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How to Cash Out Your Poker Bonuses

Online poker sites offer all kinds of tempting bonuses to get you to play texas holdem on their sites, or other forms of poker for that matter. An online poker bonus is the virtual equivalent of the casino comp. It is extra money offered to you, the player, for choosing that site over another Internet poker site. Of course, collecting a bonus gives the site in question no rights to exclusivity about your play, but most sites are willing to take the chance that once you start playing on their site, you'll stay there.

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If you're collecting your first sign-up bonus, you may be surprised when you sit down at your computer and log in only to find that your $150 match sign-up bonus is not available to you for play. Don't worry. Just because the money is not part of your regular online bankroll doesn't mean it's not in the system. To get your bonus, you have to clear it. And this can give you a sizable addition to your bankroll. Maybe you know the texas holdem rules and have adapted a poker strategy that already makes you a winning player. If that's the case, a bonus becomes some extra money in your pocket.

Clear a bonus

Clearing a bonus means playing a certain amount of time on the site before they release the bonus into your account. This is to avoid players getting the sign up bonus and immediately withdrawing the sign-up money without ever playing, using that extra money for their own purposes or to play on another site. The clearing requirement assures that the online site offering the bonus will get their money's worth.

You clear your bonus by playing a certain number of raked hands. The number of raked hands is usually determined by the size of your online poker bonus. For example, if you have $150 in bonus money coming to you, you may have to play 150 raked hands to clear it. You do not have to see a hand until the river for it to count. As long as you are dealt in and there is a flop, it's a hand toward clearing your bonus.

At one time, you could not work towards clearing your bonus through tournament play. However, some sites, looking to draw business, have done away with this restriction, allowing players to work towards clearing their bonus in tournament play the same way they generate player points (player points are part of loyalty programs that nearly every site has, where continued play generates points that can be used for bonuses like free merchandise and exclusive tournament entries).

Cash out a bonus

Once your bonus is cleared, you can use it for whatever you want, whether that means continuing to play with the money on your site, or withdrawing it for your own personal use. If you want to know how close you are to clearing a bonus, you can usually find a link from the online poker site menu directing you to account information that will show you how many raked hands you have played towards your bonus and how many you have to go.