Almost every online poker room markets their signup bonuses in a slightly different way, ranging somewhere between nothing and 200% up to $4,000.
We can all agree that having no welcome bonus at all is a poor showing, and those sites should be avoided – but how can you tell which is the best bonus from the rest of the field?
There are several factors to consider when deciding between deposit bonuses, and size really doesn’t matter for several reasons. Don’t be fooled by the top-line figure, instead focus on these two important details:
1) The Effective Rakeback % offered by the bonus.
A $1,000 bonus that requires $500 rake to release each of 10 equal installments of $100, is worth 20% effective rakeback, on top of any other rewards you receive. ($100/$500 = 20%)
This is actually less valuable than e.g. a $600 bonus releases in chunks of $10 for every ~$30.91 of rake (~32% rakeback). Why the precise numbers you ask? This is the clearing rate for industry leader PokerStars’ sign up bonus.
2) How much time you have to clear the bonus.
Many of the larger, more impressive sounding bonus offers expire after 30 – 90 days. Even worse, they may release in large chunks or in one lump sum, meaning you might miss the points target and lose value (or even get none at all).
PokerStars players have a considerable 180 days (6 months) to release as much as possible. Additionally, the bonus is released in bite size chunks of $10 (or the same in Euros / Pounds), making it a good supplement to your bankroll. With a bonus that releases in small pieces, you won’t be sitting around for weeks waiting for the cash to hit your account.
In summary, always read the fine print for the clearing and release conditions of your deposit bonus – and don’t forget your PokerStars bonus code!