Building a Poker Bankroll with Bonuses – $200 to $10,000 in 3 Steps

Building MoneyIn this article we going to take a look at how you can build a bankroll by taking advantage of the free money bonus offers that online poker sites offer to win / retain your custom.

We are going to show you a proven 3 Step method to increase your bankroll from $200 to $10,000 in just 3 months!

We don’t recommend that you do this to the extreme by having accounts at 10+ online poker sites and only playing for the sole purpose of clearing the bonus offered by the operator and then moving on to another site.

This is known in the industry as “Bonus Whoring” and is not looked upon favourably by the site operators.

The reason we don’t recommend doing this is that you will miss out on other benefits of being a loyal player at a site such as player rewards and also an operator will target loyal players and provide them with individual special offers and rewards. Also you may be losing the edge or advantage you get playing a particular type of poker game at one site by playing at another site just to clear the bonus.

Having said that it is quite normal for an online poker player to have accounts at a few different sites, as they may play multiple games where one is better on one site and another on a different site, also they may want access to big tournament events that may be held on different sites.

So in this article we are going to look at opening new accounts at 3 operators and look at how to maximise the bonus you receive from doing so. After this is done you then have accounts on 3 reputable sites where you can play on an ongoing basis and a good bankroll in which to play with.

Stakes to Build a Bankroll

In order to make a reasonable amount of money playing online poker, you need to play at least medium stakes.

Although you can win a lot of pots at the micro-limits, the $0.01-$0.02 and $0.02-$0.05 games, even the best players can’t win more than a dollar or two per hour per table playing that low, the pots simply are not big enough.

If you want to win a lot of money playing poker, you want to build your bankroll up so that it is big enough for you to play in $1-$2 No Limit Holdem poker games, or at least $0.50 – $1 games.

Unfortunately in order to play at those levels and keep the up and down swings from breaking your bankroll, you need a fair amount of money.

A general rule of thumb is that you should have 20 times the buy in for whatever level you are playing to mitigate possible variance in your results. Since it is always recommend to buy in to a table for the maximum, which is generally 100 times the big blind, that means to play the $0.50-$1 games, you should have at least $2,000 available for poker. To play the $1-$2 games you need at least $4,000 in your poker bankroll.

Many people, especially if you are just starting the game, simply don’t have that much money to invest in poker. They might have a couple hundred dollars, but not thousands of dollars.

Fortunately there is a structured way that we are going to show you to quickly build your poker bankroll using bonuses that online poker sites offer as an incentive for you to play with them.

Detailed below is an proven 3 step method that will show you how you can build your bankroll from $200, which is enough to play in the low stakes $0.05-$0.10 games up to $10,000 which is enough to play in medium to higher stakes games all in the short space of 3 months. That bankroll will then give you the base to continue to earn good profits from Online Poker.

Although you will need to be a winning player in order to do this, taking advantage of this method will drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to grow your bankroll at the lower stakes.

Step 1 – 400% profit from $200 to $800 at 888 Poker

To start, you should register a new account and deposit your $200 at 888 Poker. Make sure that you use that link and you will get a big bonus of 100% up to $400 and also a welcome package of £12 or $18 free.

888 will therefore match your deposit and give you $200 bonus to take your total bankroll to $400. As with most deposit bonus offers you will have to “clear the bonus”.

Clear a Poker Bonus

Most poker bonuses won’t be added to your bankroll immediately. You have to clear the bonus for it to be paid into your account.

Fortunately, you can clear the bonus by doing the exact same thing you were going to do anyway, by playing poker. This means that the bonus will be credited to your account in instalments as you play poker and earn a certain number of player points.

This is to protect the operator from people just depositing, getting the bonus, and cashing out again, without actually experiencing what the poker site has to offer, which is the reason they offer the bonus in the first place to get you to try their site out.

At 888 Poker your bonus will be released to you in instalments of $10 every time you accumulate 100 Bonus Points. You earn Bonus Points by playing any type of game on 888 not just cash games, but also via tournament buy-ins, or even at the casino tables and games!

There will always be a bonus meter above your table while you play so you can see how many BPs you have accumulated and how close you are to your next bonus instalment release.

