Clearing Online Poker Bonuses

Online poker bonuses are one of the biggest draws to playing online poker. Every poker site will advertise that they have the best bonus. Many will offer a huge first deposit bonus, and regular refill promotions to encourage players to deposit. When it comes to getting the most value for your dollar, players are wise to search out the best and biggest bonus. But this money is not by the strictest sense free. Bonuses must be cleared before they can be cashed out. But what is clearing, and how do you clear a bonus?

Getting a Bonus

Many poker websites will offer great deposit incentives, and now and then promotions and “free” cash. But money is never completely free. Players should always read the fine print on a bonus before they redeem it. There are unsavory poker rooms that will have vague requirements or extremely high playthrough amounts. You want to avoid these bonuses, if not those sites completely. The best poker rooms will have a reasonable playthrough requirements and any play restrictions clearly defined. The restrictions and rules on each bonus should be easy to find, and customer service should be able to answer any questions you may have about them.

What is “Clearing?”

Poker rooms will have very specific rules surrounding their bonuses, many of which will require a certain amount of “playthrough”. It is very rare that a deposit bonus comes with no strings attached. If you are not sure of the playthrough requirements, it would be wise to contact customer service for clarification. Reading reviews about the poker site you choose to play on is also a great way to see how the quality of their bonus, and how difficult their bonuses are to clear.

Completing all the poker site's requirements to release bonus funds is referred to as “clearing” the bonus. Different poker sites will have different requirements. At times, this will require players to deposit a certain amount of their own cash, other times players are expected to bet a minimum amount over a period of time. Other popular methods include requiring players to make a certain amount in wagers over a period of time, or earning a set number of points through a VIP system. The games that qualify towards clearing the bonus can vary from poker site to poker site, and different bonuses will have different restrictions. For example, a Blackjack Bonus will likely have a restriction that players must play Blackjack to clear the bonus.

How to Clear

Some poker sites will hold the entire amount for players to receive only when they have earned it. Others will simply give you the entire amount up front, but will not cash it out. This second method is tricky, because if players attempt to withdraw their winnings before properly clearing a bonus, they could not only lose the bonus money, but any winnings earned from it as well. This is a questionable method that annoys and aggravates many players. However, players can typically find out if they have cleared the bonus in the cashier. The customer service representatives of the site should be able to confirm if you have cleared the bonus if you have any lingering doubts.

The most popular method is when poker sites release small amounts. These amounts typically range between $5 to $10 increments. Some sites will automatically release funds into your bankroll as they are cleared. Others will require players to cash in the points for bonus funds.

Before You Withdraw

No matter which method your favourite poker site prefers, most will have a time restriction on how long players have to clear the entire bonus. This restriction may vary by bonus, however typically a poker site will have one set time limit that applies to all their bonuses. 30, 60, and even 90 days are common amounts of time.

Once you are done playing, or perhaps after you hit a big win you want to withdraw, It's important to make sure you have successfully cleared the entire bonus amount. The best bonuses for players depends on their style of play. Serious and regular gamblers will likely prefer the all-up-front method, where they can use that money to increase their bankroll and play more games and bet more aggressively. More casual players will likely prefer the slow-release option. This means that they can earn the bonus over time- and if they don't have the time to commit to earning the entire amount they won't lose money or risk not being able to withdraw their winnings. The best option is to carefully read the fine print and choose a bonus that compliments how you like to play online poker.