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Poker Bonuses

Poker Bonuses: The Lowdown

If you have been reading anything about online poker, which we assume you have as you are reading this now, then you have heard of Welcome or Sign-up Bonuses. Welcome bonuses are one of the unique components to playing online. Whether your game of choice is poker or you are an avid slot player, then you will want to get your share of the welcome bonuses. While many people choose to partake in what is known as bonus hoarding, we will touch on why that is probably not a good idea in the long run but, more on that later.

The Internet gaming space is a crowded one and that's why online poker sites will offer you incentives to sign up with them, multiplying your initial deposit to give you some extra money to play with. There must be a catch, right? No such thing as a free lunch, and all that? Well, the old adage is true, to an extent, but there is definite player-value to be had in pursuing sign-up bonuses. The devil is in the detail, however, which is why we're here to help you get the most out of your sign-up bonuses.

Generally, sign-up bonuses work as follows. The online poker room will offer you £X free when you deposit anything up to £X. So, for example, a 200 per cent sign-up bonus up to £2,000 means that the site will double (200 per cent) any first deposit you make up to £2,000. So, make a deposit of £400 and they will give you £800 on top of your initial deposit. If the sign up bonus offered 100 per cent, you would receive £400 extra to play with, and so on.

Now, here's the catch, and you don't really blame the sites for doing this, because simply giving away free money is probably not a sound business plan. The poker room won't allow you to redeem your bonus until you have met their conditions, which generally means you have to play a certain amount of hands, thus generating a sufficient amount of rake for the site. Usually, the bonus will be released in gradual stages as you reach certain landmarks, and the amount of hands you have to play will be greater the larger the bonus you're playing for. So, while a first deposit bonus of 200 per cent up to £2,000 sounds much better that a 100% bonus up to £600 (and it probably is!), make sure you check the small print to see how long it will take you to redeem your money. This is the exact reason why bonus hoarding is not a good idea. First of all, you will really want to meet the terms and conditions, which may require some longevity on their site so as to reap the reward. Secondly, most sites continue to reward you for hanging around and playing on that free money.

We have pulled together some of the best sites for your immediate perusal and enjoyment. Not only did we look for great poker sites that have generous sign-on bonuses, but also meet our very strict criteria. After more than 20 years experience with the online gambling business we know what to look for in a good site and a bad one. We recommend only the best sites for UK poker players.

Size Does Matter

While size does matter, it shouldn’t be the only thing when it comes to selecting a poker site. Sometimes the bigger the site the lower the deposit, because the big sites are less desperate for your business, although it may be easier to release the deposit on a bigger site because there will be more games available to play, due to greater player liquidity. But remember: yes, the sites are making their money back by raking your play, but you are required to play the rake in all online poker games anyway, so it's win/win for both parties.

Ready to take advantage of a poker bonus? We’ve put together some handy hints to help you get the most out of Hold’em incentives.


There's no shame in "bonus hoarding.” That means signing up to multiple sites just for the bonuses. It’s fine, as long as you calculate that you will be able to play enough to release those bonuses. So it's probably not a good idea to sign up to 100 different sites because you'll probably never generate enough rake to release all your bonuses. Additionally it is not wise to just deposit your money at any ole’ site. Not all sites are created equal, regardless of the size of the bonus. If a poker site offering the bonus does not provide the following, then steer clear of it.

Go Crazy For Bonuses


If you're planning on depositing a certain amount in an online poker room, don't spread it across the month in dribs and drabs, because you only get your sign-up bonus once. Stick it all in at the beginning. We guess this means you need to be honest with yourself. If you're a recreational player who plays to let off steam, you may be the type of player who deposits a small amount, loses it, then re-deposits. Well, if so you’re losing out. It would be much better to figure out how much you can afford to risk and deposit it all at once. Then you'll have a reasonable bankroll and will be able to practice some sensible bankroll management (i.e., never risk more than 5 per cent of your bankroll in any one game), with enough money to grind away in order to get your (now larger) deposit released.


If you are able, multi-tabling will allow your bonuses to be released much more quickly, but if you're new to this, playing several tables at once takes practice and sound mathematical poker ability. If you've never multi-tabled before, proceed with caution. Of course, playing at higher stakes will also release your bonus more quickly, but playing at stakes beyond your ability as a player will burn through your bankroll rather quickly too. Be honest with yourself.

In conclusion, the purpose of Welcome Bonuses or Sign-up Bonuses is two fold. One the poker site or online casino is enticing you to come to their site. They know how tough the competition is and know that there is a plethora of online options for you. So, therefore they make it lucrative to you to come sign-up. They also know that the more money you have to play the longer you will play and grow to like what you see. So take advantage of a fair way to increase up your bankroll.

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