Pretty much every poker site you’ll find on the web offers a sign up bonus, otherwise known as a welcome bonus, to new customers. These are usually really easy to claim; you just have to open an account and make a deposit and actually at some sites, you don’t even have to make a deposit.
These bonuses aren’t only a good incentive to join a new site, they’re also a great way to help build your bankroll. Many beginner poker players, and even some experienced ones, spend their time hopping from one site to another and claiming all the bonuses on offer. If you’re prepared to spend the time doing this and don’t mind playing at a few different places for a while, it’s a useful little strategy for making some money.
There are few things you should know about poker sign up bonuses first though and we have covered all of these in this article.
What is a Poker Sign Up Bonus?
A poker sign up bonus is a sum of money offered by poker sites to new customers. To be eligible for such a bonus you must be a new customer, i.e. not had an account before, and you’ll usually be required to make an initial deposit. It will typically be credited automatically once you’ve joined and deposited, although there may be an extra step or two you have to follow to claim it.
Sign up bonuses offered by online casinos and sports betting sites are usually added directly into your account for you to use right away, but they work a little differently at poker sites. They are effectively held back and then released once you have met certain terms and conditions. We explain more about releasing them a little later.
Why Do Sites Give This Money Away?
The reason poker sites give away money in this way is quite simply to attract new customers. With so many different places for people to play online, bonuses are basically a sites’ way of attracting new customers. The idea is that a generous bonus will make you more likely to open an account.
There are essentially no marketing costs involved. Sites work on the simple premise that they’ll make more money from the rake you contribute than the amount they give away through a sign up bonus. It’s a very straightforward concept and one that ultimately benefits both the players and the poker sites.
Releasing Sign Up Bonuses
As we mentioned earlier, these bonuses aren’t added directly into your account for you to use at the tables. Instead, they are held in reserve until you’ve met the relevant terms and conditions. Once you have done so, the money will be yours to either play with or withdraw if you choose.
The terms and conditions are usually very straightforward. At most sites all you have to do is start playing for real money and once you have contributed a certain amount of rake, then you will have access to your bonus money.
In case you aren’t familiar with rake, it is essentially the amount of money that a casinos earn from having you as a customer. They take a very small percentage of each pot in cash games and of each tournament entry fee and this added percentage is known as the rake. Every time you pay to enter a tournament or put money in a cash game pot, you are effectively contributing rake.
The amount of rake you’re required to contribute before your bonus is released varies from one poker site to the next, as does the way in which it’s released. At some sites your bonus will be released in one lump sum once you met the requirements, but at some sites it will be released incrementally. The latter is more common and means you actually get your hands on the money more quickly.
In case you come across this in other articles or poker sites, it’s important to remember that the process of releasing a bonus is often referred to as clearing a bonus.
No Deposit Bonuses
There are a few poker sites that offer “no deposit” bonuses to new customers. As the name suggests, with these you don’t have to make a deposit at all. Instead you’ll have some money credited directly to your account and you’ll be able to use this at the tables. These bonuses are usually very small. Their goal in doing this to give you the opportunity to try out before deciding whether to make a deposit.
Finding the Best Poker Sign Up Bonus
Finding the best poker sign up bonus isn’t just a simple case of finding the biggest one. You also need to consider how easy it is to clear and how much you plan to play on the site. A massive bonus that comes with huge clearing requirements might be attractive if you plan on playing at a high volume, but if you expect to only play infrequently and at low stakes, then you may be better off finding a bonus that’s smaller and easier to clear.
We have compiled a list of poker sites that are best for bonuses, and this makes it easy for you to look at a few recommended options and then choose which one is the best for you.