Online Poker Bonuses – How They Work

face, topper, playing cards

Online gambling is big business. The iGaming sector generates more than $50 billion in annual revenue, and that number is increasing year on year by more than 11 percent. Think of iGaming, and you tend to picture online casinos, with their hundreds of slots and dealer games, and of the sportsbooks that have been launching far and wide across the US over the past 3-4 years. 

Online poker is another area of iGaming, and one that is particularly popular in the US. There is a good choice of sites that cater to US poker players, and a little like the casinos, they are not afraid of marketing themselves quite aggressively to win new customers. One of the most popular and effective ways is by the old expedient of offering their customers something for nothing. Online poker bonuses follow the same basic principles of casino bonuses that are so common. However, the details of how they work are a little different.


Bonus basics

Most poker room bonuses offer “deposit bonus” type incentives that are similar to casino bonuses in that you deposit some money in your online poker account, and the poker room will match it by a certain percentage. These bonuses can be quite generous. For example, this Ignition poker review discusses a 150 percent bonus for new poker players in the US that can go as high as $3,000. That could buy you into a lot of hands of poker. 

Of course, there are terms and conditions attached to the bonus. When you take advantage of a casino bonus, there is always a wagering requirement lurking in the background. Poker rooms will usually require you to play a certain number of hands or generate a minimum number of player points to be able to redeem the bonus money. Exactly how many hands or points will usually depend on the magnitude of the bonus. 

To give you an idea, the Ignition bonus mentioned earlier clears at 15 points per dollar and can be redeemed in increments. You receive $5 after 15 points, then incremental amounts until you reach 400 points and clear it all. The reviewers describe this as “very easy to clear.”

Clearing your bonus

Where a bonus requires you to play a set number of hands, that is easy enough to understand. But 15 points is not so easy to visualize. Every poker site has its own rules here, but poker points are typically awarded for every hand played and have a nominal dollar value. Points can also be used to take advantage of VIP and loyalty perks such as access to VIP tournaments, extra bonuses, and so on. 

You can work off the bonus faster by playing more hands or at multiple tables. Playing higher stakes would also speed up the process. However, there is no point rushing to clear it if, in the process, you blow half of it. Only play multi-table or high stakes if you feel confident doing so. If not, slow and steady is the better way to win the game.