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"The Beast" @ America's Cardroom Is NOT Worth It (or is it?)

WPN Brand Logos and Beast

If you've heard of the Winning Poker Network's The Beast promotion but don't really know how it works, then we have the answers to your questions!

The Beast - Internet Poker's Largest Rake Race

In 2013, the management of the Winning Poker Network had a bright idea: “Let's scrap the Bad Beat Jackpot tables that we have and convert that fee into a rake race to reward our high-volume players.” It was then that The Beast was born!

Running week after week, the money paid out via The Beast has truly reached massive proportions. The Beast surpassed the $20,000,000 mark in total prizes awarded, easily enough to make it the largest rake race ever held online. And it has only been growing larger since!

The Beast Leaderboard December 2020

How Does The Beast Work?

Blue Information Button

The Beast is a progressive points race, although the points are closely correlated to rake paid, so we like to refer to it as a progressive rake race. A player has to earn "Beast Points" in order to move up the leader board. To reap the rewards of The Beast, all a player has to do is participate in any of the real money cash games (except for heads-up games) offered at any of the WPN brands, such as Americas Cardroom, Black Chip Poker, Ya Poker, and True Poker.

The Beast Funding Mechanism

Bills and Coins

The Beast is funded through a portion of the normal ring game rake taken from each pot, so you aren't paying extra to participate. Every cash game counts, apart from HU tables, so you don't have to waste time trying to find a qualifying table.

For every $0.06 in rake, $0.02 is diverted to The Beast with a maximum of $0.04 Beast rake in two-player hands, $0.08 in hands with three players dealt in, and $0.24 if there are four or more individuals who received cards. For each $0.02 so contributed, you'll get 1 Beast Point.

How Are the Payout Values Determined?


The total Beast funds are divided up into a cash race jackpot and a tournament package jackpot. For every $95 in the tourney jackpot, a satellite tournament ticket will be awarded. This is typically an online feeder MTT that distributes packages to prestigious events, like the Live Cage and the Venom.

There are many Beast victors who disdain playing in these satellite tournaments especially those who rank highly in the leaderboard week after week. Entering a tournament for a chance to join yet another tourney probably seems like a waste of time to these high-stakes mavens. Others, even at lower stakes, might forget to log in and play when the MTT starts because it is usually set to begin a week or more after the tickets are awarded. Of those who enter, many are exclusively ring game players and have little conception of proper tourney strategy.

All of these factors mean that the value of the tickets awarded far exceeds their $95 face value. Between those who are absent and those who think a tournament refers to a medieval jousting contest, there's a lot of dead money up for grabs. A more accurate reflection of the EV of the satellite ticket would be $150 or perhaps $190.

The cash race payouts are divided into four tiers:

  • Level 1: $500
  • Level 2: $250
  • Level 3: $125
  • Level 4: $50

For every $3,500 in the cash race jackpot, one payment is allocated for Level 1, two for Level 2, five for Level 3, and twenty for Level 4. After deducting these prizes from $3,500, there's $875 left over, which goes toward funding The Beast pot for the following week. Any money remaining after splitting up the pool into $3,500 increments is distributed to the top finishers in Levels 2, 3, and 4.

How Are The Beast Prizes Awarded?

Document With Blue Words

Every weekly The Beast period runs from Saturday 00:00 ET to Friday 23:59 ET. It's the points accumulated during this timeframe that count toward the leader board.

All winners will receive cash prizes by 4:00 p.m. ET the following Monday. Tournament entries are for the second Sunday following the end of each The Beast competition. Players are automatically registered for the relevant event and if a player is logged into the poker client at the time the tournament begins or while the tournament is running and they still have chips, the player will be automatically seated to play.

Because the prizes are calculated and distributed from two distinct pools (cash race and tournament package), it's possible to qualify for one type of reward but not the other. The highest finishers every week, however, receive both cash and MTT tickets.

How Many People Win Each Week?


The number of people paid every week varies based on the total cash game rake paid into The Beast during that week. This sum has been known to sometimes surpass $200,000, and with 28 people paid for each $3,500 contained in the pot, this leads to around 1,600 individuals scoring cold, hard cash during these weeks. This is now the standard with at least 1,600 players getting paid each and every week. Generally, more players receive cash prizes than satellite tournament tickets.

