One of the biggest factors in many people’s decision on where to play online poker is the deposit bonus the site offers. Big numbers like 100% and up to $2,500 grab people’s eye and they quickly join the site. But there are plenty of factors that should go into your decision besides the actual numbers; in this article I’ll walk you through everything you need to know when it comes to poker bonuses.
#1 — The Match Percentage
The first thing you want to look at is the match percentage. This will tell you how much of your initial deposit the site will match: If you deposit $100 and the site is offering a 100% match bonus you’d receive $100 in bonus money, if the match bonus was 250% you would receive $250 of bonus dollars on the same $100 deposit.
The higher this percentage the better, always!
#2 — The Total Amount
The maximum amount a site will give you is not quite as important (unless the number is really low) because basically you will clear your bonus at a specific rate based on the amount of rake you are generating. So whether you receive $600 or $1,000 you will make the same amount per hand from your bonus. The only difference is how long this period lasts, which is very important when coupled with #4 on this list.
#3 — The Clear Rate
As I said, bonuses can be broken to very specific clear rates, with you earning $x/hand. These rates are usually pretty constant from site to site, but there are some outliers that clearly faster or slower. A quick Google search for the poker site and bonus clear rate should tell you all you need to know on this topic.
#4 — Can the Bonus be Combined with Rakeback
As I mentioned above, your bonus is basically a period of time where you will make some extra money per hand. But in most cases your bonus cannot be combined with your rakeback deal. In these instances the bonus is practically worthless to you, as most rakeback deals give you a better return per hand (and they last forever). That said, there are some sites that allow you to collect both simultaneously, which makes your deposit bonus that much more profitable.
This same principle holds true for VIP Programs in some cases.