Poker Bonus Clearing
If you have been playing, or even thinking about playing poker online for any time at all, you know there are numerous online poker rooms. In addition, each online poker room offers some sort of a sign up bonus to entice you to make a deposit and play for real money. Poker room bonuses come in a wide range of amounts and requirements to clear. Some of them require you to only be dealt into so many hands to clear, while others require you to contribute to so many pots. These are sometimes included in a points system of some kind, but they all boil down to playing a certain number of hands to clear a bonus.
In addition to making sure you completely understand how a bonus works before making a deposit and accepting it, there is one other important consideration about clearing a poker bonus. The biggest mistake I see at the poker tables as far as clearing bonuses, and I used to make this same mistake, is playing far too many hands in an attempt to clear a bonus faster. Your first goal while playing poker should always be to make the right decision every time you have to make one. By working on your game until you can consistently make the right decision more often than not, you will become a winning poker player. Everything else is secondary, including any possible bonuses you may be working towards.
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Another way to look at poker bonuses is that no matter how big of a bonus you get, if you are a losing player overall, you will eventually lose the bonus as well. On the other hand, if you are an overall winning player, bonuses can help you build your bankroll faster to move up to higher limits.
The second pitfall attached to many poker room bonuses is that you can clear the bonus faster at higher limit tables. Many players make the mistake of playing above their comfort zone in order to clear bonuses, and end up losing a large chunk of their bankroll instead of building it. Never move up in limits to clear a bonus.
Always remember that a poker bonus is just a marketing mechanism used by the poker room to either get you to start playing, or keep you playing at that room. Every poker network needs a critical mass of players to offer enough variety to be profitable, and bonuses are one of the best ways for them to accomplish this.
Although it may seem that I am painting a negative picture of poker room bonuses, I have cleared many and still play for bonuses occasionally. While I was learning many of the ins and outs of poker and refining my game, bonuses kept my bankroll alive many times. The most important thing is to never allow a bonus to change the way you play.