Using Skill Games to Evaluate the Profitability of Bonus Offers

January 24, 2014


If you're a fan of skill-based games like blackjack and video poker, then you don't need us to tell you that it can be hard to find good bonus offers. Because of this, it's very important to be able to accurately access the value of the limited supply of reloads and deposit bonus promotions that are out there so that you can pick out the best ones. While the techniques that we're going to show you here for evaluating the profitability of bonuses can be used for just about any type of game, they're especially important for video poker and blackjack players.

The first thing that you need to do when evaluating these offers is figure out exactly how much you're going to have to wager through to clear the bonus. For example, suppose you're making a $100 deposit for a 70 percent match for playing video poker. This bonus has a base wagering requirement of 25 times the sum of the deposit and the bonus, but there's a penalty for video poker that means your wagers only count as 20 percent of their face value for the play-through. Your base play-through is 25 * $170 = $4,250, and you'll need to multiply that by a factor of five to take into account the 20 percent clearance rate. This comes to $21,250.

Once you have this exact figure, then you'll need to figure out how much money the house figures to gain off of your play for that amount. If you're playing a video poker game that you can keep a 99.5 percent payout rate for, then that means the house advantage is 0.5 percent. Take 0.5 percent of $21,250 to figure out exactly how much they will make from your play-through. This figure is $106.25. As you can see, you're effectively spending $106.25 to get a $70 bonus, so you'll figure to lose an average of $36.25 from claiming this offer.

If you use this approach, you can compare several different offers with different types of terms and conditions. Just make sure that you're paying attention to whether or not the bonus itself is cashable because non-cashable bonuses aren't that useful for video poker and blackjack players. If you were playing slots, however, then it's basically as good as cash since you'll tend to play until you either hit a big jackpot or go bust anyway.