Best Online Poker Bonuses for January 2019
Online poker bonuses change fast! Before you know it your bonus code gets you nowhere, or worse still, you find you have missed out on the latest offer or extra!
This page will put things right throughout the year. Each month I will speak with the biggest poker rooms and collect updated deals, signup codes and extras – at the moment you will find the best bonus deals for January 2019 below.
In addition to the bonus info, you will find a note on how soft the games are at each site. After all, a great bonus would be difficult to clear if the games are full of pro-grinders. You'll find a 'fish rating' (which ties in with my Fish-O-Meter widget) for each of the rooms, along with a quick explainer of how I came to that number.
Outside of my featured listing in the table above there are many other poker sites which you might be interested in checking out. These include giants like PokerStars, plus interesting smaller sites like Unibet. Here are details on the best deals, plus what to expect from each site. I have started with the international sites, scroll down if you are looking for the US ones.
Party Poker Bonus Info - January 2019
I'm giving Party a solid 8.5 / 10 for soft games in 2019
There are several reasons for this. First, their advertising and big brand make this site the first stop for people new to online poker. You'll find a lot of new players there without the skills needed (yet!) to beat the games - meaning more profits for you. Second, the promotions and games encourage 'fun' play. Think missions, and innovative ideas like 'SNG Hero' and the progressive knockout tournaments. I recommend comparing the games at Party side-by-side with your current site. The difference is visible!
Welcome Bonus Info: Party will give you $22 in tournament tokens, plus some new player missions which are easy ways to earn more tournament entries on your first deposit. Topping all of this is the new cashback system. This gives you between 20% and 40% returns on the fees / rake you pay every Monday. This is automatic, though you will need to opt in via the cashier.
I'm sure alert readers will already have figured that Monday is a great time to hit the tables. This is when all the broke fish get some money back and appear again!
Party run some excellent events with the 'PowerFest' the biggest of all. You can also qualify for the Party Millions live events at this site.
Bonus Summary: $22 in tokens + up to 40% cashback.
Link / Bonus Code: Use code SNGPLANET at www.partypoker.com
Fish Rating: 8.5 / 10 - super soft games with more 'fun' players than at any other site.
888 Poker Bonus Info - January 2019
This site have grown significantly over the past couple of years. They are the only 'major' to give you access to the real money games with no deposit needed. The amount depends on your location. Some countries get $88 upfront (no deposit or credit card info needed), while the UK gets £10. Some Eastern Euro countries get smaller amounts. This is strictly one per household. You start off with a handful of tokens and cash game entries, and then need to collect points to keep earning more. If you enjoy the games then you can claim a 100% matched deposit method up to $400 at any time.
While most of the games are soft, there are some games which do suffer from too many (particularly Eastern Euro / Russian) small stakes pros. Pot Limit Omaha seems to have the same faces every week! If you enjoy Sit N Goes, Tournaments or the fun games like Blast! or SNAP poker, then you'll find plenty of fish. I rate 888 as a decent 7 / 10 for softness (as long as you avoid the PLO!).
As well as the fun games, there are lots of promos. You can spin a wheel once a day to win tournament entries and bonuses, and challenges pop up when you log on. Examples are 'cash in 5 Blast! SNGs' or 'play 20 hands of SNAP poker'. You will collect points which can be swapped for bonuses and tournament entries, I found these accumulate quickly. Tourney fans will find plenty of 'fish' themed games, and events such as the 'Super XL Series.
Bonus Summary: $88 free (no deposit £20 UK), then a 100% match to deposit bonus at any time,
Link / Bonus Code: No code needed, use this link: www.888poker.com
Fish Rating: 7 / 10 - soft games are easy to find, just avoid the games infested with Eastern Euro grinders.
PokerStars January 2019:
PokerStars are the biggest site by a long way. The huge number of games means that just about every 'small stakes pro' heads there in order to play multiple games at once. This makes the tables (relatively) tougher than at the other large sites. You can still find soft games. To do this you need to be proactive with tagging 'regulars' and avoiding tables with too many of them playing. Overall, I would rate this site as a 5 / 10 for fishiness (tournaments are softer, with a 6 / 10 here)
Before I link out to the specific promotions, here is how you can split your welcome bonus over up to 3 ‘first’ deposits (or just claim the $20 instantly if you prefer).
