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Best Poker Bonuses - Bonus Calculator Tool - PokerBonusBest Poker Bonuses

The goal of this website is to rank and review the best poker bonuses across the online poker industry.

Many different criteria are involved in reviewing bonus value, and all went into the creation of our exclusive Bonus Calculator, numbers crunched with a database of 80.7 real-money poker hands.

What Makes a Good Poker Bonus?

How Big It Is

That's what she said. Although, is there more to the equation than just the size?

In reality, scale is not the most important metric. A smaller bonus may - and often will - offer higher value if it requires less rake to clear. A $5,000 bonus may be effectively impossible to clear in the allotted time given the game conditions, and only offer 6.67% equivalent rakeback.

Bonuses range from $50 - $5,000. Historically some rooms offering large bonuses later fell into financial difficulties and closed down. Be wary of rooms incentivizing players with a large bonus offer and not much else.

The Percentage Match

Similar to size, this refers to how much you need to deposit in order to qualify for the full bonus. A 100% up to $X bonus means what you deposit is what you qualify for - $100 for $100, $600 for $600.

A 200% up to $X bonus, however, would see you only needing to deposit $300 to qualify for $600.

A 50% match bonus (rare in poker, more commonly seen in online casino bonuses) would mean you have to deposit double the max bonus amount to get it.

The larger the percentage match, the less money you need to risk as your initial bankroll. Not really relevant for winning players depositing large amounts anyway, but another metric to take into account.

Yachting Poker offers a 200% matching bonus, plus an additional first login bonus.

 

Clearance Multiplier

Rather than size, the clearing rate or 'multiplier' should be your first port of call. This is a measure of how much play is needed to clear the bonus. It's equal to the no. of points required to clear the bonus, divided by the bonus size.

For example the PokerStars deposit bonus, which we rank as the best poker bonus in our directory, has a 20x multiplier - requiring 20 times the value of the bonus in VIP Player Points (VPPs) to clear. Carbon Poker by comparison has a 150x multiplier.

We need to dig deeper of course as the points system varies between poker rooms. Clearance multipliers are only useful by themselves when comparing signup, reload and no deposit bonuses on the same network.

Equivalent Rakeback Value

Clearance multipliers are used to deduce equivalent rakeback, the most relevant metric since bonuses are effectively just providing you with a rake discount.

Bonus rakeback percentage is equal to the bonus size, divided by the rake required to clear the bonus.

Back to the example of PokerStars, we said it requires 20x VPPs to clear any bonus. So 12,000 VPPs to clear a $600 bonus. On PokerStars 5.5 VPPs are earnt per $1 in rake paid, so 600 as a fraction of (12,000/5.5) = 27.5% rakeback.

Time to Clear

The best poker bonuses allow a generous time period to clear them before expiring.

Typically this is either 60 or 90 days. Longer clearing periods allow microstakes and low volume players to have a rake discount, and therefore a higher winrate, for longer, benefiting the ecology of the site.

Increment Sizes

The smaller the increments or 'instalments' a bonus is released in, the better, at least for players that will release less than the full bonus. This might be equally sized $10 increments (e.g. Carbon Poker) or as on Bovada six instalments of $10, $40, $100, $150, $300 then a final $400.

Even players who will comfortably clear bonuses benefit instalments as these funds can be pumped back into your play, as a buffer against downswings and allowing you to move up in stakes faster.

The Yachting Poker bonus for example is unlocked in increments of €5, and all Winning Poker Network skins release bonuses $1 at at time.

Play in the US on Winning Poker skins Americas Cardroom, Black Chip and True Poker.

 

Number of Deposits Allowed

Most rooms will activate deposit bonuses based on your first, and only deposit.

A few however allow multiple staggered deposits to qualify as a cumulative sum. PokerStars allows up to three qualifying deposits - e.g. $100, $200 then $300 to add to the max. of $600 - within 60 days of each other.

Bovada counts all deposits you make on the day of your first deposit.

Points in Cash Games vs Tournaments

Some rooms award VIP points differently in cash games as opposed to tournaments. 

Bovada for example has a high value 60% signup bonus when using tournament fees to calculate the rakeback percentage. However for cash games no straightforward calculation is possible as points awarded vary by pot size. The rakeback equivalent for cash games will be lower but likely still high.

PokerStars awards 5.5 VPPs per $1 rake in both 6-Max cash games and tournaments, but awards 6 VPPs in Full Ring cash games.

Different systems such as these are something extra to bear in mind when deeply analysing bonus value.

Best Poker Bonuses - Stud on PokerStars
Mostly clear your bonuses at 7 Card Stud? PokerStars has you covered.

 

Room Traffic & Games

If a site only sees under 1,000 players online at peak times and has no stakes higher than $3/$6, the maximum bonus players will be able to clear is limited, no matter how generous the amount in theory.

On smaller rooms you'll also be forced to play the most popular game types, i.e. NLHE and PLO to get in action. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are the only rooms with any real mixed games traffic.

If you're a microstakes player or don't like to play short-handed, download the poker room client to check how many games are running before choosing where to bonuswhore.

Room Reputation

Finally as a bonus is a pending agreement between player and site, whether or not the room is reputable should be taken into account. Are payouts prompt and reliable? Is the room likely to still be around by the time you clear your bonus and cashout?

PokerBonus only recommends the best poker rooms with no history of scams or malpractice. Where rooms are publicly listed or have set stellar standards for years, we weight their bonuses higher in our rankings.

The Rake

Players have a tendency to focus on rakeback percentages and disregard how high or low the actual rake is. 

Getting 25% rakeback - through bonuses or otherwise - on site A may be a better deal than 50% rakeback on site B, if site A's rake is low enough. 

A common example is the cap in heads up pots - players should avoid playing low stakes HU on sites with a $1 cap or worse. That high of a rake will make you unprofitable, regardless of rakeback, unless your opponent is a whale. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker have a 50 cent cap HU and the lowest rake across the board.

Best Poker Bonuses - Table

Room

Bonus

Equiv. Rakeback

Time to Clear

Increments

Peak Traffic

PokerStars

100% up to $600

27.5%

4 Months

$10

>30,000

Bovada

100% up to $1,000

60%

60 Days

Various

>2,000

Carbon Poker

200% up to $5,000

6.67%

90 Days

$10

>1,000

Full Tilt Poker

100% up to $600

40%

60 Days

$10 

>3,000

Paddy Power

100% up to $500

33%

90 Days

$10

>3,500

Americas Cardroom

 100% up to $1,000

 

20%



60 Days



$1



 >500

 

Black Chip Poker

True Poker

Yachting Poker

200% up to €1200

 25%

60 Days

€5

>1,000

The PokerBonus Directory

Best Poker Bonuses - PokerBonus ScoringTry out the Bonus Calculator yourself to analyse bonuses on ~340 other rooms.

Each bonus is scored and ranked, against other bonuses of its type and overall.

Finally calculate bonus clearing speeds for low, medium and high volume players, or input your own volume and stakes to get a personalised quote.