Checking The Beast Leaderboard


During the week, it's easy to see where you stand in The Beast. Simply log into the poker software at your WPN site of choice. Then click on “Rewards” in the top menu and “The Beast” in center of the lobby. The Beast standings will be displayed in the poker software.

You'll be able to see your current position and the prize(s) you stand to win. Bear in mind that the Beast prize pool is constantly growing while you and your competitors are playing, so the final results may be different from what you see.

Beast Historical Info and Detailed Calculations

Floating Numbers

By now you might be wondering how to translate theory into practice and what it takes to at least min-cash in The Beast, if not to score the most coveted prizes. It's all well and good discussing points, money prizes, and tournament tickets, but all of this talk is pretty useless if you don't know how much playing volume you need to score a prize.

Fortunately, we've observed The Beast over a period of a few weeks in January 2021 while noting the number of leaderboard points required to achieve certain tiers in the promotion as well as the number of people who reach each level. The results of our research are as follows:

  • Tier 1, $500 + Tournament Ticket: 41 winners, 13,333 points required
  • Tier 2, $250 + Tournament Ticket: 84 winners, 7,938 points required
  • Tier 3, $125 + Tournament Ticket: 208 winners, 4,767 points required
  • Tier 4a, $50 + Tournament Ticket: 51 winners, 4,266 points required
  • Tier 4b, $50: 785 winners, 1,716 points required

In all, at least 1,600 participants obtain some kind of payout every week from The Beast. By far the majority of them take home the lowest prize of $50, but a few people in this lowest tier are able to additionally grab for themselves a $95 tournament ticket as well.

As we move up the ranks of the contest, the number of winners decreases until only around 40 receive the top prize of $500. At tiers above the lowest, though, everyone gets a tourney entry in addition to the cash prize.

Rake Needed

Because $0.02 goes into the Beast pool for every $0.06 raked in cash games and 1 point is then awarded, it may seem that 16.67 points are granted per dollar raked. However, this simple calculation ignores the subtleties of the way The Beast is structured.

In actuality, the figure of 16.67 Beast points per dollar raked ignores the fact that rake is only diverted to The Beast in steps of $0.06 in ring game rake. Therefore, there are many rake amounts between a $0.06 interval for which the effective Beast contribution is a lower percentage. After accounting for this phenomenon, we discover that you really only get about 15.67 points per dollar raked.

Related to this is the fact that pots that rake less than $0.06 do not count at all toward increasing the prize pool or awarding points for The Beast. Furthermore, all rake of more than $0.72 in a single hand is simply ignored because once you reach the $0.72 mark, The Beast rake caps out at its maximum of $0.24 per hand.

Thus, blind levels that see a lot of small pots as well as those with extremely large pot sizes require more rake to be generated in order to progress in The Beast. Bear in mind too that your individual pattern of gameplay also has an impact on how well you will be rewarded by The Beast.

Micro Stakes and The Beast

The Beast, though now featuring a flatter payout structure than before, is simply not geared toward people who contribute only a little bit of rake. Therefore, it's pretty hard to put in enough volume to get anything from this leaderboard if you sit at the lowest blind levels. Click on a stake level below to find out what the Beast prospects are like for individuals playing at these 6-max NLHE tables.

If you're a 2NL grinder, then you can grind to your heart's content and yet make nothing from The Beast. Looking at the lowest prize threshold of 1,716 points and 15.67 points per dollar of rake, you would need to rake $110 to get a $50 payout.

By our estimations, you would need to sit through close to 80,000 hands to rake this much. And this doesn't even consider the fact that many raked hands at this level will fall below the $0.06 rake minimum to get any Beast points. Clearly, The Beast is a bust for the nano-grinders.

Moving on to $0.02/$0.05, our industry information tells us that you would need to play more than 22,000 hands, on average, to rake $110 and thereby get a $50 Beast prize. Even if you play for 40 hours a week, you would need to plow through more than 500 hands an hour: realistic only if you're a super multi-tabler and totally out of the question for 99% of our readers.