You will earn 2 Bonus Points for every $1.00 in rake you contribute. Rake is the fee that is collected from the pot by the poker room and is usually a few % and will be displayed on the table. You can work out how much of that rake is attributable to you by seeing how much you put into the pot compared to everybody else.

You don’t need to worry too much about it, 888 will take care of all the calculations and automatically award you an instalment when you are due it. Your goal now is just to play poker.

With between $200 and $400 in your bankroll then you should be playing at either the $0.05-$0.10 tables or the $0.10-$0.20 tables as you get closer to the $400 end of that range.

Find a suitable table and sit down and start playing. Not only will you start to clear your bonus but as a winning poker player you can expect to earn money from your actual play as well. So while we are clearing the bonus we also want to aim to double our bankroll from playing by earning a further $400.

At low limits, a very achievable win rate for a good poker player is 5 to 7 big blinds per 100 hands. Many winning players can win more than this, in the order of 10-15 big blinds per 100 hands while multi-tabling 4-10 tables. Although a 10-15 big blind / 100 hands is not achievable at larger limits, it is at these small limits.

You may have heard the expression that a good poker player tries to win one big bet per hour. That rule of thumb is generally applied to live poker games, where they usually deal around 20 hands per hour. Online poker games deal many more hands per hour, and since so many players multi-table, win rates are usually expressed in big bets (sometimes big blinds) per 100 hands. Thus 1 Big Bet in live games = 2 big blinds / 20 hands. That is equivalent to 10 big blinds / 100 hands, which is what the best players can make at the small limits.

If your starting bankroll including the 888 Poker bonus is $400, and you aim to win another $400, that is achievable in the course of a month at these limits.

You should play at $0.05-$0.10 and move up to $0.10-$0.20 as soon as your bankroll permits. Make sure that you practice good starting hand selection and understand how to play position. Avoid overplaying your good but not great hands such as top pair, and maximize your opportunities whenever you have a really big hand.

Those traits can be enough to allow you to win 5 to 7 big blinds per 100 hands, which means you will win $1.40 for every 100 hands you play. Since you are playing tight poker, and avoiding situations which would make you make tough decisions after the flop, you should be able to play 4 tables at the same time.

Each full ring table sees 70 hands per hour (average). Thus with 4 tables you see 280 hands per hour, win $1.40 per 100 hands, and so win approximately $4 per hour. It takes you $400 / $4 = 100 hours of play, which is approximately 3 hours a day for a month, until you have reached your goal and won $400.

You should have easily cleared your deposit bonus by this time also. Congratulations step 1 is complete and you have turned your initial starting deposit of $200 into a bankroll of $800 in about a month – that’s a 400% profit!

But were not finished there, its now time to move onto a new site with a new deposit bonus and higher stakes.

Step 2 – More than Double you bankroll from $800 – $2,000 at Pokerstars

Pokerstars offers a 100% deposit bonus up to $600. You are now going to open an new account over at Pokerstars (again using this link to ensure you get the full bonus) and deposit our entire bankroll of $800 into our new account When making the deposit enter the bonus code STARS600.

You will earn the maximum bonus of $600 by doing this, increasing your bankroll up to $1,400 but again there will be a play through requirement to clear the bonus. Pokerstars will release your bonus to your bankroll in $10 instalments each time you earn 17 player points (called VPPs on Pokerstars) and you will earn 5.5 VPPs for each $1 in rake contributed.

Your bankroll is now large enough to play at the $0.25-$0.50 No Limit Texas Holdem games.

Since you just moved up in the limits the play is going to be slightly harder than at the lower stakes. You will find less people playing poor cards, less people willing to call your large bets with the second best hand, and more players playing tight aggressive poker.

However, the poker game is still very easily beatable at the $0.25-$0.50 level and if you play solid poker you can continue to keep winning money. For a short period of time your win rate will slightly decrease, but as you get the hang of the new stake level and your poker skills improve, you can soon get back up to 5 to 7 big blinds per 100 hands.

During this step we are going to aim to win $800 while playing at the $0.25-$0.50 stake level tables.

