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Past Articles:

Thoughts on PokerStars VIP Changes
2015-12-20

The Top 9 Myths About Online Poker
2015-05-17

The 4 Worst Tips Given To Beginner Poker Players (Don't Fall Into These Traps)
2015-05-03

Should You Play Poker Professionally?
2015-04-05

Poker Can Change Your Life: 4 Inspirational Rags to Riches Stories
2015-03-29

The Discomfort Zone: Manage it for Growth and Success
2015-03-15

An Intro to Daily Fantasy Soorts
2015-03-08

The 4 Main Psychological Principles That Shape Your Poker Play
2015-02-15

A Detailed Rake and Reward Comparison of Three of the Top Poker Sites
2015-02-08

Don't Jump The Gun: Get Full Value From Your Best Hands
2015-02-01

The Weekly Shuffle Archives, 2005-2017


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Top Five Online Poker Bonuses

THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2009-04-26, by Ozone

Most online poker rooms offer bonuses to new players. The quality of these bonuses vary significantly between rooms. There are a few main factors that go into determining how valuable a bonus is:

Clearing Rate

Online poker bonuses are not made available for withdraw immediately. After all, poker rooms don't want players creating an account just so they can take the bonus and run. That wouldn't be a very good business model. To remedy this, poker rooms attach clearing requirements to their bonuses, which means players need to complete a certain level of criteria in order to receive their bonus money. Most poker rooms give their players points based on their level of participation in real-money cash games. Players must earn a certain number of points in order to receive their bonus money. Some poker rooms have very reasonable clearing requirements while others make their bonuses very difficult to clear.

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Bonus Size

Online poker bonuses are a lot larger than they used to be. A few years ago, a place could have a pretty significant competitive advantage by offering their players a larger bonus, but nowadays most bonuses are in the $300-$600 range. An important aspect of a bonus's size is the matching percentage. Most poker rooms offer players a bonus that corresponds with their first deposit. For example, they might give you a bonus of 100% of the size of your first deposit (with a cap of around $500). Obviously, the larger the percentage that they match of your first deposit, the larger the bonus. It's important not to look at percentage size alone, though. Some online poker rooms offer a seemingly handsome bonus but then make it almost impossible to clear.

Release Style

Some bonuses are released in one big lump sum while others are released in installments. In general, an installment-based bonus release system is best. Players can get screwed over by someone online poker rooms that only release the bonus in one lump sum. Scenarios are not infrequent where a player might meet 50-80% of the requirements to clear the bonus but then go broke before they ever see a dime of bonus money. With the installment payout system, this scenario is never a concern.

With those criteria in mind, here is our ranking of the top five online poker bonuses:

#1: Mansion Poker

Overall: A+
Clearing Rate: B+
Bonus Size: 200% up to $600
Release Style: Installments of $10

Our opinion is that Mansion Poker offers the best online poker bonus. It is huge, 200% up to $600, and pretty easy to clear. Additionally, players receive this bonus $10 at a time which is very nice. For every 650 Mansion Club Points (MCPs) that players earn, $10 in bonus money is released to the account. While 650 MCPs might seem like a lot, it doesn't take too long to earn. Players receive 20 MCPs for every dollar in tournament fees paid, which is effectively works out to a 30% discount. A similarly large discount can be accrued at the cash game tables where points are earned in any hand where a rake was taken.

How to Receive: Use bonus code pokertips.

#2: 888 Poker

Overall: A
Clearing Rate: B
Bonus Size: 111% up to $444
Release Style: 25% instant + 75% lump sum

Pacific Poker offers a very unique first-time deposit bonus. They offer readers of our site an exclusive bonus of 111% up to $444 (which is higher than the standard bonus of 100% up to $400). What makes this bonus special is that between up to 32% of the bonus is credited instantly to the account. Players receive 25% up to $100 instantly and can receive an additional 11% up to $44 instantly, for a total instant bonus of $144. The remaining 75% up to $300 is released as a lump sum. To clear the lump sum bonus, players must earn 10 Bonus Points for each $1 in bonus money. This can take a while to clear since Pacific awards Bonus Points based on a contributed rake system, which does not benefit tighter players are much as active players. Encouraging loose play through their bonus clearing system, is one of several factors that amounts to Pacific Poker being one of the softest online cardrooms.

How to Receive: This bonus can only be received by signing up at Pacific Poker through a link from PokerTips.

#3: Party Poker

Overall: A
Clearing Rate: A-
Bonus Size: 100% up to $500
Release Style: Installments of 10%

Party Poker offers a simple and well-balanced bonus of 100% up to $500. It is released in ten separate installments, which is very player-friendly. Players must earn 8 PartyPoints for every bonus dollar. One can expect to earn about 12 PartyPoints per hour playing $.10/$.25 no-limit games. This bonus can take a little while to clear at these lower limits, but mid- to high-stakes players can clear this bonus in a hurry. So a player who makes a $500 deposit will receive a $50 bonus for every 400 PartyPoints they earn until they have received ten such bonuses.

How to Receive: Enter bonus code TIPS500 when creating a new account.

#4: Everest Poker

Overall: B+
Clearing Rate: B
Bonus Size: $300
Release Style: Incremental

Regardless of the size of one's deposit, they can receive up to $300 in bonus money from Everest Poker. Like the Pacific bonus, this is only available to PokerTips readers. Otherwise, the standard bonus is just $200. This bonus is awarded to one's account in a highly incremental fashion. Players receive $.07 in bonus money for every Summit Point they earn and it is credited to their account once they leave a table or complete a tournament. For example, if one were to sit down at a table and play until they receive 200 Summit Points, they would have $14 instantly credited to their account upon leaving the table. The downside of this bonus is that it clears somewhat slowly and expires after 30 days. It would take a bit of dedication to receive the entire thing prior to its expiration.

How to Receive: Make a deposit using bonus code PTIPS300 within 7 days of registration.

#5: Titan Poker

Overall: C+
Clearing Rate: D
Bonus Size: 150% up to $600
Release Style: Installments of $5

Another bonus exclusive to PokerTips readers, Titan Poker gives players a bonus of 150% of their first deposit up to $600. While this bonus size is quite nice, the bonus itself is not that great since it takes a very long time to clear. Players have $5 credited to their account for every 600 points they earn. At lower limits, this bonus takes a frustratingly long time to clear and essentially amounts to a paltry amount of rakeback. An upside is that it never expires. If it did, it wouldn't have much value.

How to Receive: Enter bonus code tips when registering a new account.

The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.

 


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