How Online Poker Bonuses Work


Visit the poker bonuses section for information on the best new player sign up bonuses.

Poker Bonuses Explained

This guide aims to inform you about how online poker bonuses work and the best ways in which you can clear them.

Poker room bonuses basics.

The majority of poker sites offer incentives for new players to join their room. This is usually in the form of a sign up bonus where they offer to give you X amount free if you deposit X amount.

So if a poker room is offering a 50% bonus up to $200, they are offering to give you 50% of the amount you deposit free as an extra bonus up to a maximum of $200. Therefore by making a deposit of $400 you will receive the maximum bonus available (50% of $400 = $200).

On first impression this sounds like a great deal, what is there not to like about a free $200 to add to your bankroll? The problem is there are always terms and conditions to which you have to adhere to in order to claim these bonuses.

How to redeem poker bonuses.

The most common method used by poker rooms is that they will record the bonus amount you are able to receive and "hold" it until you have met their conditions. They will usually require you to play X amount of hands in order to receive the bonus, where the value X increases depending on the size of the bonus you are eligible for.

Almost every online poker room will require that you play X amount of hands or generate X amount of player points before they give you the bonus money.

More often than not you will not be able to get your hands on the bonus straight away and you will have to play for a few days or weeks to receive the full bonus. This means that during the period you are trying to obtain X amount of hands, you are generating quite a large amount of ‘rake’ for the poker room. The "rake" is the poker room’s way of making money, by taking a cut from each of the pots and from each of the tournament entrance fees.

Are poker bonuses still worth taking advantage of as a player?


As you play X amount of hands before you can clear the bonus, you are making the room money through the rake they are charging you to play. Therefore the room is never actually losing any money from offering these bonuses, because they are making the money back and more by the time you have played enough hands to redeem them.

However, you are still in a far better position to take the rooms up on their offers because you will be paying rake either way, so why not have the extra bonus money?

Finding the better poker bonuses.

If you look at the conditions each room sets to clear the bonus in the "bonus details" section of the room reviews on this site, you can estimate how difficult the bonus will be to obtain. A lot of rooms will give you "player points" or something along those lines depending on how much rake was taken in each hand. The more rake you pay, the more ‘player points" you will receive.

You should always look at how many "player points" or raked hands you have to play before you can receive the full bonus and then compare them to other rooms.

As a general rule, the smaller bonus offers have far easier clearing requirements than the larger ones. This is not only because the amount is small, but also because they do not require you to play as many rakes hands or gain as many player points per $1 of bonus.

For an overview of the best first-deposit bonuses currently available, check out my easiest poker bonuses page.

Poker bonus scouting example.

For example, room A with a bonus offer of $100 may require you to play 10 raked hands before you can redeem $1 worth of your bonus, whereas room B offering $1000 will require you to play 20 raked hands for every $1 worth of bonus. Therefore you will make more money (or save yourself more money) by clearing ten $100 bonuses rather than clearing one $1000 bonus.

How to work off poker bonus requirements quickly.

  • Play at multiple tables.
  • Play at higher stakes.

You can drastically cut the time it takes to clear a bonus by playing on more than one table at a time (multi-tabling). By playing on 2 tables you are doubling the amount of raked hands you are playing, so instead of being able to clear $1 of bonus per hour, you can clear $2 of bonus per hour and so on.

You can also increase the stakes you play for to increase the amount of player points you may receive on each hand. However, you have to be sure that you are able to multi-table or play well at higher stakes before attempting to increase the rate at which you clear the bonus.

There is no advantage in clearing a bonus in half the time if you lose 4 times as much money or only win a quarter of what you would usually win in the process. Play within your ability.

How poker bonuses work overview.

This article should have hopefully given you an insight into how online poker bonuses work and the best ways to clear them. Some bonuses are far better than others as they are much easier to clear or because the bonus structure is best suited to your needs.

You can use the information about each poker bonus found in the ‘bonuses’ section of this site and in ‘bonus details’ of the poker room reviews to find out which bonus is best suited to you. So instead of just looking for the biggest bonus amount, look for the details for the best poker deals.

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