Online casino’s, poker rooms, betting & bingo sites all offer bonuses to encourage players to deposit and re-deposit at their gambling sites. Sign-up bonuses are now much more similar in value and conditions and have always had play-through requirements – bonus hunting just for the sake of it is not as worthwhile as it used to be.
Poker bonuses are different to casino bonuses, for poker you clear your bonus based on the rake you generate. This is not strictly the same as playthrough as your playing a non house game which means you could win consistently over time – your expectation with poker could be positive whereas with casino games your long term expectation would be negative.
For this reason taking a big casino bonus is not always a good idea – if you win big early then you will still need to keep playing to meet the playthrough requirements before you can withdraw your winnings by which time the odds are likely to have caught up with you.
For example, a casino may offer a “free” $32 for every $10 you deposit but with a playthrough requirement of 30 times –
You would need to wager a total of $960 ($32 x 30) in order to unlock your free $32 bonus.
This doesn’t mean you need to deposit $960, it means you need to wager a total of $960 over time
Say you $10 deposit, you have a balance of $42 which you would need to wager, winning (and losing) enough along the way make the equivalent of over 300 bets of $3.20 for you to be free to cashout whatever your net winnings are after making all those bets.
Now you shouldn’t look at this as the casino trying to con you, they’re not – strictly speaking they are just trying to avoid getting conned themselves by bonus abusers who want both the quick bonus AND a quick big win if they get lucky … Bonuses are aimed at rewarding loyalty which is why they want you to stick around and gamble enough for the odds to even out in favour of the house.
Deposit bonuses offer a nice incentive for playing at new poker rooms. Requirements vary so check rake requirements & time restrictions to clear bonuses offered at each site. Sign-up via our links & use the bonus codes (if required) for the best 1st deposit offers.
Types of Casino & Poker Bonus
There are several types of first time bonus like instant, match or ticket bonuses as well as numerous re-deposit bonuses and referal bonuses, below are the main ones in more detail –
Instant Bonus: This adds instant cash into your poker account, a few sites offer small instant free money or bonus package like $20 FREE and as well as being instant it can be a “no deposit bonus” meaning you don’t need to make a deposit to receive the instant bonus. Other sites will give you an instant bonus on your first deposit like £5 FREE.
Obviously there will be some restrictions on withdrawing the “free” cash otherwise the sites with these deals would go to the wall pretty quick with people trying to shoot the angles and put the free money straight in their pocket. Really the free money offers boil down to them giving you an advanced chunk of your bonus already cleared and available for additional play in your account – Not somthing to be grumbled at.
Match Bonus: This is the most common offer and virtually all poker sites offer a match bonus on your 1st deposit. Generally expressed as a percentage match bonus is usually up to a maximum amount eg. 100% up to $400 bonus would mean your first deposit up to $400 would be matched with another $400 in pending free money. Match bonuses are generally cleared by earning point based on your rake at the poker room – the more you play the more points you earn and the more of your reward is released and put in your account.
Tickets & Entry Bonuses: Becoming increasingly popular with sites as a bolt on bonus top up or as part of their new player packages they offer a selection of tournament or SNG’s tickets for you to use trying out different varieties of their games.
This was something I advocated to a smaller site about 3 years that wasn’t really costing them money to give away tickets to games where they already had a massive overlay – Sites are finally having to get a bit more pro-active with their marketing and bonus packages and including tournament tickets is a great way to do it.
New Depositors Freerolls: These are often overlooked by new players who make their first deposit and then feel like their “above” playing in the freerolls because they have now deposited and have “real” cash to play. Don’t make this mistake, most of the sites that offer a week of first deposit freerolls or a month of Sunday games etc will restrict these games only to first depositors or new players, this means the fields are weak and inexperienced – For you this will mean either that you too are inexperienced and therefore have a good chance against equally inexperienced players OR if you have some experience at other sites then you have a veritable fish feast being offered to you but only as a small window of opportunity – Don’t miss out.
Reload Bonus: This is a loyalty bonus for players who redeposit at the room and although they maybe only periodic often they are based on your known play to give you an incentive to redeposit. Sites want you to continue to play at their site rather than another so give out some more free money to clear as a thank you for your loyalty.
Refer a Friend Bonus: This is free money in your account for introducing your friends to the poker room. When they deposit and have become a proper new customer the poker room will reward you for finding them new business.
With all bonuses it is important to read the requirements to clear any reward offer, all sites will have slightly different requirements. Some will have a time limit on them, others will be open ended, some will clear in increments others in one amount or not at all.
Finding the Best Poker Bonus Offers
Gamblista offers at least as good as standard bonus if not better than signing up direct. Be sure use our links to sign-up at poker rooms and if specified please enter our bonus code when registering this will make sure you get our better bonus offers.
