Pennsylvania has become a popular hub for online poker. The state has seen millions in gross revenue from online poker since it became available in 2019. Additionally, the state has also seen a steady increase in player participation.
Best Online Poker Bonuses In Pennsylvania
This is due, in no small part, to not only the exciting gameplay of online poker, but also the fantastic bonuses available to new players.
Is Online Poker Legal in Pennsylvania?
While online poker is legal in Pennsylvania, it took them a bit longer than some may have liked. Prior to the online gaming boom after PASPA was overturned in May 2018, Pennsylvania flirted with the idea of online poker dating back to 2017 and perhaps even prior.
Nonetheless, Governor Tom Wolf signed the online poker bill into law in 2018. From here, it did take some time for the market to gain some steam.
PokerStars was the very first online poker site to launch in the state, and that came in November 2019.
From there, three additional sites popped up, bringing the total to four online poker sites available in Pennsylvania. Although Pennsylvania took some time, at least they’re one of the few states that can say online poker is legal.
One thing players are hoping will change here in the near future is the ability to pool players. New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware are currently part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, which allows for these states to pool their players together and create a larger base of players, but Pennsylvania is not currently part of that.
Even without that, though, Pennsylvania still brings in plenty of players as it ranks inside the top five in terms of population by state, with close to 13 million residents.
With these sites, this entire player base has access to a welcome bonus simply for being a new player. Here, we will go over those bonuses in great detail.
Purpose of an Online Poker Bonus
Online poker is a business, and although there are only four sites, this is still fierce competition. Part of the competition is capturing market share. The more market share a company has, the more money it will make overall.
While this may not be important to you, the important part for you comes in the ways in which these sites aim to gain you as a player to contribute to their market share.
The leading way online poker sites do this is through welcome bonuses.
These bonuses are often quite lucrative and aim to boost your online bankroll in some way, shape, or form so that you will continue to play with them and hopefully them exclusively.
There are many ways online poker sites aim to continue keeping you coming back through additional bonuses and promos, and even rewards programs.
These programs are not available everywhere, but the welcome bonus is oftentimes linked to them to create somewhat of a feedback loop, so you’ll continue to see value even after the welcome bonus period expires. With a lot of welcome bonuses, you’ll often find there are time limits and some often being around 90 days.
This 90-day period is equal to about three months which is also a quarter of a year for a company’s financials. If they can keep you as a player for 90 days, this will reflect their quarterly reports, which will enhance their business proceedings, such as shareholder value. In essence, the site is looking to capitalize from a business perspective. But with that, you are the one truly gaining something.
Online Poker Bonuses in Pennsylvania
Many of the U.S.’s top online poker providers are currently operating in the state of Pennsylvania. Not only does this give users plenty of playing options, but it also provides plenty of bonuses that users can take advantage of. Let’s take a closer look below.
PokerStars may not have the most lucrative offer in terms of overall monetary value, but it is straightforward and easy to understand. This is an excellent offer for casual players.
- You will receive $50 in Free Play simply for creating an account.
- To retrieve this $50 in Free Play, you must deposit a minimum of $10.
- The bonus is paid in tournament tickets that expire within 7 days of receiving them.
BetMGM offers players a deposit bonus up to $600 and is matched at a 100 percent rate. In addition, you will also receive $25 “on the house”. Let’s first look at the deposit match.
Your account will be credited with the match right after a deposit is made. However, you will earn the deposit match bonus credits in 10 percent increments, and you must earn 15x the deposit amount increment in iRPs.
iRPs are the site’s rewards points. You will earn these by playing cash games and tournaments. For every $1 rake in cash games and every $1 fee for tournaments, you will earn roughly 5.56 iRPs.
For example, if you deposit $200 and receive a $200 bonus, you will receive the bonus in $20 increments. From here, you will need to earn 300 iRPs in order to release the $20 as your own withdrawal cash.
The $25 you receive comes in the form of a $15 in Tournament Dollars for Sit N’ Go’s and multi-table tournaments, as well as $10 for cash games.
World Series of Poker (WSOP) comes with three layers of a welcome bonus.
- $50 Free Play: You will earn this after making your first deposit.
- 100 Percent Deposit Bonus up to $1,000: You will earn this in 10 percent increments after meeting the APPs threshold. An example of how to get APPs is you will receive two per $1 paid in tournament fees.
- Freerolls: After making a deposit of at least $10, you will receive seven $100 tickets to freeroll contests that are exclusive to new players only.
