How Online Poker Bonuses Work
Many online cardrooms offer deposit bonuses when you sign up. That means the cardroom will provide matching funds for a certain percentage of your initial deposit. This allows you to get more for your money when you play. But these offers usually come with conditions and it is wise to not let meeting those conditions influence your play or money management.
There are very few cardrooms like Bodog that simply adds the bonus when you make your first deposit. Bodog contributes to your account a cash amount equal to 10% of your first deposit that is immediately available for play. You must deposit at least $20 to your Bodog account ($50 over the phone) to receive the bonus, but there is no maximum allowed bonus. It goes as high as your first deposit can go. However, most deposit methods have a cap on the amount of a single deposit and that limit effectively caps the bonus amount. While you can play with bonus money immediately, you cannot withdraw the bonus money until certain conditions are met.
For Bodog Poker you must earn 3 Poker Points per bonus dollar for Bodog to release the money. Poker Points are awarded based on the amount of play in the poker room and the level of stakes. It is that condition that prevents people from simply opening and closing a Bodog account earn a quick 10% return. Bodog is essentially offering a percentage of its rake back in the form of a bonus. It will lose money on the deal only if a player loses their entire initial deposit plus bonus before enough rake has been collected to cover the bonus amount.
However most cardrooms do not risk money in the way Bodog does. The majority of sites require you to play and generate income for the cardroom before any bonus money is released. For example, Full Tilt Poker offers a 100% deposit bonus up to $600. That means if you make an initial deposit of $600 Full Tilt will match the entire amount with bonus money. But none of it is immediate. You need to play to earn that bonus.
Full Tilt awards 1 Poker Point for each $1 raked from the pot. Each point counts for $0.06 towards the bonus. That means Full Tilt must rake $10,000 from the pots you contribute to before the $600 bonus will be completely released. How many hands of play that amounts to obviously depends on the level of stakes and the amount of action. The bonus comes with a four-month expiration date, but it is released in $20 increments as it accrues. It is possible to earn partial bonuses even if you don’t qualify for the entire amount before expiration date.
Bonuses are a good thing for players but only if thought of as something extra. If you start playing for the bonus money you can find yourself in trouble because it is easy to have your playing decisions altered by bonus considerations. The changes in behavior that bonuses induce are not always for the better. Here are the traps caused by bonuses that players need to avoid:
• Playing at too high a level in relation to your skill and/or bankroll. The higher the stakes the faster you will collect bonus money because the larger pots result in a greater rake. But if you make a $500 initial deposit and then sit down at a $10-$20 table to speed up the bonus award you are asking for trouble. A $500 bankroll is not large enough to support $10-$20 play. Do not play at limits higher than you otherwise would just to collect bonus money. Always play at limits that are within your skill level and that your bankroll can support.
• Playing more hours than you should. For large bonuses it usually takes a great deal of playing time to earn all the money. On a per hour basis, playing for bonus money is not worth it. If a rush to beat the bonus expiration date is causing you to play when you are tired, distracted, impatient, or should be tending to other matters, you might be losing more money with sub-optimum play than you will ever make from the bonus. Successful poker requires discipline. Do not let bonus considerations cause you to play when you are not at your best.
As long as you keep to your game and do not alter it based on bonus considerations, you should take full advantage of any extras the cardroom has to offer. Here some bonus opportunities at some major online cardrooms.
Bodog Poker - Join one of the fastest growing poker rooms online and receivc a 10% cash bonus that is available within 30 minutes after your first deposit is processed.Welcomes all players
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