Online Poker Bonuses

Poker bonuses offer players cash, free tournament entries, and other perks in return for signing up for accounts and making deposits. Some poker sites offer a little money just for signing up and provide an even bigger bonus to players who make a first deposit.

In most cases, bonuses offered by legal poker sites provide significant value to the player. However, every bonus is different, and players should know what makes one bonus worth their while and the next one not so much.

With that in mind, we present our list of the best poker bonuses. We rank each according to its value, ease of clearing, and the trustworthiness of the site behind the offer. Below, we outline how the various types of offers work, how to evaluate the quality of online poker bonuses, and what players need to know before they play.

Best Poker Bonuses by State

The variety and availability of poker bonuses vary by state due to the nature of US gaming laws. Players in some states can choose from multiple poker sites and welcome offers, while those in other states are limited in choice.

New Jersey Poker Bonuses

New Jersey boasts a vibrant and competitive online poker industry with seven operators that offer welcome bonuses to new customers. As a general rule of thumb, the most successful operators offer the best NJ poker bonuses.

BetMGM Poker NJ Bonus

  • $25 no-deposit bonus just for signing up
  • 100% up to $1,000 first deposit bonus
  • Clearing requirements: Must earn 20 iReward Points (iRPs) for every $1 in bonus money (5 iRPs earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees or cash game rake)

PartyPoker NJ Bonus

  • 100% up to $600 first deposit bonus
  • Clearing requirements: Must earn 4 points for every $1 in bonus money (2 points earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees or cash game rake)

Borgata Poker NJ Bonus

  • $20 no-deposit bonus for signing up
  • 100% up to $600 first deposit bonus
  • Clearing requirements: Must earn 4 iReward Points (iRPs) for every $1 in bonus money (5 iRPs earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees or cash game rake)

PokerStars NJ Bonus

  • $30 in Free Play with your $20+ first deposit and the bonus code FREE30
  • 100% up to $600 first deposit bonus with the promo code STARS600
  • Clearing requirements: Must earn 14 redemption points per $1 in bonus money (5 redemption points earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees or cash game rake)

888 Poker NJ Bonus

  • $20 no-deposit bonus just for signing up
  • 100% up to $1,500 first deposit bonus
  • Clearing requirements: $10 in bonus money released for every 100 bonus points (BPs) earned (2 BPs earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees or cash game rake)

WSOP NJ Bonus

  • $100 in freeroll tickets with your $10+ first deposit
  • 100% up to $1,000 first deposit bonus
  • Clearing requirements: Must earn 50 Action Player Points (APPs) for every $5 in bonus funds (2 APPs earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees or cash game rake)

Pala Poker Bonus

  • $25 no-deposit bonus just for signing up
  • 100% up to $500 first deposit bonus
  • Clearing requirements: Must earn 1,250 Status Points (SPs) for every $5 in bonus funds (50 SPs earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees or cash game rake)

Michigan Poker Bonuses

The Michigan poker industry is still gearing up and has just two operators. Additional poker sites have confirmed they plan to enter the state soon. In the meantime, Michigan poker players can claim these welcome offers from BetMGM and PokerStars.

BetMGM Poker MI Bonus

  • $10 no-deposit bonus to use in cash games and fastfoward tables – no deposit needed
  • $15 no-deposit bonus to use for free tournament entries – no deposit needed
  • 100% up to $600 first deposit bonus
  • Clearing requirements: Players must earn 12 iRewards Points (iRPs) per $1 in bonus money to release the bonus (players earn 5.56 iRPs per $1 paid in rake and tournament fees)

PokerStars MI Bonus

  • $30 free play with your $20+ first deposit and the bonus code FREE30
  • 100% up to $600 first deposit bonus with the promo code STARS600
  • Clearing requirements: Must earn 140 redemption points for every $10 in bonus cash (5 redemptions points earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees and rake)

Pennsylvania Poker Bonuses

PokerStars has dominated Pennsylvania’s poker industry from the beginning as the only authorized operator, but that will not be the case for too much longer. Other poker sites have made it clear they will expand their operations to Pennsylvania soon.

PokerStars PA Bonus

  • $30 free play with your $20+ first deposit and the bonus code FREE30
  • 100% up to $600 first deposit bonus with the promo code STARS600
  • Clearing requirements: Must earn 140 redemption points for every $10 in bonus cash (5 redemptions points earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees and rake)

Nevada Poker Bonuses

WSOP.com dominates the Nevada poker market. Two other poker sites have operated in Nevada at various points, but both failed to gain enough traction to stick around for long. Some of the industry’s more prominent operators have indicated they may enter the market in the future. Until then, players can visit WSOP.com to play online and claim a generous deposit bonus.