As a company that is closely tied to BetMGM, Borgata offers the same exact welcome offer that BetMGM does, including all of the wagering requirements and iRP conditions.
Types of Online Poker Bonuses
Throughout online poker sites, you will find that each site offers a different type of welcome bonus. In a state like Pennsylvania, with four different places to play, this opens up four avenues for welcome bonuses to take advantage of.
There are numerous different types of offers. Each offer always has a way for it to be a positive for you, but of course, the terms and conditions are always something to consider. Below are the offers you will find at these online poker sites.
No Deposit Signup Bonus
No-deposit signup poker bonuses don’t often come with the largest monetary amount, but they’re easy to obtain.
These amounts are usually in the $25 range but can be higher or lower, of course. You will earn these by just creating an account at the online poker site.
Deposit matches often involve needing to obtain the online poker sites’ rewards points.
Right now, deposit matches almost always come at a 100 percent rate but fluctuate in terms of the overall amount.
From here, you will receive the bonus in increments as you earn the rewards points for the online poker site.
These will also include a time limit to complete. If you meet the requirements in time, the bonus you receive will be available to you as cash you can withdraw.
Tournament tickets allow entry into either a particular tournament or a tournament that has a fee equal to the amount of the ticket. In some cases, you will also get tickets for freeroll games.
These give you a seat at the table to hopefully earn the top prize.
Loyalty or Rewards Programs
With rewards points being so closely correlated to deposit match offers, players will aim to meet the wagering requirements of the offer, thus earning rewards points.
Beyond the deposit match bonus, though, you will receive points simply for playing on the site.
Not all online poker sites offer these programs, but when they do, they’re typically in the form of tiers where you will receive new and exciting perks with each tier you reach.
While it is not that common in this day and age, the term and concept of “rakeback” first became popular in 2004, which was well before online poker was legalized.
In a way, this was like a rewards program for players.
Basically, rakeback gave players back a percentage of the rake—or the commission earned by whoever was hosting the game—enticing them to come back and play again with the hopes of receiving more and more rakeback, thus earning more money.
Building an Online Poker Bankroll
Building and maintaining an online poker bankroll is an important aspect for not only playing but increasing your chances of making money.
A common rule of thumb is to have a bankroll that is equal to about 20 buy-ins for whatever games you typically enjoy playing.
With that, even if you lose, make sure to make your playstyle malleable in that you will be willing to reduce your buy-in prices if you have a tough day of playing.
By following this method, you’ll be able to play longer and spread the money out to a point where you should have a good chance at slowly building up a bankroll without needing to continuously contribute to it out of pocket.
Cash games also allow you to see how well you’re doing in a way that is much easier than other types of games.
Online Poker Bonus Strategy
When you first get your bonus, especially a deposit bonus, you’ll see your bankroll increase, and this may tempt you to get in on some games that may be a bit outside of either your beginner status or on the “high roller” end of things.
The best way to approach utilizing your online poker bonus is to play cash games, such as 6-Max.
Where Pennsylvania doesn’t pool players, the population of players is still great, but it doesn’t have three states’ worth of players. 6-Max games are quite popular. The “6” in 6-Max indicates the number of players at the table.
As mentioned with cash games, this provides the easiest lens into how you’re performing in that you will go into these games with a certain amount of money and/or bonus cash, and if it goes up, you’re winning, and if it goes down, you’re losing.
With this added bankroll, though, trying out a multi-table tournament could be exciting in that these normally come with the higher payouts but do require some luck.
If you still want that tournament feel, but something that is a bit easier and doesn’t take up too much time, Sit N Go’s are usually fast and still have that tournament feel with the hopes of placing inside the top-three.
At the end of the day, this is for entertainment, so feel free to partake in the tournaments. 6-Max cash games will be the easiest to keep track of not only your wins and losses but also where you’re at with wagering requirements. If you are also interested in playing casino games, you should visit our Pennsylvania online casinos page for more information.
Cashing Out a Poker Bonus
Without meeting wagering requirements, you’ll never be able to cash these out. With online poker sites, you need to reach a certain number of points more often than not to cash out, so keeping track of the conversion rate from dollars to points is important, as well as maintaining your bankroll to hopefully stretch it out enough to reach the threshold will be vital.
With needing to wager cash, you’ll need to fund your account.
Here are some banking methods you can expect to see at online poker rooms in Pennsylvania:
- ACH Transfer: This transfers funds directly from your bank account to your online poker room account after linking your bank account.
- PayNearMe: This is an in-person cash transaction done at retailers such as 7-Eleven and CVS.
- Discover Card
- Online Banking