Signing up to an online poker room has a lot to do with the first-deposit bonus offered these days. Most "savvy" players go bonus-hunting in order to secure an edge, even though they are aware of the fact bonuses can only provide a short term aid for their bankroll.
Here's how a signup bonus works:
You download the client software from the company's site, you install it and you create an account. Next, you deposit some real money (different poker rooms feature different minimum deposits) and you get your percentage match on it. Some poker rooms offer 50%, most of them give you 100%, and a few go as far as 150%-200%. The bigger the match percentage is, the bigger the bonus you'll get, but don't let that fool you: the main thing that clues you in on the overall value of your bonus is the redemption requirement.
Once you've made your initial deposit, the bonus money is transferred into your bonus account. Some poker rooms transfer a certain % of it (like 10-25%) directly into your real money account, but most don't. Those which do give you some money upfront will limit your withdrawal options until the bonus is redeemed.
In order to have the bonus moved from your bonus account into your real money one, you need to fulfill the redemption requirements. This involves real money play, and as you generate rake at the real money cash tables, or you pay tournament fees, you slowly unlock your bonus. Most poker rooms give you FPPs (Frequent Player Points) for the rake that you generate, and they then unlock a set amount of your bonus for every such FPP that you earn.
What all this apparently complicated setup boils down to is that the bonus that you redeem is directly dependant on the rake you generate. In other words, through the bonus that you unlock, you get a certain percentage of your rake back. That's right, bonuses are a form of rakeback
, valid for a limited time only (they expire when all the bonus money is redeemed).
The ironic thing in the poker affiliate world is, that some webmasters who are so out against rakeback companies are actually offering rakeback to their players themselves.
A real rakeback deal is much more beneficial for the players than a sign-up bonus though. This is exactly why some affiliate webmasters hate rakeback: they are forced to share a bigger percentage of their revenue with their players, money which they'd much rather keep for themselves.
As a poker player though, you should never play a single hand of online poker without having signed up to a rakeback deal. It'll offer you the same advantages as bonuses over an unlimited period of time, and most poker rooms which give you rakeback do offer sign-up bonuses on top of the deal, so you don't have to trade one off for the other.
Furthermore, some rakeback deals
give you a refund on hands you do not even participate in, which leads to money you can accumulate just by being there at the table.
Sign up for a rakeback deal today, and stop wasting your money on the rake.