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This has been something of a mission of mine for a long time, but it’s taken a long time to get there. The Empire Poker loyalty points program doesn’t let you spend anything on junky merchandise until you’ve earned 5000 points and become a VIP, so otherwise all those hard earned FPPs are useless. Points are awarded in bizarre fashion, with ring game players penalised for playing too much - they number of points they get is the square root of the number of hands played in a day - whereas tournament players are rewarded for playing insane sessions – bonus points are awarded equal to the square of the number of tournament they play.
Since Party Poker took over, the number of qualifying daily tounaments has increased, and it would be possible to play over 40 tournaments in a day – thousands of bonus points! - if you were so inclined. I’m don’t quite have that stamina yet, but I’m getting there… On Sunday I’d worked out that I needed 642 points to become important, and so I played 25 tournaments – 625 bonus points, plus a few others based on the entry fees – which just pushed me into VIP territory.
5000 points should be enough for several shirts, caps, stress balls or blankets (I really wanted an Empire Poker blanket). But now that I finally made it, the VIP store appears to have been cleaned out. No key fobs, no playing cards, no mouse pads. Just cash. 5000 points is $50 cash, which is not to be sneezed at, but I wanted junk!
I ended up about even. Of course. About $50 down in real money, but also with a seat into a $215 tournament on Friday. In real terms, it’s a profit. Not bad at all, considering I was having to play 6 tables at a time at some points, and clearly wasn’t making great decisions when some all-in gambles I wouldn’t ordinarily take would have the upside of having more chips and the downside of being able to concentrate better on other tournaments. To get that far, I’d played 13 hours non-stop and was thoroughly knackered. Better get in training if I want to go for maximum points next time…
I also fell foul of bad karma after turning down a final table deal for the first time ever. My stack was crippled with four left, but my chip count offer was still less than third place money, so I didn’t think it was worth it. Of course, I busted on the next hand.
So my next goal is the Royal Flush Club at 15,000 points. This opens the door to a monthly $100 bonus with no play requirements. It’ll be worth it in the end… probably take a year or so to get there though at the rate I’m going!