Since the inception of the online poker industry, poker bonuses have been the focal point for many rooms in their attempts to lure players to their site. Money makes the world go round, and sites in the poker industry have long battled to offer the most attractive, flashy and seemingly amazing bonuses to would be players at their site.
$ 1000, $ 2000, even €5000 first deposit bonuses are frequently banded about. To the untrained eye, these sound like unbelievably great deals, but there’s always a catch. Typically, most bonuses clear at a rate of between 10-25%, which means that you’ll have to produce between 4-10 times as much rake as the bonus which you’ll ultimately receive. If a $ 1000 bonus clears at a rate of 20%, then you’ll have to generate $ 5000 in rake for the poker site before you’ll have cleared the full $ 1000. Basically, it’s a tool to lure you in, and the poker industry really needs to come up with some more inviting bonuses for the smarter player who understands how the system works.
The Party Bonus at Party Poker is an example of a solid bonus which has always provided players with a good starting point for their poker career. I think Party are still really the only poker room to target this market, and in fairness to them it’s definitely a sound strategy, and beneficial for the poker industry. They’re targeting a huge potential player base, and probably often a player base which is new to online poker.
Bonuses are all good and well, and definitely provide fantastic value to any players deal through a good poker affiliate, but I feel like there needs to be some innovation in attracting new players – A real sense of community, exclusive and fun tournaments, head-hunter rewards & most essential – the promise of a really fun and enjoyable experience, something which is definitely overlooked in the current industry. Rooms like PKR understand the love of video games and have definitely tried to incorporate that realistic feel with their state of the art software. It’d be great to see more rooms try and bring the fun back in to poker, I definitely think Party have the potential too, and we’ve already seen 888 introduce webcam poker.