Almost every poker site on the Internet offers a sign-up bonus for making your first deposit but not all bonuses are created equal.
At PokerListings we’ve worked painstakingly hard to create a huge database of online poker sites and then handpicked the ones with the best bonuses on the Internet.
There are a variety of factors to consider when looking for the top online poker bonus. First of all the size of the bonus is obviously important as some sites will match your deposit up to several thousand dollars.
Unfortunately you don’t get that money right away, as online poker operators want to make sure you actually play a few hands on their respective sites. That means you usually have to hit a pre-set criteria to unlock your bonus. This usually means you have to generate a set number of frequent player points.
On the other hand some bonuses are very easy to unlock but not very big.
It’s important to recognize how many hands you’ll be playing because there’s no point in going for a $2,000 bonus if you’ll never play anywhere close to the amount of hands required to unlock it. Sometimes the smaller bonuses worth $10 or $20 are a better deal for casual players.
As the biggest online poker guide on the Internet for the last 10+ years, PokerListings is in a unique position to negotiate the best sign-up bonuses for our players.
Check our competition if you wish but the offers listed below are the cream of the online crop with even better deals than you can get directly from the online sites.
An integral part of starting an online poker account is making sure that you get the best bonus at the best online poker site of your choice.
Unfortunately the process can be complex and those who are new to the online poker scene will likely have a lot of questions.
We’re going to cover the fundamental aspects of getting a good poker bonus below.
What is a Poker Bonuses?
A poker bonus is simply a cash reward from an online poker site to players who make a deposit and play real-money poker hands.
Why Do Online Poker Sites Offer Bonuses?
Poker rooms generate revenue from collecting a small percentage from each pot in cash games or by charging a small entrance fee in tournaments in addition to the buy-in.
This is called rake.
More players equal more rake, and getting a lifetime customer is incredibly valuable to every online poker site.
To keep bringing in more players, poker sites will front players bonus cash so they have a better chance of building a bankroll and continuing to play at the poker site.
It’s a win-win situation for both sides.
What Kinds of Poker Bonuses Are There?
There are a variety of poker bonuses but most boil down to four categories:
1) Match Bonus
These are by far the most common bonus offers.
Essentially with a match bonus, the poker bonuses site matches the amount of your deposit up to a certain amount.
For example if you deposited $100 the poker room would give you an extra $100 on top of that. Most sites will match 100% of your deposit depending on the amount.
Most online poker sites will usually have a minimum and maximum amount they will match. In general the sites stick close to a minimum deposit of $10-$50 while the maximum can be in the thousands.
Keep in mind that most match bonuses are not awarded instantly and you have to play a certain number of hands on the site to “release” them.
2) Reload Bonus
From time to time rooms will offer a “Reload” bonus to its players.
A reload bonus is simply a cash reward for a player who deposits more money into his or her account. Usually this follows the same matching format as the initial deposit, albeit it’s usually for less money.
Like the sign-up match bonus, you don’t receive the money instantly.
It’s released the same way as the initial sign-up match bonus – by playing a set number of real-money poker hands.
3) Instant Sign-Up Bonus
These are rare but some online poker sites will offer instant cash when you sign up. This money is deposited directly into your online poker account.
Usually it’s a small amount of cash in the $1-$10 range.
4) Referral Bonus
A referral bonus, which is called a “Refer-a-Friend” bonus on some sites, is given to players who personally get other players to sign up at the same poker site.
Bonuses are usually in the $25-$50 range and are dependent on how many hands the player you referred ends up playing.