7 Tips to Optimize your First Deposit Bonus in Online Poker Rooms

A lot of poker sites are attracting new players with appealing First Deposit Bonus Offers (FDB).

Such offers can promise 200% of your cash up to $1000, but don’t be deceived by such high numbers.

First Deposit Bonuses (FDB) are interesting for players, but you need to look more into the details to measure that value.

In this article, we will list 7 tips for you to consider in order to optimize your Deposit Bonuses.


first deposit bonus

Tip #1. Calculate the rake needed to clear your bonus

First Deposit Bonus are almost never instantaneous, but are received in small increments (learn more below). This means that you need to play a certain number of hands, and thus, rake, before getting your money.

Which leads to the following questions:

  • How many hands will you have to play?
  • How much will you have to rake to receive your entire FDB?
  • How much of your rake will you manage to get back from your grind?

This is the most important factor. It’s the real value of the promotion.  We are talking here about the clearance rate of the bonus.

Example: If your bonus is clearing at 50%, it means that you need to rake $100 dollars in order to redeem $50. Some website are offering bonus clearing at a 10% rate, which means that you need to rake 1K in order to clear a $100 bonus. On others, you will collect $500 for the same amount of rake (50% clearance rate).

Websites are usually not displaying this information. Ask us if you need help comparing offers from different sites.

Tip #2. Consider how much time you have to clear your first deposit bonus

When you start clearing a first deposit bonus, don’t forget that your time is limited. On some websites, you have only 30 days to clear your bonus; on others, 90 days. A short period of time then means that you will have to play a lot during the first month in hope you get your money.

So take into account how much time is given to you to clear the bonus. High bonus amounts require more time to clear.

If you are playing a small volume on small stakes, make sure you do not deposit too much money.

time limit first bonus deposit
Time is your ennemy

Tip #3. Know the installments of your first deposit bonus

Another important criteria is the way you can redeem your bonus.

Most of the sites are redeeming bonus in several installments or increments (pieces). They often represent 5% or 10% of the total offer, but sometimes more.

Once you have cleared one installment, your money will be directly credited to your account, and you will be able to play with it.

Example: If a $100 bonus is divided into 5 installments, you will be credited $20 x 5 times.

Please note that several sites are offering bonuses that are redeemed in a single installment. When this is the case, you have to grind until meeting 100% of the rake requirement before the expiration of your bonus. If you don’t, you won’t get a single a piece of your bonus!

Look for the offers where you can redeem your increments regularly.

Tip #4: Beware of the Cashing Out Rules

Be aware that some rooms do not allow you to cash out when you clear your bonus. Even after having played countless hours and hands, cashing out may be restricted.

Read carefully the details of the offer before depositing money if you want to get it back.

Don’t give a Poker Room the opportunity to block your money

Tip #5: Instant Bonuses are interesting on the long run

Some rooms offer instant bonuses. This is a way to increase your bankroll and start playing with more money right away.

But in most cases, you won’t be able to cash out your “free” bonus without playing a certain number of hands. Then again, back to the maths to see if the deal is profitable or not!

Example: If you deposit $20, you receive a free $20, and are now able to play with $40.

This is a more favorable situation to grind. However, the website will restrict cashouts and prevent you from withdrawing. Even if you are back to your original $20, you may be forbidden to get them back!

Only sign up for Instant Bonuses if you are sure to play on the long term on a poker website.

888 Poker adds

Tip #6: Pay attention to Reload Bonuses

Some rooms offer Reload Bonuses. They are basically the same as First Deposit Bonuses, except that they are designed for players who already deposited on their poker platform. Percentages and limits of the offer can vary, but are often less favorable than First Deposit Bonuses.

They can for instance be offered when you lose all your bankroll. Indeed, to avoid losing a player, online poker rooms may try to give you an incentive to make a new deposit. However, these promotions can also happen in different situations.

Don’t forget to deposit when you can benefit from one.

#7. Consider other Offers

Usually, when opening a new poker account, First Deposit Bonuses are not the only offers.

Take into account other offers, especially exclusive freerolls for new depositors. But beware, here too, these freerolls can be subject to limitations when it comes to cashing out.

Countless other offers include: tournament tickets, limited-time VIP status, exclusive rakeback, and so on.

Don’t choose an Online Poker Room based only on their First Deposit Bonus.



Look for a bonus that is easy to clear.
Make sure you understand the rake requirement.
Choose a bonus that will give you enough time to redeem it.
Avoid bonuses that are redeemed in a single installment.

PokerStars First Deposit Bonus in test

Offer: 100% Bonus up to $600
Rake needed to redeem an $100 bonus: $363
Clearance rate: 27% rakeback
Installments: $10
Validity: 120 Days
Additional offers: PokerStars is also offering as alternative a $20 Instant bonus. To receive this bonus ou have to do is a make a real money deposit of at least $20. Your free $20 will be credited within 36 hours. Whichever option you choose, your account will also be credited with a ticket to play the 100K Privilege Freerolls
Bonus codes: For the 100% deposit up to $600 use “STARS600″. For the $20 Instant Bonus use  “FREE20”


 Read our Review and Sign Up on PokerStars

888Poker First Deposit Bonus in test

Offer: 100% Bonus up to $400
Rake needed to redeem an $100 bonus: $500
Clearance rate: 20% rakeback
Installments: $10
Validity: 90 Days
Comments: 888Poker is also offering a $10 Instant bonus. To receive this bonus ou have to do is a make a real money deposit of at least $10. Whichever option you choose, your account will also be credited with tickets to play the First Depositors’ Challenge, the $1,000 Depositors’ Free tournament and seven $500 First Depositors’ Free tournaments
Bonus codes: The 100% Bonus up to $400 doesn’t require a specific code. For the $10 Bonus Instant Bonus use “10PLUS“. 


Read our Review and Sign Up on 888Poker


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Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

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