There are two ways to earn rakeback on your play at online poker rooms: flat rakeback and VIP rakeback, also known as rewards or a 'VIP program'. What’s the difference between the two systems?
Flat Rakeback – traditionally what most poker rooms would offer. With this deal, you get a simple fixed percentage back (usually 27-40%) on your rake paid to the poker room. Rakeback payments are paid in cash daily, weekly or monthly directly into your account balance.
VIP Rakeback – a more complicated deal where you redeem frequent player points in the client for certain perks, such as bonus offers (cash that requires more play to unlock) and tournament tickets. Your equivalent rakeback percentage may depend on your play volume, or winrate (e.g. the Essence method).
Flat rakeback programs mainly works in this sense: If you join a poker room and their rakeback is 27% then you will get a fixed portion back on every hand or tournament you play. In this case you will receive $0.27 back for every $1.00 you pay in rake or tourney fees.
In addition, some flat rakeback programs offer payments on demand, so you can collect your rakeback when you choose with no waiting. Two popular rooms for this are Americas Cardroom and BlackChip Poker.
A VIP rakeback poker program is basically the same as a regular rakeback, except it pays out cash or bonuses to players based on milestones, status and other factors. VIP rakeback gives different cash back percentages based on points you generate by playing online poker.
A well-known VIP programs is that of PokerStars.
A current trend in the industry is for rooms that previously offered flat rakeback to switch to using VIP programs, a model seen to improve game conditions for recreational players.
No matter the system on your room of choice, there will be regulars making the most of rakeback to boost their winrate - so called 'rakeback pros'.