First Step: Register your account, choosing Affiliate Marketing Code from the drop down menu, and then using code PSP3108 in the new box which appears.
Second Step: When you deposit you can use one of these bonus codes this January:
- STARS600 – this is good for up to 3 deposits for a total of up to $600 which will be matched at 100%
- FREE20 – You’ll get $20 to use right away at the tables (though points collection is required before you can withdraw it!). Minimum deposit = $20 for this offer.
- THIRTY - This is the newest code, it will get you $30 worth of tokens including Spin N Go tickets, tournament entries and cash game buy-ins ($20 min deposit once again)
To claim this top rated offer and see that huge list of promotions and special offers, visit www.pokerstars.com now!
What appeals with Stars is not only the volume of games, but the variety. Their huge size means that some poker variants which would not have enough players at other sites are busy here. This includes Omaha variants, stud, draw and exotic games like 8-game mix and Badugi. The tournaments are huge, often involving thousands of players (and the resulting big prize pools). Each week the 'Sunday Million' crowns a new champion, with the prize pool always beating the $1 million guarantee. While the top tiers of the loyalty scheme have gone, smaller stakes players will get a lot of benefits from climbing the lower levels - with weekly and monthly freerolls offering huge prize pools.
Bonus Summary: 100% Match to $600, which can be taken in up to 3 parts. Alternatively get an instant $20, or $30 in tokens.
Link / Bonus Code: Use STARS600, FREE20 or THIRTY at www.pokerstars.com
Fish Rating: 5 / 10 - a lot of grinders out there, you can find soft games, though you need to search for them..
Unibet Poker Bonus January 2019
Unibet offer a unique interface for their poker games, which is very colorful and cartoon-like. You’ll find them on good form with their first bonus package of 2019 too. This includes a €200 bonus, entry to 4x €500 tournaments and a free €2 to enter the Unibet Open qualifier tournaments too.
No bonus code is needed for this offer, every new player gets the best deal automatically. Check out those soft games at www.unibet.com now!
Bonus Offers at US Poker Rooms
Bovada Poker Bonus Info
This is the biggest US poker site by far. In fact, they are one of the biggest sites worldwide, despite only accepting players from the US and some Latin American countries. Bovada run a 'recreational player model'. This is designed to keep the games soft, by discouraging multi-tabling pros. You can only play 4 cash games or SNGs at once, and will not be able to use software tools designed to assist your play. Better still, games are anonymous. Instead of a screen name, you get random numbers (tournaments) or seat numbers (cash). This prevents 3rd party paid software from identifying fish and new players and selling that information to pros. This makes a big difference, you'll immediately notice that the games have a recreational feel. I rate Bovada as 8.5 / 10 for softness.
The welcome bonus clears as you collect points, though the payments are staggered and not inform. You can get a 100% match up to $500, and will get the first installment after earning just 15 points. There is a loyalty scheme, regular promos and extra bonuses for players that deposit using cryptocurrencies.
Games include 'Zone Poker', a fast-fold variation. There are plenty of cash games, SNGs, tournaments and qualifiers. These are focused on NL Holdem almost exclusively, with just a little PLO on top. Bovada is the best mobile poker site for US players (Zone us great on the go!).
Bonus Summary: 100% Match to $500, easy to clear, with your first installment needing just 15 points.
Link / Bonus Code: No code needed, use this linkL www.bovada.lv
Fish Rating: 8.5 / 10 - anonymous games make this the softest US site (as well as the biggest).
BetOnline Poker Bonus Info
This site is best known for sports betting. This is a big plus. Many of your opponents in the poker room will start off with some bets, then come over to try their hand at poker. While some have live experience, the higher level of play online is generally no match for them - keeping the games soft. There are som
e skilled players, though in my experience there are always a small number of loose / maniac style newbies around. I give BetOnline a solid 7 / 10 for fishiness.
Unusually, you need to send an email to get the welcome bonus. This is a 100% match up to $1000, and is released in handy $10 increments. After you deposit, you need to send a mail with the subject 'NEWBOL' to email@example.com, along with your player name. This is easy enough, though if you forget, your play will not count towards the bonus.
