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General Poker Information - Bonuses:

 

 

Many online poker sites offer cash bonuses for you to play. They almost always require you to play a certain number of hands (usually hands that have been raked) before you can claim the bonus and potentially withdraw it. These bonuses come in two forms: initial sign up bonuses and reload bonuses. Initial sign up bonuses are one time offers that are good only when you create an account, while reload bonuses are available to any player with an existing account.
 

 
Bonuses typically run in the range of 10%-100% of your deposit into the site. Most bonuses are capped as far as the maximum you can receive, usually in the range of $100-200 (but sometimes site offers bonus up to 2000$ and more !). You can deposit less than the maximum amount and still receive a bonus, albeit a slightly smaller one.
 


So let's say you sign up a new account. You'll get a bonus of 20% on your first deposit, up to $100. If you deposit $500, that's a $100 bonus. Sweet. All you have to do to get the bonus is to play a certain number of hands in which a rake is taken from the pot. When you play the set number of hands, the bonus will automatically be credited to your account. After you get all the initial sign-up bonuses, you can often get reload bonuses from the very same sites, as they periodically offer you incentives to deposit more money into your account.
 


So why do sites do this ? Because they make money when people play. And the more players they have on their sites, the more tables that are available, which encourages more people to play. And so on and so forth. While they know that some smart, savvy players like you will get the bonus and cash out ahead, for every smart savvy player there are 3 fish who will lose their entire deposit. The poker sites are also somewhat protected by the fact that no matter how good you are, you still have to pay them rake money. So even if you clear the bonus and cash out ahead, they still get a piece of the action in the form of rake.
 


As far as dollars and cents, it's hard to quantify what hourly rate to expect from assorted bonuses. The biggest factor is the terms of the site, as far as what conditions have to be met to make a bonus worthwhile. Pay close attention to the number of hands you have to play, and if they have to be raked hands. Some sites offer what look like good bonuses but in reality are almost impossible to clear, due to what they require to get the bonus. Other sites offer what appear to be lesser bonuses which are actually very good bonuses value-wise, due to how easy they are to receive.
 

 
Of course, it also depends largely on your skill as a player. If you aren't very good, you'll like lose money, deposit the bonus. The bonuses are never large enough to make up for being a poor player.
 


To take full advantage of bonuses, it's usually best to be able to comfortably multi-table. How fast you clear the bonus isn't really important (although some bonuses do have deadlines when they expire), but you'll inevitably find yourself playing on sites you wouldn't normally frequent for whatever reason (tightness of play, interface, etc.) Being able to quickly clear the bonus and get back to your favorite stomping grounds is psychologically a nice tool to possess. Unless you have a huge bankroll, you'll also likely be splitting up your roll over multiple sites, which some people feel slightly uncomfortable doing, so being able to quickly clear the bonus and consolidate funds is also a good thing.
 


Speaking of psychology, for some players (including myself) playing with a bonus adds an extra level of comfort. It should make no difference but I simply feel more confident and solid when I'm working off a bonus, as if I have an insurance policy in my back pocket. It's an incentive to make me play more aggressively across the board, which usually translates into a much better game overall.
 


Bottom line, bonuses can greatly speed the building of your bankroll if you're a skilled player. They won't magically transform you into a superstar but they will provide you with a steady stream of income if you play well. It's basically found money and it's a minimum of hassle to reach down and pick it up. It literally takes less than a minute or two to signup for some sites and fund an account, after which you essentially get paid for playing your normal game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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