Poker Bonuses
2006 Jason Kirk  

Building a bankroll through low-limit grinding isn't always as easy as beginning (or recovering) players would hope for. The games can be high-variance thanks to the random collection of players who show up ready to gamble on every card they're dealt. The rake also cuts more heavily into the profits of a low-limit player than it does his middle-limit counterparts, meaning he has to win more often to beat the game. It's often necessary to find other sources of income if you're playing on a limited bankroll, but luckily the wide open world of online poker has plenty of solutions to this problem - and none of them take any more effort than simply sitting down for a game of poker.

One of the best sources of extra income available to the online poker player is the steady stream of bonuses coming from almost every poker room in business on the internet today. There are bonuses for registering new accounts, bonuses for re-funding existing accounts, bonuses for playing a certain number of raked hands in a given time - if you can think of a way for a poker room to throw money at you, it's probably being done. Bonuses almost never require any more effort than making a deposit at the room offering the bonus and playing a certain number of hands - it's basically like being paid to do something you were already going to do anyway. And even better, payments are usually either credited immediately upon finishing the requirements or within 24 hours at most.

Attacking bonuses in the right manner can be an extremely low-risk way for a beginning player to either grow his bankroll or absorb the losses he'll incur as he learns the game. The first step is to always deposit the maximum amount to get the maximum bonus, e.g. $400 to get a 25% bonus advertised as "up to $100." If you can't afford the maximum amount, consider taking on a bonus with a smaller deposit requirement first and leaving the bigger one for later. Also, be sure to make note of the requirements for clearing bonuses before tying your money up at a site. Some bonuses expire, and others take a relatively long time to clear. The longer your money is in play, the more it's exposed to variance - so your first picks should be the easy-to-clear bonuses that can build your bankroll quickly and allow you to move up in limits where the rake isn't as great a concern. Usually clearing the smallest bonus first is a good way to begin.

One great source of bonus money is the group of sites known as the Cryptologic network. (InterPoker and SunPoker are two of the more prominent skins running on Cryptologic software.) These sites not only offer good signup bonuses, but they offer monthly bonuses ranging from $40 to $100. The news gets better: the bonuses clear easily, with only 5 hands raked at $1 or above required for every $1 in bonus money. Given how loose the average Cryptologic opponent is, making money is almost just a matter of sitting down and letting the chips come your way. Because you can have accounts on multiple Cryptologic sites, there's several hundred dollars in bonus money just waiting for you to claim it every month.

New players who are prone to losing while they learn can keep their heads above water with money from poker room bonuses. Even the best players can go through downswings, too, so a little extra income at very little effort can help to pad the losses a little bit. For all but the highest-stakes players, bonuses can be a great time investment.

Full Tilt Poker Logo
Carbon Poker
100% up to $600
Doyles Room Logo
Aced Poker
150% up to $750
BetUS Logo
PDC Poker
100% up to $600