WSOP NV Bonus

  • $100 in welcome freerolls with a $10+ first deposit
  • 100% up to $1,000 first deposit bonus
  • Clearing requirements: Must earn 50 Action Player Points (APPs) for every $5 in bonus funds (2 APPs earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees or cash game rake)

Delaware Poker Bonuses

Delaware is home to three poker sites, all powered by 888 Poker but featuring the branding of each of the state’s three land-based casinos. Aside from branding, all DE poker sites operate identically, including their welcome bonuses.

All three poker sites offer the following welcome bonus to new customers.

Harrington Raceway, Delaware Park, and Dover Downs Poker Bonus

  • 100% up to $500 first deposit bonus
  • Clearing requirements: Must earn 40 status points for every $5 in bonus funds (2 status points earned for every $1 paid in tournament fees or cash game rake)

West Virginia Poker Bonuses

West Virginia legalized online poker in 2019, but no operators have taken the plunge yet. Online poker is legal in WV, but there is nowhere to play. BetMGM Poker and PokerStars.com are likely candidates due to their connections to local casinos and reputations for expanding into new states.

We will update this page with all information and bonus details when the first WV poker sites open their doors. In the meantime, WV remains limited to online sports betting and casino games.

How Online Poker Bonuses Work

The basic idea behind the typical poker bonus is that you sign up for an account at a poker site and make a deposit. In return, the poker site adds extra money to your account. So if you deposit $100 and get a $100 bonus, you would have a total bankroll of $200. In this example, your first deposit has been doubled.

The biggest poker bonuses tend to be reserved for new customers, but many poker sites also offer the occasional reload bonus that is open to everyone. With reload bonuses, all you have to do is make a deposit and the cash is yours. These come in handy if you’ve been considering topping up your account or would like to grow a larger bankroll more quickly.

In most cases, the amount of bonus money you receive is tied to the size of your first deposit. Whenever you see an advertisement to the effect of “get a 100% bonus up to $500,” that percentage is telling you how much money you can get based on the size of your deposit. If they are offering a 100% bonus, that means your first deposit will be doubled.

Likewise, a 50% bonus means you’ll get an extra 50% (i.e. deposit $100 to get $50 extra).

Poker bonuses also come with upper limits on how much extra cash you can receive. If the offer is 100% up to $100, they’re telling you that you’ll get an extra 100% on any amount for up to $100 extra. You can still deposit as much as you want in this example, but the amount you’ll get in additional bonus funds is capped at $100.

Clearing Poker Deposit Bonuses

If you claim your first poker bonus without reading the terms and conditions, you may be surprised to find that the bonus cash is not immediately available in your account. Instead, the poker bonus money is labeled as “pending” until you meet certain requirements. This is completely normal.

Clearing requirements are a necessary evil as online poker sites want to make sure you’re actually there to play poker, not to claim a bonus and run. In other words, they want you to play in real money cash games and tournaments until you have played the minimum number of hands necessary to release the cash.

The particular details vary from one poker site to the next, but it always comes down to you participating in real money games in order to release the bonus money. Bonuses are often set up to release in small chunks every time you earn X number of frequent player points (which are awarded for playing in cash games and tournaments).

Clearing requirements provide the poker site with two additional benefits. First, by encouraging you to play in real money games, it helps the poker site keep the tables active and more attractive to other players. Very few people are interested in joining a poker site if the tables are always empty.

Second, requiring you to play poker helps to offset the cost of the bonus. Whenever you win a hand in a cash game, you may notice that a small percentage of that pot is kept by the poker site as “rake.” Rake is how poker sites and real-world poker rooms earn money. On average, poker sites keep about 3% of every winning pot.

A small portion of poker tournament fees is also kept by the poker site for rake. If you enter a $10+$1 tournament, for example, $10 goes to the prize pool. The poker site keeps the additional $1 as rake.

One thing to keep in mind here is that rake will always be a part of life unless you only play in private home games with your friends. Whether you play online or at a local casino, the people hosting the games need to earn an income, pay the bills and keep the employees happy. The rake is how they do that.

The best online poker bonuses mitigate the cost of the rake and boost your winnings.

