Full Tilt Poker recently made some changes to their new Black Card promotion.
For those of you that are unfamiliar: Black Card is a status you can achieve on Full Tilt Poker by earning an average of 500 Full Tilt Points a day over a rolling 100 day period.
The perks of being a Black Card member are: you get a physical Black Card (which is a very useful tool for picking up the ladies), ability to shop in the Black Card Store (which includes merchandise and CASH BONUSES), specialized e-mail support for BC members (much better than regular FTP support, IME), ability to play special Black Card tournaments and a 2x FTP multiplier; which means you earn two times the full tilt points for money raked than non-BC members.
Now, for me, the bread and butter of the Black Card is the specialized support, the cash bonuses in the Black Card Store and most importantly the 2x FTP multiplier.
The reason the 2x FTP is so important is because it is effectively additional rakeback and in this post I am going to help you figure out how much it is worth to you.
---- MATHS WARNING!! ----
Let's start with some calculations based on the original Black Card program, which is still going to be the case for any of you averaging 500-1,499 FTPs/day (I'll explain more why this number matters in a bit).
For the sake of saving time I am going to assume you have the standard 27% rakeback on your FTP account, you play SnGs/MTTs (cash rake is a different calculation), and give you results for spending your FTPs on the $5,000 cash bonus, $500 cash bonus, $250 cash bonus, the Step 5 tournament Ticket, $640 1M GTD ticket, $75 tournament ticket and $26 tournament ticket.
There are other things you can spend your FTPs on but most of them will be of lesser value (except for higher buyin tournament tickets)
As most of you know, when you spend FTPs and you have an account with rakeback your purchase comes with a deduction to your MGR. This deduction comes at the cost of $5 per 1,000 FTPs. So for every 1,000 FTPs you spend you take a $5 MGR hit, and since you get 27% of your MGR you take a 27% hit of that $5 to your rakeback. In other words for every 1,000 FTPs you spend you lose $1.35 (5 * .27 = 1.35).
Now let's show you how to find out how much an item is actually worth after the MGR hit. I'll show you the steps for the $5,000 bonus and see if you can do it yourself for the others (I'll give you the answer anyways but it's always good to know how to do the math by yourself).
$5,000 bonus - Well, you are getting a bonus of $5,000 at a cost of 1,100,000 points. At $5 per 1,000 points (1,000 goes into 1.1m 1,100 times) this $5000 costs you (5 * 1,100 = 5,500) $5,500 to your MGR, which reduces your rakeback payment by $1,485. You're effectively paying $1,485 to get $5,000 which leaves $3,515 profit. Got it? Good!
According to Full Tilt Poker's website a non-BC member gets 10 full tilt points for every $1 they pay to the rake. This means as a Black Card member your FTPs are worth double the rakeback as you get the 2x FTP multiplier which means for ever $1 you pay in rake you get 20 FTPs.
Now, at a rate of 20 FTPs per $1 in rake it would take you (1,100,000 / 20 = 55,000) $55,000 paid in rake to earn enough points to get the $5,000 bonus; which we know now is a profit of $3,515. The percent that $3,515 is of $55,000 is the rakeback equivalent that you are getting, in this case (3,515 / 55,000 = .0639) just over 6.39% rakeback! This would mean a player with 27% rakeback and Black Card is now getting 33.39% rakeback.
Now it's understandable that most players aren't going to want to wait as long as it takes to rake $55,000 to claim the $5,000 bonus. As far as the cash bonuses go you'll be taking a bit of a hit getting any of the others in the store vs the $5k ($500 bonus = 5.3% RB, $250 bonus = 4.99% RB); but fear not! There are other options available to retain a higher rakeback percentage in our friends the tournament tickets.
Buying a tournament ticket is effectively buying cash, with the restriction that you must use that cash to play a tournament of that buy-in, which shouldn't be much of a problem since you're already a SnG/MTT player. So the formula is the same as buying a cash bonus from above.
Let's take the $75 tournament ticket for example. You're buying $75 at a cost of 16,500 FTPs so (16.5 * $5 =) $82.5 MGR hit, of that you take a (82.5 * 0.27=) $22.275 rakeback hit leaving you with (75 - 22.275=) $52.725 in value. It costs you (16,500 / 20=) $825 in rake to make the 16.5k FTPs needed to buy the ticket so you're getting a rakeback value of (52.725 / 825 =) 6.39%! The same rakeback value as a $5,000 cash bonus that would normally take you $55,000 in rake to clear.
The $26 touranment ticket is worth 6.265% RB there are other tournament tickets which can yield you an ever higher RB %; such as the $640 ticket to the $1M GTD at 133,000 points, a 6.924% RB value; though most will be about the same or slightly less value.
---- MATHS WARNING!!!! ----
With the introduction of the new improvements to the Black Card promotion now members who achieve a rolling average of 1,500-2,999 points get a 3x FTP Multiplier and if you achieve a 3,000+ point average you get an amazing 4x FTP Multiplier
I'm going to use the $5,000 bonus to illustrate the effects of a 3 or 4x multiplier as it should be a lot more realistic to use your FTPs for this bonus if you've earned this level of BC.
$5,000 bonus for 1,100,000 points. (1,100 * 5 =) $5,500 MGR hit, (5,500 * .27=) $1485 rakeback hit. ($5,000 - $1485 =) $3515 value.
Now, here is where the change takes place. Instead of $1 to earn 20 FTPs with a 3x FTP you are now getting 30 FTPs per $1 paid to rake, so... 1,100,000 points divided by 30 points (per $1 in rake) = $36,666.66. You are paying roughly $18,333.34 less for the same bonus and getting (3,515 / 36,666.66 =) 9.586% rakeback!
When you average 3,000+ points your 4x FTP makes that jump to 12.781% RB!
That means a player with a 27% rakeback account who achieves BC 4x status is making almost 40% rakeback! And even better durring happy hours he is making almost 43% RAKEBACK! That is quite the step up from the 27% you thought you had, isn't it?
Well, I think this post has served it's purpose. No go out there and grind, just make sure you stay away from my tables -- rakeback is worthless if I'm taking all your maneys.