Internet Poker – Sign-up Bonuses and Other Rewards
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Players are rewarded with a variety of bonuses, promotions and perks upon joining an internet poker room these days. Sign-up bonuses are among the most common internet poker incentives. They reward players for joining and they make sure they stick around at least until the bonuses are redeemed. Internet poker bonuses are an interesting breed indeed.
They are mostly advertised as free money, but they are definitely not that. Most online poker bonuses are of the % match type, which are based on the amount of money players deposit. Thus, even though they do feature a predetermined maximum, this number isn’t particularly relevant when it comes to the true value of the bonus. The actual % is much more important. If one makes a $100 deposit at a room which offers a 100% match, he’ll secure $100 in bonus money. The bonus money cannot be taken to the tables in most cases though. It is transferred into the players’ bonus money accounts from where it needs to be released in order to be transferred into the real money accounts.
To release the bonus money, players need to hit the green felt and play in real money cash games where they pay and generate rake, and in real money tournaments where they pay tournament fees.
The bottom line is that these bonuses are nothing more than limited time, slightly above average rakeback deals. Does this mean they carry no extra value for players? Not by a long-shot. Rakeback deals as well as sign-up bonuses carry true value indeed. This value will only be available to those who are active though.
The actual bonus redemption requirements differ from one internet poker room to the other. Some online poker rooms feature laxer requirements than others. Bonus redemption is generally speaking quite an intricate formula with loads of moving parts and variables, which players need to read up on and fully understand before they register at the poker room and opt into the bonus deal. At every poker room, there’s a set exchange rate between the rake players generate and the amount of bonus money they unlock with it. This exchange rate is quite important in itself, but it’s not all there is to the deal. Different poker rooms account for rake contribution differently. There are online poker rooms out there which use the contributed rake method to determine individual rake contributions. Others use the dealt rake method while still others use the weighted contributed rake method. These different methods suit different playing styles, so at the end of the day, they do indeed matter greatly when it comes to bonus redemption.
Some poker rooms only release bonus monies in a single chunk: at the end of it all, when the player manages to unlock the entire bonus. Others release bonuses in smaller increments. Because there’s a validity period on all these bonuses, those who can’t redeem their bonus in its entirety during this period risk losing all their bonus money when the deal expires.
Once bonuses expire/are completely redeemed, players can no longer secure another bonus at the given online poker room.
This is where rake rebate and poker prop deals come into the picture. A square rakeback deal may not be as lucrative as a generous bonus, but it is a long-term thing: it never expires. Such deals are meant to keep the player base loyal, while allowing the poker room to reward its players in a way that has a lesser impact on its profits.