Online Poker Bonuses & Promotions
Online poker is a hugely competitive industry, which means the sites have to reward players if they’re serious about attracting them to their online poker room. They also have to offer good value promotions to keep their existing players happy. This all great news for you, the customer!
First Time Deposit Bonuses
Nearly all online poker rooms offer bonuses to new customers who make an initial deposit. Typically, an online poker room will offer a signup bonus such as a 100% match on your initial deposit up to a certain dollar value. If you can afford to do so, make the biggest possible initial deposit that will match the poker site’s bonus offer. For example, Full Tilt Poker offers an initial signup bonus of 100% up to $600.
You could choose to make a deposit of $50 and receive $50 for free, or deposit $600 and receive $600 for free. Smart bankroll managers will know that the more free money you can receive, the better. By maximizing your deposit bonus, you’ll be able to extend your playing sessions and have more opportunities to increase your bankroll further.
However, bear in mind that you won’t get the bonus money right away. Online poker rooms aren’t stupid. You’ll have to earn your deposit by playing in real money games. The deposit bonuses are typically released in small increments. Let’s use PokerStars as an example, who also offer a 100% bonus up to $600. Their bonus is released in $10 increments, once you clear the necessary frequent player points. You have 6 months to earn the full bonus after your initial deposit (not the date you sign up).
Reload Deposit Bonuses
Some online poker rooms offer special reload deposit bonuses from time to time, which work similarly to the first time deposit bonuses. They are a way of encouraging existing players, who cannot claim a first time deposit bonus, to reload their real money account. Of course there’s always a catch and you should read the small print and clearance requirements. In the good old days of online poker, sites like Party Poker would offer $100 reloads for playing 500 raked hands. This doesn’t happen anymore but it’s still worth taking advantage of these bonus offers when you can.
Rakeback is when an online poker room gives back a percentage of the fees taken from each hand in a cash game, or tournament entry fees. Rakeback is used as an incentive or marketing tool to get players to play at their poker rooms. It’s great for the players as it means they can save money by lowering the cost of playing poker. The poker rooms are also happy if it means these poker players will play at their site rather than another poker room that might not offer rakeback.
It’s important for you to understand that if you sign up to an online poker room directly then you won’t receive rakeback. So make sure when you sign up to any online poker rooms that offer rakeback via a trusted affiliate site, such as Pokerology.com. Please see our online poker rakeback guide for more information. Just know, that by signing up via our exclusive links, you’ll be signed up as a rakeback player at any online poker site that offers it. Depending upon the limits you play this can add up to a sizeable amount of money.
Loyalty Reward Programs (VIP)
All online poker rooms have their own loyalty reward programs. They are often referred to as VIP programs, FPP (Frequent Player Point) programs, or something similar. As you’ve probably guessed, they are a way of rewarding their loyal customers. It’s nearly always better to be earning rakeback, but since many online poker rooms don’t allow rakeback, their loyalty program may be your only source of regular bonuses.
You can use points to redeem gifts, tournament entries, and in many cases exchange points for cash. We recommend you avoid exchanging points for merchandise, as it’s usually a very poor deal. If there is no cash option, then use points for tournament entries.
The quality of loyalty programs differs from site to site, and they usually make them ridiculously complex and hard to understand. How much you can benefit will depend on many factors, but choosing an online poker room with a good loyalty program is very important – particularly if they don’t offer rakeback.