There are several online poker sites servicing the US market that are worth playing in order to get the initial deposit bonus. The bonuses offered by some poker sites are so lucrative that it pays to open a new account to try to build a bankroll from that initial deposit using the bonus. The payoff can be significant for players with some poker experience.
Before depositing, be sure to look for recent reviews and information on your prospective site(s). This will help you to choose a trusted operator that is paying players in a timely fashion and offering the best bonuses.
To understand why the largest bonus is not always the best value, you need to know that poker sites don’t give away free money just for making an initial deposit to a new online account. The illusion is that they do. However, poker sites operate by giving players a pending bonus that they must clear by participating in real-money cash games or tournaments. The terms by which a player can play through that bonus money vary by site, which is why is it important to read the fine print or simply read our reviews that explain all of the bonuses in detail.
US Poker Site with the Largest Bonuses Based on Dollar Amount
BetOnline has one of the largest poker bonuses out of all US-friendly poker sites, which is a 200% bonus up to $2,000. First, there is a good chance your credit card company will not let you deposit $1,000 to get the full $2k bonus, but most player don’t deposit that amount anyway. It merely sets the upper limit so high-roller players don’t take advantage of the bonus. If you do choose to deposit the full amount, it can be done with Western Union or MoneyGram, or the player can arrange a bank wire or other funds transfer in coordination with the site itself.
Another reputable site with a somewhat similar bonus is Ignition Poker (previously known as Bovada/Bodog), which offers a 100% initial deposit bonus match up to $2,000. This Ignition bonus is easier to clear because of the fewer times a player is required to use the money in real-money play before cashing out any winnings.
However, if you’re a serious player who puts in a large amount of volume (such as 20,000 or more hands per month at $100 Max NLHE or 10,000+ hands at stakes higher than $200 Max NLHE), then BetOnline’s online poker site is the best choice because they don’t have the four-table limit that Ignition Poker imposes. It’s easier to clear a large bonus when you can multi-table in big numbers, if that is your normal style of play. It is not recommended for beginning players or those not already accustomed to multi-tabling.
No matter which site you choose, BetOnline.ag or IgnitionPoker.eu, both are known for offering some of the softest poker games online. And both do offer bonuses that can be lucrative when paying attention to the terms and remaining within your normal playing limits.
US Poker Sites with the All-Around Best Bonuses
As of mid-2018, the expansion of state-regulated online poker in the US was open for action in three states – Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey – and preparing for an early 2019 launch in Pennsylvania. The state-licensed and regulated rooms have excellent support and the security of the US law on their side, but they still can’t touch most of the offshore poker rooms in terms of bonus offers and liquidity. Until the US market grows through the inclusion of more states and their connection through a multi-state online poker network, the bonuses from US-based sites will simply not be as lucrative as those offered by offshore sites.
Our favorite room for all-around bonuses, plus some fishy action, is BetOnline. This US-facing room offers excellent deposit bonuses and fast withdraw speeds. BetOnline.ag has been moving up the cash game traffic charts, more swifly in the past several years, and is becoming a top option for US players. The site offers the best deposit bonus, a 200% match bonus up to $2,000. The poker room is heavily frequented by sportsbook and casino gamblers, giving savvy poker players quite a few easy targets at the tables.
Whether choosing BetOnline or Ignition Poker, players can be guaranteed of some soft action and bonuses that are helpful in building or boosting bankrolls. It is especially helpful for new players without a lot of money to deposit into a new account, and the experience gained by working through the bonus will only strengthen that person’s overall poker skills.
Clearing bonuses and adding money to your bankroll is something every player should take advantage of, as depositing without using a bonus is simply a waste of time and money that could be used to win extra cash. In the long run, however, playing in soft games and seeking out the fish is what will push you in the direction of becoming a long-term winner.
Best Bonuses or Softest Games?
It is not the million-dollar question, but it is worth money in the end.
The poker site advertising the largest bonus online is not always the one with the highest valued bonus. As important as it is to compare all of what a site offers in terms of bonuses, loyalty programs, etc., perhaps far more important to maximizing your value at a US poker site is finding the games you can beat for the most profit.
Generally speaking, most poker players will find the games at BetOnline quite soft since they also offer a sportsbook and casino, and the players tend to cross over to the poker site to try to play like the pros they’ve seen on television. Is it enough to offset the difference in bonus value? That’s something you’ll need to consider yourself.
When researching an online poker site, it is a good idea to look at the full picture of what the site offers, starting with the deposit bonuses. However, that full picture also consists of reload bonuses that will be available if you choose to stay on the site, as well as loyalty points and player VIP programs that reward everyday play and offer more incentive to stay. This is how our overall reviews can help make that choice, as we take all aspects of the sites into consideration – from customer service all the way to software capabilities and player safety. With that said, the action at the tables is something you must judge for yourself once you begin playing.
For more on finding soft poker games online, see our article on US poker sites with the softest games.