There are some entertaining games to try on this Chico Network site. Windfall Poker is a lottery SNG variant, where you can win up to 2000x your buy-in (assigned randomly). The focus here is very much NL Holdem, with a lot of cash games running. You'll also find a bad beat jackpot, and a growing tournament schedule.
Bonus Summary: 100% Match to $1000
Link / Bonus Code: Send an email with the title NEWBOL after depositing to firstname.lastname@example.org - use this link: www.betonline.ag
Fish Rating: 7 / 10 - sports betting traffic means you'll often find 'maniacs' out of their depth at the tables.
America's Cardroom Bonus Info
This site is part of the 'Winning Poker Network'. There are incentives for recreational players, as well as bonuses for grinders. ACR have taken the lead when it comes to poker tournaments. Not only will you find a packed regular schedule, there are also big games - right up to $1 million guaranteed events. No other US site has guarantees this big. You will also find lottery SNGs (called 'Jackpots'), and a new variation called 'SNG 2.0'.
There are progressive leaderboards for both cash games and single table tournaments. These are a mixed blessing. The prize pools grow depending on how many people participate, and the number of games they play. This is extra cash, though it does encourage winning players to play a ton of games. In turn, that makes the games a little more 'reg heavy' compared to the other US sites. There are plenty of fish and newbies, just not as many as you'll find at Bovada! I have given America's Cardroom 6 / 10 for softness based on this.
New players get a boost with 20 days of cash, in addition to a 100% match up to $1000. You'll need to log on to your account and go to the 'Special Offers' area each day. You can pick a card, which gives you between $2 and $6 extra (up to $50 max). If you deposit with cryptocurrency, your bonus is doubled to 200%.
Bonus Summary: 100% Match to $1000 + 20 days of cash up to $50 extra + Sit N Crush / The Cage progressive leaderboards
Link / Bonus Code: No code is needed, use this link: www.americascardroom.com
Fish Rating: 6 / 10 - plenty of soft tournaments, be careful with the tables associated with the leaderboards.
January 2019 is Important – Though it Pays to Think Much Longer Term!
For as long as I have been running this site (more than 9 years!), I have been advising readers that the welcome bonuses are only a small part of the picture when it comes to getting the best deals from the poker sites.
Sure, choosing a good one is important.
What you will find is that after 60 or so days, your welcome bonus is completed. If you enjoy a site then you might well be playing there for one or more years.
This makes the ongoing rewards and promotions for existing players more important than the welcome bonuses in the long run. What you’ll find is that the biggest and most successful sites know this (this is the reason why they are so successful in many cases!). These are the sites which offer points schemes, missions, free tournament entries and other give-away promos. Many of them also offer cross-over bonuses for other gambling types within their brand.
Mistakes to Avoid when Choosing and Clearing Your Poker Bonus
Though on the surface many poker bonuses look the same, there are some big differences between them when it comes to the small print. Here are some questions to answer before you commit to a particular poker bonus:
#1 How Long Does It Last?
Some bonuses expire after 30 days, while others give you 60, 90 or even more days to complete the points requirement / play through. If you are playing at small stakes, it can sometimes be hard to make sure you have enough time to clear your bonus. In these cases, look for offers which give you a chunk of cash right away instead.
#2 Increments, or Lump Sum?
Some bonuses will clear in set amounts, for example $10 or $20 at a time. While others require you to collect enough points to clear the full amount of your deposit in one go. If you are new to the game, then I recommend incremental bonuses… these make sure you’ll get some benefit, even if you are unable to clear the whole amount.
#3 Extras: Tournament Entries and Loyalty Schemes
Most bonuses come with entry into tournaments – though the value of these can vary a lot. On some of the bigger sites, for example PokerStars, you’ll be fighting with 1000’s of other players – with the prize pool spread so thin that the winner barely gets into 3 figures on some occasions. Bigger monthly events are worth looking out for. Mid-sizes sites which have $5k or $10k tournaments for new depositors hit the sweet spot for me. Loyalty schemes are also important. It pays to find one which fits with your own poker goals. For example, if you only play occasionally there is little point joining a ‘top-heavy’ rewards system that pays money to multi-tabling grinders. 888 Poker has an excellent new player focused rewards systems.
Recap – Picks for the Best Poker Bonuses for January 2019
Here is the table with my international site picks for this month. Remember to bookmark this page and come back next month for a refreshed list of the best poker bonus deals.