By Kenny Smith
Cardroom promotions are one of the most valuable tools at a player’s disposal. If used correctly and often enough they can help to either add to one’s bankroll or add extra funds to one’s disposable income.
One of these promotions is the player’s card. The card looks something like a credit card and is swiped in when a player sits down at a table. For every hour that player is in the game, they accrue an hourly “rake back” (or credit), usually about $1 per hour.
Over time players can accrue enough to earn an occasional free meal or other perk on the house. This is beneficial to players who play upwards to 100 hours a month or more.
This is especially true if the casino allows players to redeem their points for chips. At the end of some months, these players will have anywhere from $100 to $300 built up. If those points are redeemable for chips, it becomes enough to subsidize a portion or all of their next buy in.
There are other promotions like bad beats (such as when one player makes quads, only to be beaten by a better hand) or a player receiving a bonus for making a royal flush. These types of promotions help to create action at lower stakes limit Hold’em games. A majority of players will not throw away a potential royal flush hand before the flop in $4/8 limit Hold’em if they have even the slightest chance at something like a $1,000 royal flush bonus—even if the pot is capped at four or five bets before the flop.
Perhaps one of the most exciting and enticing promotions that I have seen are cardrooms drawing names to give away money. This is a great way for a casino to attempt to boost business on a particular day. The idea is that any player who wins a drawing will then put that same money back into a live game. The more hours that a player spends at that particular casino, the more drawing tickets they receive, which in turn gives them more chances to win.
Players who know that they have a higher percentage of tickets to win a drawing have a higher probability of showing up on a drawing day than someone who may have only played one day for only a few hours.
There are other things, such as apparel giveaways, casino swag, etc. All of these different types of promotions are designed to create some type of incentive for player loyalty. The more hours that a player is at a poker table during the week, the more opportunities that they have to win something. The players that I would call “the grinders” are given the greatest opportunity to be rewarded by these promotional programs.
The two cardrooms in my hometown have variations of these types of cash giveaways. Combined, they give away somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million annually. I hear players mention that each one should modify their promotions to incentivize the players even more.
Understand this—Casinos have absolutely zero obligation to give money away. They understand that it’s part of the “you have to spend money to make money” philosophy. But it’s still not a requirement. This is money that is available for any and all players to get. Manage and maximize your time to figure out how to get it.