Bonus hunting can be profitable, signing up to many sites to get their sign-up offers especially if you like playing on a particular network you can sign-up at similar sites. Don’t forget a poker bonus is just a bonus don’t spend more to clear it than it’s worth.
First deposit bonuses are designed to attract new players to poker rooms. Bonuses are cleared by playing poker, generating rake which then earns you points. Bonuses are paid in increments or in one payment to your player account. Some sites offer an instant poker bonus (bet365 poker) or free poker money with no deposit like (888poker). It is important to consider the size of the bonus, the bonus requirements and how easy it is to clear.
It is important to use our poker bonus codes where shown and click through our links when you download a new poker room. At the signing up stage you will need to enter our poker bonus codes in the relevant box while completing the registration.
Many of our poker bonus offers are better than signing up direct and always at least as good, this is why you should use our links. Most poker rooms have 1st deposit bonus offers matching your deposit by 100% or more. You clear your bonus playing the required amount of hands, earning points based on the amount of rake you generate while playing. Poker bonuses are paid in stages or in full when you have cleared the required points for the bonus.
There can be a lot of bonus cash on offer for signing up & playing at several sites and trying new sites rather than sticking with a single favourite. Bonus hunting can be a good idea, signing up to several poker rooms and clear their 1st deposit bonuses.
However don’t forget the importance of bankroll management. Don’t sacrifice common sense and end up endlessly redepositing just to try and clear a bonus – it’s only free money IF you are able to grind, raking and earning points to clear the bonus efficiently.
Online Poker Bonus Hunting
Bonus hunting or bonus whoring as it’s sometimes called is basically searching around for the best poker bonus offers, reload bonuses & 1st deposit bonuses available online.
Some sites offer free poker money or an instant poker bonus without big play through requirements or a deposit. However most sites require you to play enough hands to collect player points or qualifying the necessary number of raked hands to clear the bonus. Above is a complete list of all our bonuses and bonus codes but we also have specific information on each bonus offer in our reviews and reviews of the best poker sites.
There is a vast range of bonuses and free money available to the regular poker player and it has become a popular way to build up from a limited bankroll.
Many poker forums & bonus sites offer advice on the best bonuses to hunt out and even give suggested paths to free riches. This is fine in theory and can be a very good way to add money to your bankroll. But the temptation of free cash shouldn’t be a substitute for learning how to play winning poker.
Look at bonus money as a perk not an end in itself – You can make more clear profit at lower limits than you will chasing a bonus for the sake of a bonus.
There can be a lot of cash on offer for signing up & playing at several sites rather than sticking with a single favourite – So it makes sense to sign-up to as many poker rooms as good solid bankroll management will allow.
This is the crucial point though – Do not forget the importance of playing within the limits of your bankroll. Don’t sacrifice common sense just to try and get a monthly bonus or free money.
Yes playing in a $2/4 game will get you player points faster than in a 10 cent game but if your risking all your bankroll in every sitting is it really worth it ?
There are plenty of bonus sites who give a structured lists of poker sites to join and instructions to turn $50 in $1000′s in a few 100 hours –
Sign-up at x deposit $50, play 10hrs clear bonus, cash-out and deposit at y, play for 20hrs clear bonus, cash-out, deposit at z etc … Bingo $1000′s in free money.
But I think this misses the fundamental point of poker – Ultimately to be a winner you need to learn & play winning poker.
This is much more important in the long run than relying on bonus money to keep you afloat – Remember a bonus is just that – a bonus
You could argue that if your neither a net losing player or a net winning player the bonuses alone are worth playing for but I think it’s much more important to play within the limits of your bankroll whilst learning and become a net winning player rather than needing to clear a bonus just to continue playing.
It is much more important to choose a site that is easier to win at than chasing big bonuses. I would recommend playing at the fishier sites to start off with is more important … They may not have the biggest percentage bonuses but good solid play alone should grow your bankroll
When it comes to bonus hunting the golden rules are …
1) Always try to deposit the maximum amount possible to get the biggest bonus on offer.
2) Don’t play higher limits than your bankroll allows just to try and get more player points or to clear a bonus.
3) Always check the T&C’s and how the bonus is qualified – if its a time dependent offer maybe your better off starting at a different site or selecting a more appropriate offer. Does the bonus qualify on all stakes and games ?
4) Always look at a bonus as a bonus – be realistic if your a net losing player no amount of free bonus money will change that – You need to work at your game.
5) There is no such thing as a free lunch – Most bonuses are based on the rake the poker site has made from your play or expects to make – it’s no good cashing up a couple of times to finally get $40 free if it has cost you twice that to get it. Don’t play a tough site before your ready just because the bonus is huge.
Once you have got a reasonable solid winning game together – It’s always a good idea to spread your bankroll around as it grows and take full advantage of sign-up bonuses at sites you haven’t played. After all if you are a net winning player it does no harm to have additional bonus money coming in and growing your bankroll for free.