At $10NL, you would need to play a bit more than 12k hands to begin placing on The Beast leaderboard: a far more reasonable figure than at $5NL. It will still take some doing to get enough points to pick up a $50 prize, but it should be feasible if you're willing to play four tables at once for a bit more than 40 hours or six tables for 25 to 30 hours a week. This is also the first blind level at which fast-fold Blitz Poker is offered, which can serve to speed up your progress a bit.

If you do succeed in advancing to a $50 position in The Beast, we expect that you would have to rake about $120 because of the effects of tiny and jumbo pots creating extra rake without giving Beast points. This would mean your Beast prize would be the equivalent of 42% rakeback: not too shabby at all. The next step up, $50 plus an MTT ticket, is almost certainly beyond the reach of almost all $10NL players though.

At the $25-buyin tables, we again foresee approximately $120 in rake being needed to snag one of the lowest Beast prizes. However, this is a much more readily attainable target than it was at any of the previously discussed blind levels. Indeed, a mere 5,500 hands should suffice at $0.10/$0.25, and you will get 42% rakeback out of the deal.

If you push yourself to rake about $300 in a week (perhaps 14,000 hands played), then you can claim not just $50 in cash but also a $95 tourney ticket for a total value of $145, representing about 45% rakeback. Then if you can generate about another $35 in rake, you will move up to the $125 tier. Your ~$335 in rake will be worth $125 cash + a $95 ticket for a total return of $220: a rakeback rate of more than 65%!

Small Stakes and The Beast

As we move up to small-stakes games, we'll see Beast prizes figure more prominently in terms of the number of people who can qualify for them, and the higher-tier payouts become increasingly realistic for dedicated players. However, effective rakeback percentages start dropping toward the higher end of this spectrum.

At blinds of $0.25/$0.50, we begin to see a lot of pots that exceed the $0.72 rake mark, which means you will need to generate more and more rake to get the same number of points as someone playing at lower stakes. According to our back-of-the-envelope calculations, you'll need to rake about $150 to get a $50 Beast payment, about the equivalent of 33% rakeback.

The good news is that raking $150 at $50NL should take less than 5,000 hands. Getting the $50 + ticket reward requires perhaps $380 in rake, and your reward will be worth approximately 38% cashback. The next level, a $125 monetary award and a $95 ticket, can be yours for about $425 in rake. This is a value of more than 50% back.

Hitting the target of $425 in rake demands that you play more than 13,000 hands: a bit ambitious for part-timers but probably no problem for dedicated full-time pokerists. However, getting to the next tier of $250 + MTT entry takes about $710 in rake paid, which will see you need to plow through close to 22,000 hands, an ambitious goal indeed. Yet if you should succeed, you will walk away with $345 in perks for a rakeback rate of 49%.

$100NL is where you will really begin to feel the bite of the low Beast rake cap, which means that a large fraction of the rake you pay will not be reflected in your point total. By our math, it will take close to $200 in rake paid to get the bottommost $50 Beast prize and earn 25% rakeback. To add the $95 tournament ticket to your cash payment will take about $500 raked, and this will up the RB equivalent of the Beast to nearly 30%. Hitting the $125 tier demands about $550 in rake, and the value of your rewards will approximate 40%.

Obtaining these first three levels of rewards shouldn't be too onerous and probably requires less than 10,000 hands of play. However, if you're aiming for a $250 payout, then you will have to rake about $900, which you can most likely accomplish by putting in 15,000 hands. For your efforts, you will be rewarded with an effective cashback rate of 38%.

If you have your eyes set on the $500 top prize, then you can obtain it by generating a little bit more than $1,500 in rake: a task that you can fulfill with a volume of about 25K hands. Including the value of the $95 tournament ticket, this level of commitment will net you a rakeback equivalent of nearly 40%.

