How Poker Bonuses Work

Online cardrooms offer a range of poker bonuses to entice new players and reward existing members for their loyalty. The strength of a site’s bonus scheme can make a huge difference in your gaming experience and it is an important consideration when deciding where to play.

Generous offers from operators can help players stretch their money and win big rewards, while other sites give very little in the way of help and are best avoided. There are always terms and conditions attached to poker bonuses, so it is also worth knowing a bit more about how they work. Ultimately, the best online poker bonus will be the one that suits your style of play, so it makes sense to look around before signing up.

Welcome Bonuses

Welcome bonuses are offers made to try and convince new players to sign up to a site and put down money. They usually consist partly of a ‘first deposit bonus’, which can be made to sound extremely attractive; for example, you might see an offer for a 200 percent first deposit bonus up to a maximum of £500 or the chance to deposit £20 and play with £40.

It is always important to read the fine print before signing up, as you will be disappointed if you are expecting the bonus just to be given to you as funds which you can cash in or play with straight away. Generally in these cases the bonus will be released in increments as you earn loyalty points on that particular poker site. To earn those poker points, of course, you will need to keep playing at the tables, which requires you to keep winning, putting down money or completing other tasks.

There will usually be a time limit for accumulating those points as well, such as 30 or 90 days. It can therefore be difficult to get hold of poker bonus money quickly, but as you continue to play those funds will come through eventually.

Part of the welcome bonus may also be a decent number of poker loyalty points to help you get started, weekly boosters depending on your initial activity and added incentives such as free entry to various tournaments. For example, the welcome package from Ladbrokes Poker includes a chance to compete in the €250 Newbie Delight game each week, plus four free tokens to the €2,000 new depositor freeroll tournaments.

Loyalty Bonuses

It’s easy for poker sites to offer big welcome bonuses that entice new customers into starting an account, but they also need to keep hold of their existing members so that players don’t just head off to receive more welcome bonuses elsewhere. As well as providing a good level of customer satisfaction, online cardrooms will try to keep the offers coming to reward loyal members.

Weekly or monthly loyalty bonuses will often be distributed to players depending on how much they have deposited and played in the previous week or month. It may be that you’d not had the best week at the tables but, if you’ve played a considerable amount, you can look forward to picking up a decent bonus in the following week. Playing a certain number of hands during a specified time frame could also be rewarded with entry into a lucrative tournament, like at Sky Poker, where players who earn at least 50 Poker Points in a week can play in the £1,000 Rewards Freerolls every day of the following week from Monday to Friday.

Some poker sites also run rewards schemes for players who refer friends to the site, giving both parties a bonus or other reward when the friend registers an account and makes a deposit.

VIP Rewards

Poker VIPs are the players who are the most active on any site, and online cardrooms make sure they reward such customers to avoid the risk of losing them to competitors. Players can move through various levels by earning points, which are usually on a monthly or quarterly basis, and if they reach the top level they can land some amazing perks.

The highest level on Paddy Power Poker, for example, is Max+ Power, which offers perks such as access to exclusive events, $25,000 in bonuses, merchandise and VIP freerolls.

Special Promotions

As well as regular bonuses and rewards for new players, poker sites will run special promotions throughout the year. These normally tie in with a major event such as a sporting occasion, Christmas or Halloween, and give players the chance to win prizes beyond the usual bonuses.

Sometimes these promotions will take the form of a leaderboard, when players earn points for the games they enter and the top finisher might receive a free holiday, a buy-in to a poker tournament or a gift of some kind. Many sites also have missions or challenges, where players must take part in or win certain events to qualify for tournaments or prize draws.


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