Taking Advantage of Poker Online Bonuses

One of the best upfront features of playing online poker is the nice real money bonuses offered by some of these poker sites. Bonuses can be thought as a reward the online poker sites are willing to give new players who agree to take a look at their set-up. It is a type of direct marketing that is a very focused way for online poker rooms to spend their advertising budget.

But you may have some questions regarding these online poker site bonuses. For starters, do they actually give you real cash? (Hint: yes, they do, but there is some qualification required). This guide was written to help you understand everything you need to know about how poker rooms work their bonuses. There is actually a lot to understand, and not every bonus is equal.

By the time you finish with this US online guide to your poker site bonus, you will understand:



What Makes A Great Poker Bonus?

There are a number of things to consider when determining if the poker bonus offered by your chosen poker room is great, or even good enough to consider claiming. You want something that will help to maintain and conserve your bankroll; to do this it should be easy to claim or clear. You should know that almost every type of online poker site bonus is going to specify a certain amount of action required. This is usually going to be listed as the number of hands played before that bonus will be released into your online poker room's account.

You should also pay attention to the different types of hands that qualify. For example, terms at even the top real cash websites might specify you need to play a certain number of raked (meaning commission is paid by whoever wins the hand) hands. They might further specify you need to play up to the 'flop' or the first 'draw' in order for the hand to be counted as being played. Tournament hands might count only by a percentage of the hands played or may not count as all, since poker rooms are not making any commission in this situation.

In other words, a great bonus should meet all of the following criteria:

  • 1. Overall bonus percentage is fairly high—50% is good, 100% is even better
  • 2. A high cut off limit—For example, 100% poker bonus up to $500
  • 3. Reasonable amount of hands required to be played in order to claim bonus—Up to 100 hands for lower dollar amounts, maybe as high as 200 hands for larger absolute dollar bonuses
  • 4. Very few or no limits to which hands qualify as being played—You don't want to be forced into playing too many hands up to the flop just in order to claim a bonus; some tournament hands should qualify as well
  • 5. Your poker room bonus is released in decent increments—While the full bonus might require a few hundred hands, it is good to see the bonus released in $5 or $10 increments, so you can start seeing a return fairly quickly

How Do You Claim Your Poker Online Site's Bonus?

Claiming a poker online bonus is probably not the best way to describe this process, since ultimately what you are doing is just playing hands. Online poker room sites will all have slightly different rules as to which hands qualify and how many hands are required to be played in order for your bonus to be released. Even the top websites have this all come down to how much real money play you provide.

In some poker rooms, you will be awarded frequent player points. Just like in a casino loyalty program, these will be earned for playing in games where the house is earning a commission. The bonus will be released to you based on how many points have been accumulated. Hopefully, the bonus will also be released on an incremental schedule in blocks of $5 or $10. If so, this bonus money should be sent straight into your account. Once there, it is yours to play more online poker, or even to withdrawal—just be sure to check out the rules and terms of your bonus before attempting a withdrawal.

Can USA Players Claim Online Poker Site Bonuses?

This question is the result of some confusion in the recent laws regarding online poker sites for US residents. But the bottom line is that if you are currently playing, or considering playing, at an online poker site that is friendly to US players, there should be no reason you wouldn't be able to claim a bonus.

The only real problems as far as claiming such a poker online bonus is that your bank or credit card company might ask questions if they see a large amount of cash being transferred back onto the card (or into your bank), especially from a foreign company with a strange name. You might also be limited to actually taking the money out in the same method and the same amount as was originally used to make the deposit. That way, your credit card company might just think it was a refund being issued and the remainder of your online poker bonus and winnings could be withdrawn via another option.

Types Of Poker Online Bonus Offerings

Poker rooms offer a variety of different bonuses. The one that you will see most often is called a deposit match bonus. With this method, poker rooms will match your initial deposit, often expressed as a percentage. For example, a 100% deposit match bonus means that if you put $200 into your account, the site will give you an additional $200.

You might even find this type of bonus higher than 100%. Many of the top rated and best international poker online websites have moved in 2014 and 2024 to giving 250% and even 300% deposit match bonuses. In other words, you could receive as much as three times your original deposit in bonuses. They have often increased the cut off dollar limits to as high as $2,000 in some cases. Just be aware that the higher online poker bonuses will usually require much more playing time, taking longer to clear.

Another type of poker online bonus is called the instant sign-up bonus. This is usually given to a player simply for registering an account on the poker site. These are much more difficult to find now, and they are also very small offers, usually only $5 to $10.

The final type of bonus is called the reload bonus. With this, poker sites give players free money for making additional deposits after their first. These will almost always be much less than the original offer, but it is still valuable for loyal players.

Why Online Poker Sites Offer Welcome Bonuses

A question many players ask, especially players new to the world of online poker, is why do these real money websites give out welcome bonuses? It does boggle the mind seeing some of the more lucrative online poker sites and their bonuses, with the huge amounts of real cash being thrown around.

The bottom line is that this is simply a method of marketing. Instead of developing a whole series of TV ads or magazine spreads (some of which these sites still might actually do) it is more cost efficient to give that money out their newly signed up players. It builds loyalty, which is where they know that money is likely to be made back by the online poker room.

Once you have joined, you will be playing raked hands where the site grabs 3% commission and even tournament games where the site gets an entry fee. Spend enough time at the site and your paid commissions and entry fees are going to add up to more real cash than was invested in your bonus. Poker online sites do not need to release the cash to you all at once, making it a reduced risk on their part.


It wasn't easy, but we believe we have the best online poker sites and their top bonuses.

There is nothing like playing poker online with free money. There is less stress and you can just enjoy the game. This is what a good bonus can do but some offers can actually make it harder to win.

Not all bonuses are created equal and while the percentages or the amounts can be similar, what really makes a top bonus in 2016 is how it is granted. For example, there are many poker rooms that offer 100% on the first deposit and this can go up to a few hundred dollars. However, in the terms and conditions, it is generally stated that the bonus amount will be released in increments as you play poker online with your initial deposit funds.

This is a way to avoid abuse and encourage customers to actually play. The problem is that some requirements can be really hard to meet and players can get trapped if they don’t read the fine print in advance.

Our top poker rooms have bonuses which you can rely on. These were actually made to reward customers and not act as bait. You can be sure to get a great offer for playing poker online in a relaxed environment.