Poker may be played online for fun or for real money.  When playing for real money, a poker player must first make a deposit using an acceptable method by which to fund his poker account.  Most online poker rooms accept MasterCard, Visa, or a money transfer from your personal bank account for funding your real money poker account.  Some poker rooms accept funds popular e-wallet accounts such as NETeller, Click2Pay, or MoneyBookers.  When making a first time deposit at an online poker room, it is standard that the poker room offers you a bonus on your initial deposit.

Poker rooms typically credit depositing players with a first time deposit bonus.  The bonus is typically stated in terms of a percentage of the funds you load into your poker account.  Additionally, this deposit bonus is usually capped.  For example, PokerStars is currently offering a first time deposit bonus of 100% up to a maximum of $600.  This means that PokerStars will match your initial deposit totally, up to $600.

It should be noted that this deposit bonus does not come without conditions.  In fact, the bonus is credited to your account and must be cleared, or worked off.  As a poker player plays through his bonus, money is released into your real money account.  When the bonus credit hits your account, you have total access to the funds, whereas you have not yet earned the right to access the money prior to working through it.

To work or play through your poker deposit bonus credits, you must play at the poker room.  In the case of the PokerStars bonus, you must earn what is known as VPP’s.  You will earn these VPP’s by playing the cash games and entering poker tournaments on the PokerStars platform.  For every 170 VPP’s you accumulate, $10 in bonus money is released into your account real money account.

For playing cash games, you earn VPP’s by receiving cards in the ring game.  Each time you receive cards and rake is collected above $.40, every player who has received cards will earn one VPP.  In the event the rake reaches $3, which is the cap for most ring game poker tables, you will earn a second VPP.  When your total reaches 170 VPP, $10 is automatically released to your player account from the pending bonus account.

Tournament players may also accumulate VPP’s at PokerStars.  In fact, for every $1 in tournament fees you pay, PokerStars awards you five VPP.  This means that you can play poker tournaments while working towards your bonus requirements.

Keep in mind, most first time deposit bonuses do not last forever.  Deposit bonuses have a timeframe in which they can be claimed.  In the case of PokerStars, the first time deposit bonus expires 180 days from the date of first deposit.  This means players have six months from the date of deposit to play through their entire bonus.  Don’t worry though; any bonus you have cleared is yours to keep.  However, any bonus left outstanding after 180 days is forfeited.

Deposit bonuses are a great way to increase your bankroll.  By taking advantage of first time deposit bonuses, a poker player can do more to increase profits at the poker player beyond the results from normal poker play.