does my playing style affect my Full Tilt rakeback percentage?
Figures 2 and 3 show the amount of Full Tilt rakeback based on the assumption that your MGR equals the amount of FTPs/10. Because base FTPs are awarded on a 'dealt' basis, this means that it is assumed that your weighted contributed base rakeback percentage of 27% is equal to your dealt rakeback percentage.
If you are a tighter than average player, you will receive more than 10 FTPs per $1 in weighted contributed rake (= $1 MGR). In other words, your MGR will be lower than expected based on the amount of base FTPs earned and so will be your weighted contributed absolute amount of rakeback (in $). In terms of 'dealt rakeback' you will then receive a lower percentage than 27% and the base rakeback percentage from figures 2 and 3 will be an overestimation. The difference could be up to approximately 6%. For very loose players who contribute more to the pot than average it will be the other way around. They will receive a dealt base rakeback percentage of more than 27%. For tournament players the amount of rakeback at Full Tilt is unaffected by their playing style.
Although the amount of FTP rakeback from points and the Iron Man Challenge are essentially a form of 'dealt' rakeback, it will not be entirely unaffected by your playing style because the MGR-hits will change. If your dealt rakeback is lower than 27%, then MGR hits from clearing bonuses or buying store items will be smaller. This increases your rakeback from points and medals and therefore partly counteracts the negative effect from your playing style on your base FTP rakeback. This also works the other way around for loose players.
How much higher will my total Full Tilt rakeback amount be if I manage to get more value for my FTPs?
If you manage to get $3.50/1000 FTPs instead of $2.10/1000 FTPs your total rakeback at Full Tilt Poker will be 1.9% higher.
I bought the $75 tournament token/$600 bonus from my Iron Man medals. What'll be my Full Tilt Poker rakeback percentage now?
If you buy $75 tournament tokens instead of $26 tokens with your Iron Man medals, your medals will be worth $0.1923. Your FTP rakeback will then be 0.2% to 1.5% higher.
When buying the $600 bonus, it is important to know that this bonus amount will be deducted from your MGR as you clear it. Therefore the actual bonus will be $600 * 0.73 = $438 for a value of $0.146 per Iron Man medal. This will make your overall Full Tilt rakeback percentage approximately 0.6% to 10.4% lower (with the highest hit at 50 FTPs/day).
How does buying a smaller bonus in the Black Card store than the one of $5000 affect my total Full Tilt Poker rakeback percentage?
The value per FTP of these bonuses will be lower; therefore your total rakeback amount will be reduced. For those of you who think this answer is somewhat disappointing the exact numbers are presented in Table 1 below:
|BC bonus||500 FTP/day||1500 FTP/day||3000 FTP/day|
I am unable to play every day of the month. How bad is that for my rakeback at Full Tilt?
Well, it depends. Your FTP rakeback from the standard 27% deal and from FTPs will always be there if you're not a Black Card member. So, if you manage to maintain your Iron Man status despite not playing every day, then nothing bad will happen. In fact, if you play just enough to reach your Iron Man status needed, then your equivalent rakeback percentage for this promotion will even increase a little bit when compared to playing for every day of the month. Black Card players will have to keep up their 100 day rolling average if they want to prevent a drop in their total rakeback percentage though.
Especially low volume and micro stakes players can greatly increase their FTP rakeback when taking advantage of the Iron Man Challenge optimally. You don't even have to make it to Iron Man status for a total rakeback percentage of well over 60%. This way, playing at Full Tilt Poker as a micro stakes player will certainly be worth it, even when taking into account that FTP's rake structure is disadvantageous for players at 2nl, 5nl and 10nl.
For high volume poker players the Iron Man Challenge will only be a small part of their total Full Tilt Poker rakeback. For them the standard 27% rakeback deal and the extra Full Tilt Points from the Black Card multipliers will be most valuable. Black card members can achieve a Full Tilt rakeback percentage of around 41% to 42% in their first year up to 44% to 50% after the third year when maintaining their 100 day rolling average.
Of course, some assumptions had to be made for calculating the FTP rakeback percentages mentioned on this page and therefore the numbers will at best be a close approximation. However, I hope that the above information will show you that it is definitely worth it to use your 'kudos' wisely as they can more than triple the standard rakeback amount.
Oh, and then I haven't even mentioned rake races and freerolls yet, which any self respecting rakeback affiliate will offer to his (or her) referred players (like RakeTheRake).