With so many online poker rooms to choose from bonus offers are a common way for those rooms to attract new players. Sign up bonuses of $100, $500 or even $1000 are common. Some players take advantage of the number of bonuses on offer by moving from poker-room to poker-room clearing bonuses for profit. These players are known as "Bonus Whores". This article looks at how a typical bonus whore would operate and play and will then discuss the effect of these players on online poker.

Bonus Whores need to be organized, the key to this strategy is the ability to get money quickly and easily into and out of poker rooms as bonuses appear. In some countries this can still be done with bank cards – while in others an electronic wallet account needs to be set up in advance.

The playing style of a bonus whore is usually very tight. The objective of these players is to fulfill the sign-up bonus requirements with the minimum risk to their bankrolls. This usually involves collecting "points" from the poker site, which is usually achieved by playing only strong starting hands in full-ring games. Bonus whores often buy-in for the minimum on any particular table to cut the risk of a big loss if, for example, they suffer a bad beat. You might also find these players at several tables at the same time – clearing the bonus faster.

Once a bonus whore has met the requirement to get a bonus they will move on to the next site. Leaving the original account dormant will sometimes result in the poker-room offering additional bonus incentives to return. At this point the bonus whore will go back – clear the latest offer – then disappear once again.

To consider the effect of bonus whores on online poker we need to consider how many players operate in this way. If all players were true bonus whores there would no longer be any "action" at the online tables – the game would disappear, not because of the bonus money but because everyone would be playing as a "rock" leaving little room for poker.

Fortunately the number of true bonus whores is a very small proportion of online players. There are those who might switch site occasionally due to good bonus offers, and many others who might consider bonus whoring but never get organized enough to do this properly.

From the poker room"s perspective bonus whoring is not a big problem. Again only a small percentage of the players who sign-up are true bonus whores. The rooms also construct their bonus schemes in such a way as to ensure that they do not lose money while there are being cleared. The bonus whores will only get rewarded with points once the rooms have made enough profit to cover this, the effect of the bonus whore is on the other players – not the room.

To summarize, bonus whoring is only possible because the huge majority (perhaps over 99%) of players do not employ this tactic. If everyone decided to do this then the game of poker would no longer be profitable as nobody would give any action.