When you are talking about getting free money when you are playing poker, you can be talking about one of three things: a No Deposit bonus, a Poker Deposit bonus, or Poker Rakeback.
No Deposit Poker
In the true essence of being “free”, only the no deposit poker bonus qualifies. You don’t have to put any money into an account in order to play poker online with real money. However, you will find that this is not offered at many poker rooms currently.
The no deposit bonus is only offered as a way for prospective players to try out a poker website’s software and tournaments. Some people have preferences when it comes to playing at a poker table. Some like the poker table to looks simplified; others like to be able to earn points and modify their avatar with more complex poker software.
Therefore, this type of bonus isn’t there for you to make money without making a deposit. Rather this bonus allows you to try playing the real money games without having to make a deposit first.
Poker Deposit Bonus
The poker deposit bonus is much more useful for poker players that are looking for a little extra help. This style of bonus is often called a “match” bonus or a “welcome” bonus.
Typically, you will get a 100% bonus on your first deposit up to a certain amount; this can usually be done with using ewallet casino payments. The maximum bonus will usually be between $500 and $1000. This means that you will have to deposit that amount of money into your poker account to be eligible to receive the maximum bonus.
The bonus generally isn’t given to you upfront. You must earn the bonus money by playing in a lot of raked poker hands and poker tournaments. You will earn X amount of dollars for every Y amount of bonus points earned. For example, at Bovada’s poker room, you will need to earn 100 Poker Points for every $10.
The bonus will be released to you in these increments while you are playing. You will have a certain amount of time after your deposit to claim the entire amount of your bonus. This is usually 60 days or so.
For a poker player who is hovering around even money, the bonus money you earn can keep you going for a while longer. Ultimately it is up to how good of a poker player you are if this bonus is going to help you.
The easiest way to think of poker rakeback is that you will receive a percentage of your rack back at the end of the month. This is usually how often a poker room will give players rakeback; but you may find ones that offer it weekly or bi-weekly.
In order to receive rakeback, you will often have to ask the customer support at a poker room for a rakeback percentage. The amount that is usually granted is between 25% and 40% depending on how often you play poker. If you had $100 in raked hands and tournament fees, you would receive between $25 and $40 back at the end of the month.
Usually, you will only be able to accept a poker deposit bonus or rackback. You won’t be able to accept both. If you play often enough that you will clear the poker deposit bonus with ease, then you should think about asking for a rakeback percentage. Otherwise, I would suggest that you play with the bonus.