Full Tilt Black Card vs PokerStars Supernova
A lot has been made lately of Full Tilt Poker’s new Black Card promotion. Many of the higher volume players are trying to decide if they should make the switch from PokerStars to Full Tilt now or vice-verse. Some Full Tilt players are not happy with the long awaited program that was supposed to compete with the Supernova and Supernova Elite VIP statuses of PokerStars. Let’s compare the Black Card to Supernova and Supernova Elite levels and see how it looks.
Keep in mind that more importantly than the Black Card introduction, yet often forgotten, is the fact that when they introduced this program, Full Tilt changed the way that rake is calculated from the dealt method to the weighted contribution method. This has a profound effect on your total effective rakeback received from Full Tilt.
Well, actually, let’s just start right here. If you can reach Supernova Elite status at PokerStars then read no further. The Black Card program does not even come close to Elite status so if that is your goal or the volume you plan to put in then good for you – play at Stars.
- WCOOP Series and SCOOP Series
- Daily $1000 Freerolls
- PokerStars VIP Cashback program
- Sunday Million Tournaments
Very few people will reach Elite status though, so we will look at Black Card vs Supernova. We will compare $50 NL full-ring at each site, just because many players pondering this situation will be in the $25 NL to $100 NL level. Below this it is not as important and much higher than this, players will have a better idea already what they want to do. Other levels and games (6 max or tournament players) can use this as a guide and adjust accordingly.
At $50 NL, a Supernova playing at PokerStars can expect to earn about 41% effective rakeback. This is figured by starting as a Supernova player. If starting from scratch it will be a bit less as the first couple months will be at a lower status (Platinum mostly). It also assumes playing about 54,000 hands per month, which would be required to keep Supernova Status.
At Full Tilt Poker, the same player would have to play just over 58,000 hands per month to achieve and maintain Black Card status. This amount is negligible, so it is easy to compare, almost one to one. This assumes playing Rush Poker and purchasing the best bonuses available, just as we assume with PokerStars. The effective rakeback for this volume of play comes to about 37%.
For some, this may seem like a small amount. After all, it is just 4%. So let’s take a look at the raw numbers. At Full Tilt, playing the volume we talked about above, the gross rake paid for the year would come to about $18,000. So, taking 37% of this rake gives us a total rakeback payment of $6,660.
- 25% Full Tilt Rakeback!!
- 100% Bonus up To $600
- $18k Take Down Leaderboard
- Great SNG and Cash Games
- Rush and Adrenalin Cash Games
- Rush Poker Tournaments
- Play Against real pros
- Loose Cash Games
- Low Buy-ins and Huge Prize Pools
- Special FTOPS Series and Promos
Now at Stars we are looking at a total annual rake payment of just over $17,000, since we are playing fewer hands and the rake per hand at PokerStars just works out to a smaller amount. So 41% of $17k comes to $6,970.
The difference between the two is $310. Again, that may seem like a fairly small amount, but for someone playing $50 NL, this is more than 6 buy-ins! Transfer that to the level you play and you can see how it can benefit you. Wouldn’t you like to have 6 extra buy-ins back at the end of each year?
Keep in mind that these numbers are estimates and are based on a certain style of play (fairly tight-aggressive). Your results may be different, but for most people, this outcome will still hold true.
Very loose, aggressive players may actually see their rakeback go up at Full Tilt. The other thing to consider is that these numbers are minimums. Most have found that if they play much more than this then the difference is amplified. PokerStars rewards players for more and more play, while at Full Tilt there is a plateau and in some cases, effective rakeback actually goes down.
I think it is pretty clear that although for some people the Full Tilt Black Card promotion is a great thing, for most people putting in a high-volume of play, PokerStars still offers better value. If you can receive Supernova Status or better at PokerStars, chances are that you would be better off playing there rather than Full Tilt Poker. However, if you will not be able to achieve Supernova Status, then signing up for rakeback and playing at Full Tilt would most likely pay out a little more.