Poker Bonuses Explained
Poker bonuses are offered by the vast majority of poker sites, primarily to attract new players and also reward existing players for their activity. On this page we explain the main types of bonuses that sites offer and look at other ways in which they reward customers. We also list the poker sites that give away the most to players.
Whether you play poker purely for entertainment or with the sole aim of making money on a consistent basis, you should try and take advantage of the extra value these bonuses and rewards provide. You can really boost your bankroll which is of course always a good thing. They make it possible to earn a profit, even if you aren't actually winning money at the tables.
Poker Sites with Best Bonuses & Rewards
There are a number of things to take into account when deciding where to play poker online. It's definitely worth considering the amount of extra value on offer. This doesn't necessarily mean that you should join any old site giving out a big bonus, because you still want to play somewhere reputable that performs well in other areas.
We have put together a small selection of sites, listed below, of a very high standard and also particularly generous when it comes to give-a-ways. We recommend them as reputable and safe places to play.
- Bovada Poker
- BetOnline Poker
Sign Up Bonuses
The sign-up bonus is the most common form of bonus offered by virtually all poker sites. It essentially serves as an incentive for new customers to sign up and is usually awarded when you make the first deposit. The size of a sign-up bonus is typically based on how much you deposit, so always deposit as much as you can afford when claiming it.
Typically, when you make your first deposit, the relevant amount of money isn't actually added to your account, but rather held in reserve. You then have to play a certain amount, either cash games or tournaments, to get the money released. This process is known as clearing a bonus.
At some sites, you have to clear the whole amount before it's released, while at others it's released in smaller increments. The volume of play needed also varies. This is why the biggest bonus isn't always the best. You also need to consider the terms and conditions. We strongly recommend that you fully read these conditions so you understand the requirements.
Some poker sites also offer a no-deposit bonus to new players. Although generally very small, they can be a great way to try out a new site and see what they have to offer without having to deposit any money. If you like what you see, you'll usually be able to subsequently claim another bonus on your first real money deposit.
Another type of bonus is the reload, which basically works the same way as a sign-up bonus but is offered on subsequent deposits rather than on the initial one. Some places offer them on a regular basis, on the first deposit of each month or week for example, while others give them out on an ad-hoc basis from time to time.
These reload bonuses come with terms and conditions, so again, you should clearly understand what you need to do to get the money cleared into your account. Most of the leading sites make it relatively easy to clear bonuses, but at some places the requirements can be less attractive. Thus, it's always worth checking the terms.
Perhaps the best way poker rooms reward players is with a loyalty scheme. They vary from site to site, but the basic principle is that the more you play, the more you get rewarded. Usually, you'll earn loyalty points every time you play cash games or enter a tournament, and they can then be exchanged for cash or bonuses. A number of places even have an online store where you can exchange your points for a range of items.
If you play online poker with any degree of regularity, it's possible to earn significant amounts of money through various programs. This is particularly true if you are skilled at playing across more than one table at a time. Although the best way to make money out of poker is to improve your skills and try to be successful at the tables, there are lots of players out there who make very good money simply by putting in a lot of hours. Even if you only play every now and then, loyalty schemes still represent decent value and should definitely not be ignored.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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