This point only applies to cash game players, as tournaments have a fixed fee/points setup.
Poker Sites Who Offer the Best Rewards in 2021
Do you know why poker sites offer rewards to players – perks such as cash back, reload bonuses, and tournament tickets?
Poker rooms do it to reward their players for sticking around and for being loyal. And you do have to stick around, as most rewards require you to play a fair amount of hands or tourneys to receive anything of real value.
Rewards also serve as an incentive. The closer you are to your getting the next perk, the more likely you are to come back and play – and more likely sooner than later.
And the funny thing is, poker rooms are happy to give you rewards. Do you know why?
Because these incentives are priced in such a way that the poker room still turns a profit, despite giving so much back. Plus, most players lose or break even in the long run, and the lure of rewards gets them to come back and play time and time again (perpetually making the poker site money).
But only if you choose a poker site that offers the BEST rewards. And, as always, this varies from site to site and player to player.
That said, we’ve done our best to find the sites that offer the best rewards for the general population. You’ll find them in the list below.
|Rank||Poker Site||Exclusive Bonus||Get Started|
|100% Up To $1,000||Visit Site||Visit Site|
|100% Up To $500||Visit Site||Visit Site|
|100% Up To $1,000||Visit Site||Visit Site|
|100% Up To $1,000||Visit Site||Visit Site|
The rest of this page will cover rewards in more details – why rewards matter, the types of rewards poker rooms offer, and how to find the best poker room/rewards combo for you.
Why Do Rewards Matter?
Let’s start with talking about WHY rewards matter.
This might seem silly because we’re talking about freebies for playing poker, something you were going to do anyway. And who doesn’t want free stuff?
But some people view signing up for things like rewards as a hassle, or maybe they don’t play much, so they don’t see the point. Or they have such a large bankroll that they don’t see how rewards are worth their time.
But it is, and here’s why:
Say you’re a losing player – then receiving perks like tournament tickets and cash back may keep you afloat, or maybe revive your bankroll if you busted it. In other words, rewards can give you another chance so that you can continue learning how to play and rebuilding your bankroll.
And imagine this: say you get $20 cash back or a $10 tournament ticket. You can parlay that into a nice 2, 3, 4, or even 5-figure win. Maybe even more.
It may not be much profit, but it’s better than nothing.
Rewards are important to winning players, too, even if it doesn’t look like it makes a dent in your Poker Tracker stats.
Think about it like this: any rewards you claim can serve as a variance buster. Chances are if you’re a regular and spending lots of money, you can earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars in rewards. This can take a losing day, week, or month, and instead make it breakeven or profitable.
And, as we said earlier, who knows what you might turn that $20 cash back, tournament ticket, or freeroll into? Maybe a large score.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t take much effort to start receiving rewards. At many sites, it’s automatic once you create an account and start playing for real money. From that point forward, you’ll collect perks that can compound and/or add to your bankroll – however little that may be.
How Do Reward Programs Work?
It depends on the room and what they’re offering. That said, I find that most poker rooms go one of two ways:
- VIP Program
Here’s a brief summary of how each one works.
You don’t see rakeback as much as you used to. It died down some a few years ago – at least how it was done traditionally.
Anyway, some rooms will offer players a percentage of the rake they pay. The percentages I’ve seen vary from 25-50%, but – as always – this varies.
One of the perks to receiving rakeback is that it’s paid to your account quickly – usually each day, once per week, or maybe once per month. This can help smooth out any recent variance you’ve experience.
Poker VIP programs usually have 3-5 (or more) levels. The first level is often achieved by creating an account or playing your first real-money hand. From there, you’ll move up in levels once you earn enough points.
Most poker rooms break this down for each cash game level, as you’ll never spend the same amount in rake each hand. In other words, points can be awarded to the nearest tenth or hundredth place to accommodate the rake paid at the micro stakes.
Points awarded for tournaments are usually a flat amount – so many points for every $1 spent in rake. This is simple to do, as tournament fees are fixed.
As for the points, poker rooms will either give you two different kinds of points, or one kind of point that will apply to two different categories – points used to determine your VIP status, and points you accrue to later use to pay for your perks.
The more points you earn, the higher up the ladder you’ll climb. Most VIP programs award more and/or better perks the further up you go. This can be all sorts of things, such as cash back, bonuses, or additional support.
We’ll cover the more common perks in the next section.
Some poker rooms will let you keep your status for a limited time before resetting, while others reset you at the start of every month. In other words, if you reach level 3 of a 5-level program, some rooms let you keep it for a limited time – a month, or three, or longer – while others will reset you to level 1 at the start of the following month.
And that’s about it; those are the two most common forms of rewards and how they work.
If we had to recommend one or the other, we’d most definitely recommend the multi-level VIP program. We prefer the variety of offers, especially since cash is worth whatever the face value is. But things like tournament tickets and freerolls can be worth much more with a little bit of luck and skill.
Types of Perks or Rewards Poker Rooms Offer
Here’s a general list of perks we collected from a few of the larger online poker sites to give you an idea of what you can earn once you call a poker room “home.”
- Each room does this differently, but you might receive cash after accruing so many points. Or, maybe you’ll need to earn your points and then go “buy” your cash back. Some rooms do both, making one harder to earn than the other. It just depends.
Any form of cash rewards is one of the first things we recommend you look for. A good example of a room that did/does this is PokerStars. Their old VIP setup made it so that grinders could earn a higher 5- or even low 6-figure income if they made it to the top of their VIP program.
