Poker Bonuses Explained
As online poker began gaining popularity, the competition in the industry increased. Poker rooms soon recognized the importance of offering players monetary incentives to win over new business and retain existing customers. Customer loyalty is greatly valued in the age of fierce competition. With the increasing competition, the bonus offers are getting more and more lucrative and both, the player as well as the poker room stand to gain. Poker bonuses give your bankroll a good boost so you can start out ahead of the game. There are various types of bonuses being offered to avid poker players all in the hope of keeping you hooked to the site to generate more business. You will find welcome or signup bonuses, reload bonuses, ongoing promotions, rake-back and loyalty programs.
How does a Poker Bonus work?
The most common poker bonus you find is the welcome bonus or the sign up bonus where the poker room offers to match your first deposit amount up to a certain percentage. For example, Ultimate Bet’s current welcome bonus will match your first deposit by 111% up to $1,100. So, if your initial deposit at the site is, say, $100, they will credit an additional $111 taking the total in your account to $211. At first glance, this looks like a cool way to get those free dollars into your account, but then nothing in this world comes free. The poker room will always attach certain conditions that you need to fulfill to claim this so called ‘free’ bonus. Generally, you are required to play a certain number of poker hands for real money or generate a certain number of player points before you get the bonus. The number of hands or the points to be collected increases depending on the size of the bonus, so the bigger the bonus, the more hands you have to play.
How to claim your Poker Bonus.
As I described earlier, you will not get the bonus dollars right away since you are required to play a certain number of hands. To receive the full bonus, you might have to play for a few days or even months and during this period, you are playing ‘raked’ hands, that is, paying fees for entry to the games or tournaments. The rake is the cut from each pot that the site takes as a way of making money out of the whole setup. So when you play the required number of hands, you are generating a huge amount of income for the poker site. The bonus money will be released into your account in increments of $5 or $10 once the play-through conditions are met. You must also meet the play through requirement within a certain time frame, which could be 30 days to 6 months depending on the terms set by each poker room and the size of the bonus.
Are Poker Bonuses profitable?
For the poker room, the answer to the above question is a resounding ‘Yes!’ In fact, the poker room has a lot more to gain by giving you a bonus because you will be generating an income for them through your poker play. But, as a player, you too stand to gain, although not as much as the poker room. You would have to pay rake anyway so why not have some extra cash in your pocket to play your favorite game? Bonuses do, in fact, boost your playing power.
How to clear the Poker Bonus quickly.
There are two ways to clear the bonus faster than you normally could. One way is to play at multiple tables or ‘multi-tabling’ as it is called. By playing at more than one table at the same time, you are speeding up the process; instead of clearing $1 per hour you will be clearing $2 per hour. The other way is to play for higher stakes. Here, you increase the stakes you play for provided you can play well. However, as you might have already guessed, to take up any of these methods, you need to be an expert poker player. There’s no point in clearing the bonus in half the time if you lose more money than you would otherwise win.
Finding the best Poker Bonuses.
It is important to read the terms and conditions that the poker room has set to clear the bonus. This will give you a fair idea of how difficult or how easy it will be to actually obtain the bonus. Usually, you receive player points depending on the rake taken on each hand. The more rake you pay, the more player points you receive. Therefore, it is prudent to take a look at how many raked hands you must play before accepting the bonus offer. Generally, smaller bonus offers require fewer raked hands to release the bonus as compared to larger ones. The best way to find a great poker bonus is to read the site reviews that detail the bonus offers. Better still, check out the poker site itself and read the terms and conditions listed there.
Various types of Poker Bonuses.
Reload bonuses are usually not as large as a welcome bonus. You receive a reload bonus when you deposit funds in your account. Another type of bonus is the ‘rakeback’ where the online poker site pays a certain percentage of the rake back to the player. This can be termed as a rebate or discount rather than a bonus. Online poker rooms also have numerous promotional offers for their customers. These include free entry into tournaments, cash prizes, luxury cars, trips with expenses paid, etc. Many times, this is free money received and it helps you increase your bankroll which in turn helps you play your favorite game of poker for a longer time.
Poker bonuses are good for the player only if you consider them to be extras. If you don’t allow bonus considerations to affect your play, then you are bound to get the benefits as they are meant to be. Playing for long hours or playing beyond your means and skill are likely to affect your game, So, play within your means and make the best use of poker bonuses which will surely tip the odds in your favor to some extent.