A Guide to Poker Bonuses
For the casino, sign-up bonuses are great marketing tools used to attract new players. For the savvy player, they are a great way to supplement your poker income.
Currently, there are more than 500 different online poker companies. With all that competition, everyone is looking for ways to attract as many new clients as possible. This can be done through traditional advertising, special competitions, or promotions, but one of the most effective ways to draw in new clients is with a sign-up bonus. Thus, most poker rooms offer at least some kind of bonus for new players.
Of course, no casino is going to let you sign up, get a bonus and then withdraw the cash. You are going to have to play a certain number of hands and possibly meet other requirements before you can cash out your bonus, but that shouldn't be an issue. It doesn't take a great deal of practice to get your game to at least break-even level. Furthermore, using a bonus heavy strategy one can refrain from playing all but the best hands and still make a nice profit.
The casino industry calls this sort of strategy "advantage playing," and it is casually know as "bonus whoring." While the casino isn't thrilled with players that sign-up solely to try and cash out their bonus, there isn't much they can do about it. The bonuses they offer bring in far more novice players who fill their pockets than "bonus whores," so they simply accept the occasional loss as a cost of doing business.
Each poker room has their own terms and conditions to meet before you can cash out. Some are fairly easy to meet, while others can be quite difficult. Thus it pays to shop around and find terms that match your desired play level. For instance, some rooms only give you a very limited amount of time to meet the required hand numbers. That is fine if you plan to play a lot, but not so good if you only want to play casually in your spare time.
Normally, you only get one sign-up bonus per site, so it is usually smart to deposit enough money to claim the maximum bonus. If you don't want to deposit a lot of money right away, you can start with a casino that only offers a small maximum bonus and work your way up.
Sometimes, a poker site will try to lure you back in after you make a withdraw by offering a "reload bonus." These bonuses can often be as lucrative as the original sign-up bonus, so be sure to keep an eye on you email for these opportunities.
If you are going to play poker online, you might as well take advantage of the bonus opportunities out there; effective use of sign-up bonuses can turn a break-even player into a profitable one, or a modestly profitable player into a highly profitable one. Really there is no reason not to become a “bonus whore” and take advantage of every bonus you can.
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