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A Bonus Whores Guide To The Galaxy
Ahhh, the new player bonus, or the reload bonus, free money baby, but at what price ? 

Before You Sign Up… 
Before you sign up to a new site or do a reload on a current site, be informed, check everything out and be sure that you know what will be required to clear that bonus. Several things need to be considered :

1, How much time do you have to clear it. NEVER choose anything less than 60 days, EVER.
2, Decide how much you want to deposit, if its a new site, you might end up not liking it, and I would recommend no more than $50.00 (my reasons below).
3, Check out the real traffic that goes to the site for cash games, as these are the games that will give you the fastest way to clear your bonus.
4, Know what their minimum withdrawal amount is, and if there are any fees associated with it.

Small Bankrolls, Smart Profits 
Bonus whoring as it’s called, is not something done to improve your game. Unless you’re already a well established player with deep pockets, this guide is only for the solid played with a smaller bankroll, which is why I recommend a $50.00 deposit. The higher the stakes the faster the bonus points are accumulated, but also the faster your bankroll may disappear. This is still gambling and bad beats will happen, but with solid play, things will usually level out & you will see your initial bankroll grow. Over a typical 60 day clearing time you should at least double your deposit (often much more, but this should be the minimum).

Now with a small starting stake of 50 bucks, you should play the following limits only, yeah it’s small, but stay with me here, it will be profitable…

Play either the .10-.15 tables or the .10-.20 tables, and ALWAYS pick a 9 or 10 player table, (and obviously almost full) never ever the 6 player tables.

Play only in the later 5 or 6 positions (including the big blind) unless holding aces or kings. You’re not playing to win a tournament here. Yes, you are playing to win, but the key is to accumulate those bonus points, and playing too many early position hands, will in the long run lose you cash…

In these last 5 or 6 spots, play any connected cards and any suited ace or king. If you get raised when holding less than one of the top 10 starting hands, fold it. Many sites allow this as contributing to the pot, so you accumulate points without wasting a lot of money…

Play as many tables at once as you can handle. I would say a minimum of 3 tables is required which means triple the points in the same time period. You will find at least one table has you up several bucks and maybe you will be down a bit on the others, but as long as you are roughly breaking even or better overall, then you’re doing fine.

Donkey Players & Cash Goals 
Most sites give you an option to make notes on a player. Even if you are not in the hand, tag the donkeys as fast as you can, they will pay for your supper in the long run…

My definition of donkey players are the ones playing in early position with rag hands, for example calling a decent raise like a buck with nothing but queen 2 off suit. Make sure to note the differences between donkey play and someone playing a weak hand because of pre-flop pot odds. If i’m holding something like king 7 off suit and “under the gun” raises to a buck. If there are 5 or so callers, get your money in there and look for the “suck out” (hitting big with a nothing hand). It’s easy to fold if you miss completely and you get a few extra points for the bonus.

With the combination of poor luck, bad beats and our donkey players, you will have to expect to see a loss once in awhile. Because of this, I highly recommend bringing to the table no more than $5.00 …not much i hear you say, but if you have to push and lose, it’s only 5 bucks. This is still 10% of your starting bankroll and you need to keep as much of that as possible to get through the next few weeks of the donkarama…

If you are having one of those nights where every great hand gets cracked, take a break for the night; that is part of the reason for grabbing the bonuses that give you enough time to complete them. You will not always come away from the tables a winner, but with good bankroll management and steady play, will normally hold your own in the long run.

Always have a cash goal ! For example when you are having a good night, try to exit any table when you double or triple your original bring in. It’s no use winning 15 bucks, pushing with those queens and potentially losing it all…

Researching The Sites 
Going back to Item 3:- You’ve found the site that you want to try, download it and check out how many cash tables are available for the buy in amount you want to play. You want at least 5-10 tables going at that amount as you need to flop around from table to table where the action is best. You can’t get your bonus if you can’t get on the tables ! If the given poker room meets your requirements you can usually enter your bonus code when you make that first deposit.

Here is something that happened to me that will work as an example for Item 4:- I made a deposit to a site and when I went to withdraw, they wanted to add a $20 fee which was not listed when I originally made my deposit. I won my argument with them as I made a copy of what was listed on the site at that time. It’s always a good idea to make screen shots or print outs of this information, so that if a poker room changes their policy at any given time, you have some ammo to fight with…

In researching the site, you might find some additional extras that may be gained when playing the cash tables. After enough points have been accumulated, perhaps there is an entry to a good freeroll, or play enough raked hands in the day leading up to an even bigger freeroll, or you get extra chips in for a tournament. Some sites even allow a faster clearing of your bonus as your player points rise. All good things to be aware of before making that deposit !

Stick To Your Bonus 
One other thing to note:- when on a bonus that hasn’t cleared yet, don’t try and get other bonuses at the same site (eg. the refer a friend bonus). With this example, most rooms put the bonus in a queue and won’t release that until both you and your friend clear it, and then only after you have cleared your inital bonus. Some sites also replace whatever bonus you are on with any newer one, so you lose that first bonus and it’s accumulated points.

Note : There are some websites out there that track player stats. Please take note that the style of poker i am suggesting here will negatively affect your rating on most of these sites. Most statistics of this nature are open for all to see, so if you continue to play under the same user name, be aware that many poker players know and use these sites and will have access to this information. Whilst not necessarily a major issue, it may be worth considering this when setting up your poker accounts and choosing your screen names.

In A Nutshell… 
Be dilligent with your bankroll, stick to your game plan, research the poker room you are interested in and be aware of the policies that go along with your selected bonus. Good hunting !

A Bonus Whores Guide To The Galaxy was written by Rob “PoolDemon” Gergely.

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