If you are looking for PokerStars rakeback, then all you have to do is sign up at PokerStars and start playing for real money.
And that's it.
You don't have to use a 'special' rakeback link, you don't have to clear your cookies or spend hours browsing the internet for some extra percentages. Just playing for real money at PokerStars will make you a PokerStars-VIP. And as a VIP you are supposed to be mollycoddled, which is exactly what PokerStars does by awarding VIP-player points (VPPs) to you based on the amount you play.
Depending on your PokerStars VIP-level, these player points are worth a certain amount of frequent player points (FPPs) and these points can, in turn, be spent for real money bonuses in PokerStars' VIP-store. So, although PokerStars does not offer rakeback, PokerStars does give you part of your paid rake back. It's just a little bit more complicated to figure out how much it will be exactly and how this compares to a standard rakeback deal at another online poker room. And that's where this PokerStars rakeback page is supposed to come in handy.
In this article, rewards from the current PokerStars VIP-club (2011) will be expressed in terms of PokerStars rakeback percentages for the different VIP-levels. Furthermore, the equivalent rakeback percentage for poker players playing different amounts of hands at different stakes will also be given.
VPPs are awarded for playing real money games at PokerStars in the following manner:
|Tourneys||SH cash||FR cash||2nl||5nl||10nl|
|VPPs per $ rake||5.5||5.5||6||10||8.5||7|
|VPPs per € rake||8||8||8.5||12.5||10.5||9|
Note: VPPs are distributed evenly among the players dealt in a hand. Short handed games are games at a table with 7 or less seats and full ring games are all games at tables with 8 or more seats (regardless of the number of players seated). VPP amounts awarded at 2nl, 5nl and 10nl are the same for SH and FR games.
The amount of VPPs you earn in a certain month or year will determine your PokerStars VIP-level. Associated with every PokerStars VIP rank is a so called FPP multiplier which determines the FPP value of one VPP. Furthermore, your PokerStars VIP-level also determines which bonus you can buy in the PokerStars VIP store to convert your FPPs into some instant cold hard cash. At higher VIP levels your FPPs will be more valuable:
|VIP level||Requirement (VPPs)||FPP multiplier||Bonus available||$/FPP|
|750 / month||1.5||$50||0.011|
|3000 / month||2||$300||0.012|
|7500 / month||2.5||650||0.013|
|100,000 / year||3.5||$1500 / $4000||0.015 / 0.016|
|1,000,000 / year||5||$1500 / $4000||0.015 / 0.016|
Another benefit from the PokerStars VIP club are the stellar and milestone bonuses. These bonuses are cash credits which become available in the PokerStars VIP store when reaching a certain amount of VPPs within a calendar year and will cost a symbolic 1 FPP. These bonuses are all real cash into your pockets and therefore add to your total PokerStars rakeback percentage (see tables 4 and 5 further down).
Other PokerStars VIP rewards such as freeroll entries (freerolls with prize pools of up to $1,000,000) are not included in the PokerStars rakeback calculations on this page.
With the numbers from tables 1 and 2 it is possible to calculate the basic equivalent PokerStars rakeback percentage of every VIP-level:
|VIP level||Tourney / SH cash||FR cash||2nl||5nl||10nl|
Note: the above rakeback percentages are not representative for achieving a certain VIP level. So, if you start out as a BronzeStar and you accumulate 100,000 VPPs (playing full ring) within a calander year, your basic PokerStars rakeback equivalent for that first year will be significantly lower than 33.6%.
If you started out as a BronzeStar your rakeback equivalent would be lower.Assuming that you moved through a certain VIP level within one calendar month you would have earned 750 VPPs as a BronzeStar (750 FPPs); 2250 VPPs as a SilverStar (3375FPPs) and the remaining 10,439 VPPs as a GoldStar for a total of 13,439 VPPs or $1919.86 in rake paid. This would come down to a (basic) PokerStars rakeback percentage of 300/1919.86*100 = 15.6%.