Lets assume that an average pot at the $0.25-$0.50 level tables is $5.00 (10 times the big blind). Pokerstars will take a rake (fee) of approximately 3% of that or $0.15. Assuming that you contribute approximately 50% to that you would earn 41 VPPs per 100 hands (100 x $0.15 x 5.5 VPPs x 50%) which is almost equivalent to $2.50 per 100 hands.

Since without the bonus your hourly rate would only be something like 5 big blinds / 100 hands, or $2.50 per 100 hands, the bonus is almost netting you an extra 100% over the money you would expect to win anyway.

To clear our $600 bonus will require 10,200 points (600 x 17 VPPs). At a rate of 41 VPPs per 100 hands then it is going to take approximately 25,000 hands to clear the full bonus.

Over the 25,000 hands you have been winning 7 big blinds ($3.50) per 100 hands, so you should easily have won another $800 by your poker play

Four tabling can clear 280 hands per hour, so it takes 89 hours to clear the entire bonus. You can clear it over the course of one month playing a little under 3 hours a day.

By the time you finish at Pokerstars you have $2,200 ($800 you started with + $600 bonus + $800 won at the tables). Congratulations that’s another massive profit of 275%.

It is now time to move up in the limits and change sites again in order to get more bonus money.

Step 3 – Time to take advantage of the biggest online bonus at Carbon Poker (200% up to $5,000)

This is the biggest bonus we have ever seen offered by an online poker site, and the really exciting news is that it is from a reputable operator that our Poker Finder tool quite often recommends.

Carbon Poker offers a deposit bonus of 200% up to $5,000. So that means if we deposit our total bankroll of $2,200 then Carbon are going to award us a free money bonus of $4,400 increasing our bankroll to $6,600!

Use this link to Carbon Poker to ensure you get this bonus offer and enter the bonus code CARBONPK when you make the deposit.

The bonus is released in $5 instalments each time you earn 750 VIP points. You will earn 150 VIP points for every $1 in rake.

With a $2,200 bankroll, plus your bonuses as they clear, you have enough money to play $0.50-$1 stakes. As your bankroll grows you should continue to move up the stakes using the bankroll management rule of 20 buy ins eg: $2,200 bankroll divided by 20 = $110 buy in = approximately a 100 big blind buy in at $0.50-$1 stakes.

As play is going to be a bit tougher at these stake levels lets lower our aim to 5 big blinds per 100 hands. If we continue to multi-table 4 tables at a time then our hourly profit rate will be approximately the following.

  • $0.50/$1.00 stakes x 4 tables = $14 per hour
  • $1.00/$2.00 stakes x 4 tables = $28 per hour
  • $2.00/$4.00 stakes x 4 tables = $56 per hour
  • $3.00/$6.00 stakes x 4 tables = $84 per hour

When you start to play at $0.50-$1, it is a good time to invest in some tools to help you improve your game. One of the best poker tools is Poker Tracker. It will make a database of every hand you play and quickly show you which hands and which positions you are misplaying. Using Poker Tracker to tighten your game and plug leaks can drastically increase the amount of money you win.

The bonus you have been given of $4,400 is a large bonus and will take some time to clear. Exactly how long will depend on how quickly you move up the stakes as obviously at the higher stakes you will earn more player points per hand and clear the bonus quicker as well as earning a higher rate per hour from your play.

You should easily be able to earn $3,300+ in the time it takes you to clear the bonus, probably a significantly higher amount, but lets be cautious and aim for $3,300 which is the amount we need to get to a total bankroll of $10,000.


Congratulations you have achieved the goal of building a bankroll of $10,000 in a relatively short space of time.

If you have got this far and are able to achieve that kind of poker success then you are well on your way to making a lot of money playing poker.

After you have built your bankroll up to $10,000 the poker bonuses won’t be as important to you. More important is choosing the right site and right table which allows you to maximize your winnings.

Fortunately by moving your money around as you were building your bankroll, you were able to experience some of the top poker sites out there, and now have a pool of 3 great poker sites to choose which one suits you best and offers the best profit for the stake levels and type of poker you are playing.

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