You can find online poker sites that give you instant cash bonuses. There are two basic types. First there is completely free cash or tokens to try out the games. Second, you will find sites who give you the cash after you deposit – often instantly crediting your account with the extra money. This article covers both types, comparing the benefits of instant cash poker sites with the more common matched deposit bonuses.
First up, you’ll find information on the instant cash bonuses of 3 different poker sites – 2 worldwide players only and one site that still welcomes US players. After that there is a comparison of these upfront bonuses and the matched ones – including a warning about reading the site terms and conditions. Finally, a look at some of the other bonus and loyalty offers you should be considering before you make a final decision about where to play.
#1 – 888 Poker: This is a great offer from an established and trusted brand. 888 offer up to $88 completely free to new players with no deposit or credit card information required. This offer works by giving you $8 in tournament tokens and cash game buy-ins to start with, then adding another $8 up to 10 more times as you collect points from the tables. If you do happen to lose your $8 right away, then you can deposit in order to work up the points to claim the next 10 installments. You’ll still get the usual 100% matched bonus at any point if you do wish to make a deposit. Check out our 888 Poker review for more.
#2 – PokerStars.com: The instant money option from PokerStars requires a real money poker deposit (using the bonus code FREE20), you will then receive $20 extra cash instantly. You will not be able to cash it out immediately, as this would be subject to potential abuse. Instead you’ll need to collect points from the games until your bonus money is unlocked. Those same points will count towards your VIP loyalty level and can be used to enter tournaments too.
#3 – BetOnline Poker: This is an instant cash poker bonus on top of your first deposit with a difference, the money is made available for you to play right away. This is a total of 25% of your first deposit for most banking methods, and 15% if you use your credit card. Credit cards are accepted readily at BetOnline, however they are a little more expensive to process. You’ll need to play through your instant bonus before you can cash out – though you can go to the tables and play with it right away.
Many smart players think that they can get around the ‘no cashout’ restrictions on their instant bonuses by working with a friend to lose the money heads-up and then have them cash it out. This will not work, the sites offering these bonuses are extremely vigilant to this and will likely freeze both accounts before you can say ‘chip dumping’.
You should make it a habit to check the terms of any poker site bonus you play, and instant cash poker site bonuses are no exception. It would be a shame to expect your bonus only to find that your geo or preferred game is not included in the offer.
These bonuses are smaller than the matched bonuses that many poker sites offer. For example, instead of $20 free from PokerStars, you could opt for a 100% match of up to $600 covering your first 3 deposits. Many sites even offer 200% matches for those deposits, with extras like software or tournament entries thrown in on top.
Deposit bonuses appear in your account in small increments as you collect points from playing in the real money games. This means you do not get the same bankroll boost at the start that you would from instant bonuses. If you have the money, and know you are a winning player, then taking the bigger amount makes a lot of sense. For smaller stakes players, or those who are not yet sure whether they can beat the game consistently enough to get through a deposit bonus – then I recommend the instant money instead.