So, as a Supernove Elite playing at 2nl you will receive at least 80 percent rakeback from PokerStars. That is, if you manage to accumulate the 250,000 FPPs needed for the $4000 bonus at this levelů
On top of the basic PokerStars rakeback values from Table 3 you will have to add the PokerStars rakeback equivalent of stellar bonuses and milestone bonuses to get your total rakeback percentage.
|Yearly VPPs||Bonus||Cum. bonus||Tourney / SH cash||FR cash||2nl||5nl||10nl|
Note: these percentages are all the maximum rakeback equivalents. If you fall somewhere in between two stellar targets, your equivalent rakeback percentage will be lower (also see the example at 150,000 yearly VPPs).
Calculation of the equivalent PokerStars rakeback percentage of milestone and stellar bonuses for Supernovas and Supernova Elites goes the same. This time calculations for the micro stakes are left out for obvious reasons.
|Yearly VPPs||Bonus||Cum. bonus||Tourney / SH cash||FR cash|
For your total PokerStars rakeback percentage you have to add the percentages from table 3 to those of either table 4 or 5. Because this will not be accurate for many of the playing volumes in between stellar and milestone targets I have made some fancy graphs:
The PokerStars rakeback percentages from Figures 1-3 are all based on the assumption that you earn the same amount of VPPs/hand for every day of the year and that you start playing at the start of a new calendar year. Again, it is also assumed that you turn your FTPs into cash by buying the highest bonus available in the PokerStars VIP store for your VIP level.
As you can see, there are two distinct jumps in the PokerStars rakeback percentages at around 275 VPP/day and at around 2750 VPP/day. These jumps in PokerStars rakeback correspond with reaching Supernova and Supernova Elite status respectively. Furthermore you can see a clear 'saw tooth' structure caused by the stellar and milestone bonuses. The highest PokerStars rakeback percentage in these saw tooth structures corresponds with exactly reaching a stellar or milestone requirement, while the lowest PokerStars rakeback percentages are just before reaching those requirements.
It also becomes apparent from the above figures that the difference in average PokerStars rakeback between the first year of playing (when climbing up the VIP ladder) and the second year becomes bigger as you move up from the micro stakes and as you reach Supernova and Supernova Elite respectively.
|Stakes||VPP/hand, SH||VPP/hand, FR|
|Stakes||500 hands/day||1500 hands/day||4500 hands/day|
The PokerStars VIP club offers benefits for every real money player with a PokerStars rakeback equivalent which will be somewhere between 15-25% for low volume poker players and can increase to around 70% for the few who manage to achieve Supernova Elite status.
Be careful when comparing the above rakeback percentages with rakeback deals at other online poker rooms. When doing so, you also have to take into account any differences in rake structures and rake calculation methods. This is especially true for micro stakes players. Also take a look at the article about rake and rakeback at the micro stakes for more information about this.
Also don't forget that, with the PokerStars VIP system you have to first accumulate enough FPPs to be able to purchase the bonus that will give you the best value for your FPPs. This means that it can take quite a while before you can harvest your rakeback. A GoldStar who just meets the monthly requirements has to save his FPPs for more than 4 months before he or she can buy the $300 bonus for 25,000 FPPs.
The PokerStars rakeback percentages from Table 7 above indicate that especially low and medium volume 25nl players are mollycoddled a little less by PokerStars than other players. Taking into account that the average rake taken at lower stakes will be higher due to the rake caps being reached less often, this will be disappointing for quite a few of PokerStars' 'VIPs'. For other nano and micro stakes VIPs playing at stakes below 25nl the PokerStars VIP rewards combined with a decent rake structure make PokerStars very competitive to, for example, Full Tilt Poker.
Remember that there are other ways to beat the rake than getting rakeback alone. No PokerStars rakeback percentage will make up for a lack of understanding of the game. So, in order to beat the micro stakes and start making some money to build your roll, your primary focus should always be to improve your game.
Finally, if you haven't got one already, you can sign up for an account at PokerStars here (marketing code PSP11861, optional though) or follow the PokerStars download guide. If you then find from personal experience that the rakeback numbers for Supernova Elite presented here are just way off, then please don't hesitate to let me know ;-).