Which Poker Sites Give you the Best Value for a Small Deposit?
This page shows you how to make the most of a small poker deposit – and where the best chance is of turning it into a big bankroll.
Many poker sites welcome players with deposits as small as $10 and $25 for their first deposit. This is plenty enough to get a bonus, some extras like tournament entries and to start enjoying the smallest games. The lowest poker deposit will often depend on what payment method you use. It will also depend on whether you are playing at one of the offshore US poker rooms – or at a big international site.
Here are the different aspects of small deposit poker sites covered on this page:
Note that the minimum deposit and the minimum to qualify for the best welcome deal might not be the same. For example, you can deposit just $10 at PokerStars, though their best bonus offers require either a $20 or $30 deposit. That gets you tournament and cash game tokens, not just a welcome match. Make sure that you check out the small print of your chosen sites’ bonus deal before you make a mistake with this.
Some payment methods cost more to process than others. For the offshore US poker sites, handling money transfers via MoneyGram or Western Union is labour intensive – making the smallest poker deposit amount for these services much higher. Conversely, the fees for Bitcoin deposits are very low. The sites can offer a lower minimum on these.
Here are some examples of how small deposits change by method at different poker sites:
One factor to consider beside the smallest payment you can make, is how frequently you will be using your payment method. If you are looking to make a one-off deposit, for example to join colleagues in a private tournament, then the time taken to set up a wallet service might not be worthwhile.
If you are planning on regular transactions (withdrawals as well as deposits), then you should go for the cheapest and most reliable method. For US based players, this is Bitcoin – which is very easy to set up and use these days. Internationally, if you prefer not to use your credit card, then the time taken to set up an eWallet account will give you a lot of future flexibility.
There is a lot more to look out for besides a simple matched bonus deal for small deposits. Some sites offer a package of benefits. Others (for example 888 Poker) even give you free cash to try out the games before you deposit.
Here are the top things you should look out for:
As a final note on the incentives, it can often pay to look beyond the welcome offers. The best poker sites offer a range of ongoing incentives and loyalty rewards to their players at all stakes levels. If you manage to grow your bankroll with a combination of profit from the tables and rewards – you can move up the levels much faster.
Micro stakes poker games can be found in a lot of different formats. While a small minimum deposit is not enough to practice proper poker bankroll management – there are plenty of ways to build you your profits. These are cash games, tournaments, sit n goes, fast-fold poker and lottery sit n goes. Here is what to expect from each area:
Cash Games: This is the classic poker format, where you simply bet with real money. The smallest games start with 1c / 2c blinds online – which means a full stack buy-in is $2. You’ll find loose and wild play at these levels. Anyone with discipline and a little poker strategy knowledge should be able to beat these games. Most cash games are in No-Limit Holdem format. You will also find game variations like Omaha, Stud and Draw poker.
Poker Tournaments: Buy-ins start at around $1. The advantage of these games is that you can make a big score from a fixed small buy-in. There are disadvantages. Tournament poker is naturally more ‘swingy’ than other formats. If the cards don’t fall your way, you can burn through buy-ins quickly. Variations include rebuy tournaments, turbo speeds and games where each player has a bounty on their head.
Sit N Go Tournaments: The most common form of Sit N Go is just a single 9 player table, with 3 players getting prize money. Buy-ins for these games start at as little as 50c. These games have a unique strategy – especially when there is only one player to go before the money. You can find these small tournaments in different sizes – 2 tables, 5 tables and even 20 table games are run online. If you are prepared to learn the strategy for Sit n Goes, they can be a good way to build your bankroll.
Fast-Fold Cash Games: You play for real money chips in these games, though do not sit at a single table. Instead, every hand sees 6 (or more) players combined from a pool to play. When you fold, even out of turn, you immediately go back to the pool – starting a new hand right away. You can find these games at the 1c / 2c blinds level and up. They are intensive, though with disciplined play, can be profitable.
Lottery Sit N Goes: This is a new and popular format. They are short ‘hyper turbo’ tournaments, with 3 or 4 players. What makes them unique is that the prize pool is determined at random after the game starts. This can be anything up to 10,000x your buy-in. Small stakes versions run at several sites. These games are entertaining – though the variance is very high, making them risky for players with small bankrolls.
After you clear your bonuses, win money from the tables and move up stakes – you’ll be ready to withdraw your profits. With any luck, these will be a lot bigger than your initial small deposit.
The general rule for international poker rooms is that you withdraw to the same payment method you deposited with. This is not always possible, especially at the US sites, which face some banking restrictions. The most common alternative is to get a paper check, couriered to your door. If you deposited with Bitcoin, this can be used as a quick and easy way to get your money withdrawn.
Note that all poker sites will request ID documents when you make your first withdrawal. To save time, you can prepare these in advance so that your poker cashout is as quick as possible.
Online poker is well set up to look after players with smaller bankrolls. Depending on the deposit method and specific site, you can get started with as little as $10.
Make sure you double check the bonus terms. You might miss out on some extra incentives – which could have been yours for just a little more. Once your money is on board, you need to choose which format to build your profits. Tournaments are a little volatile for this, though do have the advantage of giving you a potentially big score. Cash games start at 1c / 2c blinds – and are the format of choice for many players making small poker deposits.