Once we get to games with blinds of $1/$2, even the smaller pots will extract enough rake that the $0.24 cap on Beast contributions will be hit fairly regularly. Due to this effect, we estimate you'll have to rake around $250 to get the $50 bottom-rung prize for a rakeback rate of 20%. The next set of prizes deliver rakeback at the following approximate rates:

  • $50 cash + $95 Ticket: 24% RB
  • $125 cash + $95 Ticket: 33% RB
  • $250 cash + $95 Ticket: 31% RB
  • $500 cash + $95 Ticket: 32% RB

Earning the $250 level of cash prize ought to be doable with a bit more than 10,000 hands of volume while the uppermost tier will require closer to 20K hands.

Higher Stakes and The Beast

At stakes above $1/$2, we believe that the amount of rake you will need to place on The Beast will continue increasing because of the Beast contribution cap being hit more frequently. It's probable that most individuals in this category will see returns of between 20% and 25% as long as they don't overshoot the top tier by too much.

Those who do max out at the $500 level and continue playing will realize ever-diminishing returns from The Beast. We do hope that they are on the Elite Benefits program rather than the 27% rakeback deal because at this volume of play, the gains from the Americas Cardroom VIP system can more than make up for any deficiencies in relative Beast rewards.

Worst-Case Scenario

Apart from nano-stakes players who have no realistic shot at earning a Beast prize, the lowest returns will likely accrue to high-stakes ballers who generate way more rake than is needed to earn the top prize. Let's create a worst-case scenario and examine what the value of The Beast would be.

We will assume a full $3 is raked from every pot and therefore, 12 Beast points are distributed. At the stakes we're talking about, most postflop hands will be heads-up, meaning that our hypothetical player will collect nearly 6 points for these hands in which he is a participant. However, we must also consider those times when he contributes a blind or a few big blinds preflop and then folds, which would give him only a very small number of points. We'll figure on an average of 4 points per raked hand.

40,000 points is about what the highest placers attain each week, and so we will use this as our benchmark. At 4 points per raked hand, this is 10,000 raked hands played (perhaps 60K – 70K total hands when we consider raked hands in which our hero does not contribute and hands that end preflop). If we continue with our estimation of assigning one-third of the rake to our imaginary grinder, we get a total of $10,000 raked. Since the highest reward from The Beast is only worth $595 ($500 cash and a $95 ticket), this works out to only ($595/$10,000) = ~6% RB.

If we change one variable in this equation by reducing the Beast points collected from 40,000 to 15,000, then we get a different picture. 15K Beast points is easily sufficient to comfortably score the $500 + $95 ticket, and it's a lot easier to achieve than 40K. Keeping all of the other calculations the same, our hypothetical user would rake “only” $3,750 and would thereby see a rakeback return of about 16%.

Other Games and The Beast

Though our examples above focused on six-max Texas Hold'em ring games, there are other versions of poker that qualify for The Beast.

Full-ring NL Hold'em is probably the format that will see results the closest to six-max Hold'em. The slower dealing of hands and smaller average pot sizes make this a somewhat worse game for The Beast, however. Yet, if the tighter nature of the correct FR strategy allows you to grind more tables at the same time, then the numbers might work out almost identically to six-handed NLHE.

Heads-up NLHE is excluded from Beast, but two-handed play at bigger tables does qualify. Lest any aspiring table-starters dream of huge Beast payouts for being able to rapidly churn through hands, we must unfortunately quash these aspirations. You see, the Beast rake is limited to no more than $0.04 in hands with two players and $0.08 in three-player hands. Therefore, any gains you see from being able to play more hands in a given time period will be negated by the small number of points you can earn in a single hand.

Blitz fast-fold poker does count fully toward The Beast, and you can use it to accumulate points fast before the week ends. If you're already a heavy multi-tabler, though, you might find that the constant attention demanded by Blitz diverts your mind away from your other games with the net effect of only a negligible increase in hands per hour.

Pot Limit Omaha features bigger pots, more action, and more showdowns than Texas Hold'em. This means that you'll pick up Beast points much more rapidly than in Hold'em. This makes it easier to qualify for Beast prizes with a lower volume of play.

At similar average pot sizes, Limit games, like LHE, Stud, and Omaha Hi-Lo, beat NL Hold'em for Beast point generation rates. This is because there are more raked hands as a proportion of total hands and also because the distribution of pot sizes is weighted more toward the average than in big-bet games where there are many very small and extremely large pots, both of which fail to realize full Beast value. The problem for limit players is a lack of action because there are seldom more than a few tables running in these variants.

