Poker Upfront Bonus
So you want your poker deposit bonus paid upfront, without having to play any hands? Here's our guide to poker rooms that offer just that - free cash up front, as soon as you sign up with the poker room.
The vast majority of poker rooms require you to play a certain number of hands before they will release your deposit bonus into your account. There are good reasons for this - the potential for fraud is vastly increased if you offer to pay the bonus to a player up front, after all. Many poker rooms that appear to offer "no deposit bonuses" upfront actually have a great deal of small print that prevents players ever cashing out the "bonus" that they have earned. But you can still obtain a legitimate upfront deposit bonus - if you know where in the poker universe to look.
Pacific Poker Upfront Bonus
Your first port of call should be Pacific Poker, where you can claim a massive 25% deposit bonus upfront, instantly, just by making a deposit. The money shows up in your account straight away - and there's another 75% available that is released in the normal manner as you play (so your total bonus offer is 100% up to $400, with 25% upfront). The good news doesn't end there, however - you will also be entered into a series of "first depositors freerolls", with total prize money of $4,500. And there are no strings to this - make a deposit, and you are in the freerolls, even if you never play a hand. Need even more of an incentive? Well there's now a little tournament called the $50,000 First Depositors Challenge every Friday. That's a free shot at a $50,000 prize pool, every week, just for making a deposit. It doesn't get a lot more upfront than that.
What's the catch, you're wondering. Well, only one major one - Pacific Poker does not accept players from all jurisdictions, so if you are in a prohibited jurisdiction then you are out of luck. US players, sorry, that means you. If you are allowed to sign up (and that means all UK / European players, and just about everyone else outside of the US, Turkey and Israel) then this offer is, frankly, a no-brainer for those looking for an upfront bonus. Oh, and it kinda helps that the players at Pacific are some of the weakest on the web, too...
Absolute Poker Upfront Bonus
Next best upfront poker deposit bonus? Well, Absolute Poker accept players from across the world, and 100% of the bonus there is credited to your account upfront too. At the time of writing they have just about the most generous bonus out there - 150% of whatever you deposit. That means you start playing with Absolute having tripled your stack - upfront. To actually get your hands on the cash you need to play - but not a lot (20 "status points" gets you each $1 of the bonus, and it is released in $5 increments). You don't get the stunning freerolls that Pacific offers, but depositing players do qualify for the "Steps" tournament offer which allows you to win an all expenses paid trip to Aruba worth $8,500 - for an entry fee of just 10 cents. The fact that you have to be a depositing player to enter means that the numbers entering these tournaments are far lower than in out-and-out freeroll tournaments, so if you can afford 10 cents then your chances of making the money are much better than than they would be at a standard freeroll. You also get a bad beat jackpot, loyalty reward program that effectively gives you up to 35% of your rake back, and a host of other little sweeteners. A good choice for those who don't qualify for the Pacific upfront bonus, or who have already taken advantage of that one.
PokerStars Bonus (Not Upfront)
Any other decent upfront bonus offers out there? Not many, in truth - but you can get close by signing with a poker room that makes it as easy as possible to claim their signup bonus. Pokerstars is arguably the best poker room on the planet, and have recently made their 100% bonus easier to clear by introudcing "fractional player points". This means that even if you are playing at micro-stakes you still clear the bonus (some other poker rooms don't count hands below a certain stake level when calculating the bonus pay out). You also get six months to clear the bonus - so while it may not count as an upfront offer, you are more or less guaranteed to collect your bonus dollars eventually - no matter what stakes you play at.