How and When to Best use Player Online Poker Points
Most online poker rooms now offer a player bonus scheme whereby you collect points by playing cash games at their tables, which you can then use to enter qualifiers to larger competitions. Some of these tournaments can be quite lucrative, for example a few player points could set you on your way to a weekly six-figure prize on the larger sites, plus save you a fair bit of money in entry stakes if you are a regular tournament player. It is worth exploring the lobby of your favourite poker room(s) to discover just how many of these tournaments there are, and where they can lead to.
The choice that has to be made with these effectively free satellites is what level do you go in at? Some of the really low entry level games can often be full of new players gaining experience and lead to a cheap step into a higher qualifier. The next stage is somewhat harder, but if you are a capable “multi-tabler” you can play through several low value games simultaneously and generate plenty of entries to the final tournaments.
The overall worth of using the low entry method has to be evaluated over the average length of time that it takes to qualify for the next stage or final competition, your chances of collecting in the final and what money you could have generated playing your regular game instead of entering a qualifier. To calculate this, and as part of successful bankroll management, you should have a record – either hourly, daily or weekly – of how much money you are winning generally. If daily or weekly, you should divide that by the number of hours you spend playing poker to arrive at an hourly rate. So, even if you only win an average of $50 per week, and you spend 10 hours a week playing poker, you know that your hourly “rate” is $5.
If it takes two hours to play through a points qualifier rewarding you with a satellite entry worth $2, you know to avoid it, as you could have earned $10 playing on a ring game, paid the $2 to enter at the higher level and be $8 in pocket. Conversely, if you have saved up a substantial number of points, sufficient to enter a satellite that will feed through to a game with (say) a $100 buy in, then it is in your best interests to get involved. One further point to consider is whether the final tournament is one that you are able to physically play in. Does it occur when you are at work or have other commitments, or is it scheduled for the middle of the night, when you will not be at your best to gain the maximum from the opportunity.
Overall, only you can tell whether entering a specific game is worth the time and effort. By regularly entering low value qualifiers, you exhaust your points supply and remove the opportunity for entering a game with higher perceived value. As long as you are aware of the program available on your site, you will be able to decide the best course of action for your level of play.