The Beast Value Bottom Line

Brown Money Bag

There are two categories of players for whom The Beast does not hold much appeal. For those below $10NL, it's virtually impossible to get anything out of The Beast, barring some kind of “nanonoko”- or “BlackRain79”-style ultra-grinding. At the other end of the spectrum, high-stakes individuals who routinely put in tens of thousands of hands per week will indeed receive the best possible prizes, but the value of these rewards is nugatory compared to the massive rake they pay.

Starting at 10NL, it's possible for mere humans to begin collecting from the lower rung of Beast payouts. The sweet spot if one intends to maximize Beast value percentages appears to be $25NL and $50NL where savvy rounders can set themselves up with 50% rakeback or even more from Beast prizes.

At $0.50/$1.00 and above, the cashback provided decreases as a fraction of total rake paid although it still exceeds 30% RB for the majority of individuals as long as they take care to not wind up raking a lot more than is necessary for the tier they ultimately place in on the leaderboard.

Even in mid- and high-stakes tables, it's not too hard to get back 20% through the Beast, but then at the biggest blind levels, the returns granted through the Beast system drop down into the single digits and low teens particularly for the highest-volume players.

Ready to Earn Goodies From The Beast?


If you're eager to claim your share of rewards from The Beast but you don't yet have an account at the Winning Poker Network, then now's a fine time to sign up. Our preferred WPN skin is Americas Cardroom because it is the flagship site and it has a few perks that the other partner sites lack.

Upon making your first deposit, you'll get a 100% up to $2,000 bonus that clears at 20% rakeback. If you choose to deposit in crypto-currency, then the percentage match of your welcome bonus doubles to 200%. Read our review of Americas Cardroom to learn all about this premium poker operator or read our article about America's Cardroom promo codes if you wish to compare the options available.

Americas Cardroom Signup Instructions

If you already have an America's Cardroom account, you can create another account on its sister sites Black Chip Poker, True Poker, or Ya Poker (non-US only).

Step 1:  If you've previously installed the software, you must uninstall it now before continuing.

Step 2:  You'll need to decide whether you want a 27% rakeback account or a VIP Elite Benefits account. Both account types have the maximum deposit bonuses automatically available, however Professional Rakeback offers an exclusive $10 free bankroll offer for non-rakeback accounts

Rakeback is best for low-volume players while Elite Benefits caters to those willing to put in consistent play at meaningful stakes month after month. If you have your heart set on scooping up a lot of free cash from The Beast, then Elite Benefits is almost certainly the correct choice for you. However, we recognize that people who play infrequently or who must take periodic breaks may be better served by rakeback even while still preserving their ability to claim a Beast prize or two during those weeks that they're able to focus on the tables. If you still do not know what is right for you, our staff has written an exhaustive study comparing the Elite Benefits vs. 27% Rakeback poker acounts avalilbe on America's Cardroom, Black Chip, True Poker, and Ya Poker brands.

Step 3: Click the button below corresponding to either Elite Benefits or rakeback depending on your preferences.

Step 4: Download, install, and open the poker client.

Step 5: Create an account and log in / username.  When doing so, use the bonus code corresponding to the type of account you wish to enjoy! Type in the bonus code PRB10FREE for Elite Benefits and a $10 no deposit bonus or PROFRB27 for rakeback. Read more about the $10 free bankroll offer, especially the important terms and conditions that apply to it, in our page devoted to ProfRB exclusive deals.

Elite Benefits $10 Free Code

Rakeback Code

Look below to see where to enter in the Americas Cardroom bonus code that you wish to use:

ACR Bonus Code

Step 6:  Create your "tablename" to be dsplayed on the tables to other users while playing poker.

Step 7:   Skype or Email your login name and registered email address to Professional Rakeback if you wish to verify your rakeback or VIP account.

Step 8:  We recommend that you pre-verify your account by contacting live chat as doing so will ensure that when it comes time to withdraw your winnings, there will be no delays. Verification may also result in higher deposit limits. [Why do sites require verification?]