- It’s the same idea here; you may receive bonuses after earning so many points, or perhaps you’ll need to use your points to “buy” the bonus. These often have a playthrough requirement, where you’ll need to play so many hands and/or spend so much in rake before you can cash it out. But that’s easy money for breakeven/winning players.
- You can receive entries into tournaments. The type of tournament varies. Sometimes they’re public tourneys available to everyone, while other times they’re freerolls you can join once or twice per month. And sometimes they’re exclusive to players of a specific VIP level/tier.
The size of the tournaments – the guaranteed prize pool – usually increases as you move up in levels, too. This makes them more valuable, as fewer players reach the upper tiers of a VIP program, so there’s more money to win. But the competition is usually a bit better, too.
Some rooms even offer seats to live tournaments. PokerStars did this for anyone who reached Super Nova Elite (back when this VIP program was still available). Anyone who reached this level would easily earn a 6-figure income, as well as 1 entry into a live event worth $10,000.
- Points Multipliers
- The general idea behind this perk is that as you move up in levels, you can receive a multiplier, which will be applied to the points you earn. Multipliers are usually applied to the points you earn/use to buy or exchange for perks, instead of the points used to determine your VIP level.
The higher up you are in the VIP program, the larger your multiplier will be, thus the faster you’ll earn points and can claim perks. This also reduces the cost of each perk you buy, effectively increasing your ROI, rakeback, profit, or whatever else you want to use to determine the VIP program’s value.
- Expedited Cash Outs
- Self-explanatory. Your cash-out request is moved to the front of the line.
- Dedicated Account Manager
- Spend enough money with a poker room (or casino or sportsbook) and they’ll go out of their way to make sure you’re happy. We don’t see this perk offered nearly as much to poker players as we do to casino customers, but it’s a perk nonetheless. You’ll have a dedicated person you can go to for help or to ask for additional offers (like reload bonuses).
- Store Access
- Interestingly enough, many rooms offer an online store where you can exchange your points for apparel, tournament entries, computer accessories, and electronics.
So, you might not receive access as a tier 1 or 2 member, but tiers 3-5 will. However, other poker sites give store access to everyone.
And that’s it – those are the most common rewards you’ll find. Each poker site offers different perks and sets up their program in a different way.
The best way to know what each room offers is to read our reviews.
How to Find (Sites with) the Best Rewards
So, say you want to find a poker room/VIP combo on your own – how do you find the best one? What do you look for? What matters the most?
Well, it helps if you have a little experience. But really, anyone willing to do the research and basic math can figure it out.
Here’s what we recommend you do and look for when you research what poker rooms you want to join.
1Figure Out and Compare Rakeback
At the end of the day, the easiest way to find out which program is most valuable to you is to determine how much rakeback you’ll receive.
To do this, you need to find out how much rake you spend per $1 (or however much), the number of points you’ll receive for that amount, and how much every point is worth in cash.
Then take this amount and compare it to each room you’re thinking about joining.
Don’t forget – we say cash back, but really anything of value needs to be added to this equation. If you plan to buy a $400 gaming system, that $400 needs to be included somehow. Tournament tickets or live events need to be figured as well.
It all adds up.
2The Poker Room Needs Volume
The rake, VIP schemes, points, and perks don’t matter if the poker room doesn’t have enough foot traffic for games to run.
You can have the best program in the world – on paper – but if you can only play a couple games a day, then you’ll struggle to earn enough points to claim any perks at all.
3How is Rake Calculated/Paid?
Another thing you want to think about is how the poker rooms calculates the amount of rake paid. Usually it’s using one of the following models:
- Contributed – Rake is paid based on the amount each person contributes to the pot. If you put no money into the pot, you pay nothing in rake. But if you don’t pay any rake, then that also means you don’t earn any points.
- Dealt – This means that rake is taken from the total pot, as opposed to individual players and what they put in it. As a result, everyone will receive points, but it’s divvied up amongst everyone not sitting out.
Which one is better? It depends on the type of player you are.
Contributed is better for people who like to play lots of hands. The more hands you play and the more money you contribute to the pot, the more rake you pay and points you’ll earn. What you earn is relative to what you put in.
Dealt is better for tighter players, since they’ll receive points so long as they’re dealt into the hand (and not sitting out).
It’s not necessarily that black and white, though, as there are other variables to consider. Like the number of hands, tables and games you play, the stakes, and so on. But it’s a good indicator of what may work for you.
This will probably only apply/matter to high volume players. But another thing we recommend you look at is how long you stay at each VIP level once you hit it.
Most rooms and levels reset at the start of each month. You reach the 3rd level, and you have it for the rest of the month – or the rest of the month and then the following month, depending on when you received it.
Once you get to the first of the next month, you’ll drop down to whatever level you earned during that timeframe (points wise). It can be one level down, or, if you didn’t earn enough points, you might find yourself on the lowest tier available.
The higher levels – the ones that are harder, more expensive, and time consuming to obtain – like Super Nova Elite – are often good for the rest of the year (usually), as well as the following calendar year. There are some exceptions, depending on when you earned it, but that’s usually how it goes.
So, if you play higher volume and intend to achieve the highest level possible, we recommend you see how long you’ll stay at that level so that you can get the most out of your hard work, time, and money.
The bottom line – it doesn’t matter who you are or what games you play, finding a poker site with sweet rewards is well worth the time and effort.
Most, if not all, programs are free to join, too, and they’ll usually offer all sorts of incentives, such as cash back, bonuses, tournament entries, freerolls, and physical items you can buy.
This is truly one of the easiest ways for poker players to make money.
So, if you have yet to find a poker site with the best rewards, what are you waiting for?