If you are a winning player, a poker bonus pads your winnings and helps you grow the bankroll by an amount equal to the size of the entire bonus. If you are a losing player, a bonus will help offset your losses, which in turn gives you more experience at the tables and more time to hone your game.

In any case, a poker bonus from a legitimate site is always a good deal for the player.

Fastest Way to Clear a Poker Bonus

There are two basic routes you can take to clear any bonus: by playing in cash games or by playing in tournaments. In our experience, participating in cash games has always led to us clearing poker deposit bonuses the fastest.

The reason being that cash games move quickly, they run 24 hours a day and it’s easy to multi-table. You can rack up a ton of frequent player points by playing in cash games.

Tournaments tend to take longer because tournaments generate less rake per hour for the poker site and that results in it taking longer to earn the frequent player points necessary to release the bonus.

If you think about it, you can buy into one tournament for $10 and that’s all you’ll spend for the next four or five hours if you play well. During that time, you could play in hundreds of cash game hands.

However, it is even better to simply stick to the game type you know best. If tournaments are your bread and butter, stick with tournaments. A poker bonus doesn’t do much good if you force yourself to play an unfamiliar format and lose a bunch of money as you try to clear the bonus. If you’re comfortable with both formats, cash games are definitely the way to go.

Poker Signup Bonus Promo Codes

Some poker sites require you to input a specific “promo code” when you make a deposit in order to claim your bonus. If you forget to input the code, you get no bonus. An increasing number of sites are doing away with bonus codes altogether, but some do still insist that you have the latest code.

If you are signing up for an account or making a deposit and you see a blank field asking for your bonus/promo/referral code, there is a chance you’re at a poker site that requires a bonus code.

We should note that we keep up to date on all poker bonuses listed here. If we don’t list a bonus code, you don’t need it for that poker site. Sometimes you may see a bonus code field even though we do not mention a code on the offer listed here. That’s OK. In that case, you can leave the field blank and you will still receive your bonus.

Types of Poker Bonuses

Every poker bonus is unique, but most poker bonuses can be organized into one of four categories to give players an idea of what to expect. First deposit bonuses are almost always the most valuable, while no-deposit bonuses and reload offers tend to be smaller but still worthwhile.

No matter the type of promotional offer, poker players should consider each bonus individually and make sure they understand how it works. Most bonuses come with playthrough requirements that must be met before the money is released to the player’s real money account.

Whether it’s a first deposit bonus or free tournament tickets, players need to understand the terms and conditions. For example, if a bonus requires a player to play through X number of hands, how likely is the player to meet that condition before the bonus expires? These are important things to consider, especially in states with multiple poker sites and many bonuses to choose from.

First Deposit Bonuses

The first deposit bonus is the prototypical new customer offer designed to entice customers in an industry that competes for entertainment dollars. As such, first deposit poker bonuses tend to be large and eye-catching, often awarding hundreds of dollars or more in return for signing up for an account and making a deposit.

Deposit bonuses are usually offered on a percentage match basis. For example, a 100% bonus will match each new customer’s first deposit on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Deposit $200, get $200 extra, and so on.

The most important thing to note with any deposit bonus is how difficult it is to clear. Reputable poker sites make it clear what they expect from players to release the full bonus for withdrawal. See our “clearing poker bonuses” section above for more information.

Reload Bonuses

Poker reload bonuses function similarly to first deposit offers but are open to existing customers as well. Occasionally, a poker site will offer a temporary reload bonus to reactivate existing players and entice dormant accounts to become active again.

Reload bonuses are almost always smaller than new customer offers, but they work in the same manner otherwise. Players can anticipate receiving money in return for depositing, and a requirement that they clear the bonus by participating in real money cash games and tournaments.

No-Deposit Bonuses

No-deposit bonuses are popular for one obvious reason: players can sign up for an account and receive some money with no deposit needed. If a player wants to give a poker site a test drive without going through the hassle of funding an account, no-deposit bonuses are the way to go.

The catch with most no-deposit bonuses is that any winnings earned with the money are held captive until the player makes a deposit. As a result, no deposit bonuses are good for trying a poker site, but they are not free money. Even so, it’s nice to take a free chance at grinding up a bankroll and only making a deposit if your winnings reach the point to where it’s worth the effort to cash them out.

Free Tournament Entries

Some poker sites offer free tournament entries as an add-on to the standard welcome bonus. For example, a poker site may offer a standard deposit bonus plus $100 worth of free tournament tickets.

The tickets usually come with no strings attached. Players simply use the tournament to buy into a paid tournament for free, and anything they win is theirs to cash out at will.