With every online and mobile casino offering what seems like huge welcome bonus offers, it can often seem like Christmas has arrived early. What many new to online gambling don’t realize is the terms and conditions attached to these bonuses. As a welcome offer all reputable operators offer a minimum 100% matching offer on your first deposit, essentially doubling the amount that you have to play with. So far, all sounds stellar – you deposit $100 and get another $100 free to play with and increase your chances of winning. Only catch, if we can call it that, is that to benefit or profit from any wins on this bonus you need to meet what interactive casinos call the wagering/play-through requirement.

The wagering requirement is how many times you need to wager the amount of the bonus or the bonus plus deposit. An example will suffice.

You deposit $100 at an online casino which offers a 100% bonus. The conditions attached to this is that to withdraw the bonus at any time you need to play-through the bonus plus deposit amount 30 times. So:

Bonus + Deposit = $200
Wagering Requirement= $200 x 30 times = $6000

This means that to benefit from the welcome bonus you’ll need to to wager an amount of 6000 credits. Now this is not all that bad considering that during gambling session you win and lose on a fair amount of spins or hands. So your balance is constantly fluctuating meaning that to meet this requirement is more than possible if you apply the correct strategy.

Now by strategy we don’t imply a gambling strategy, but a bonus clearing strategy, or as it is commonly known in online casino circles, bonus whoring. The key is to meet the wagering requirement without running out of your cash or bonus balances.

The fundamentals of bonus whoring is:

  • To play games with a low expected house edge or lower player risk, such as blackjack, craps, baccarat, Texas Hole ‘Em or Jacks or Better video poker.
  • Play the strategy for the game that minimizes the house edge
  • Wager small amounts. A good guide is to start off by playing 1% of your total bankroll.
  • Read the T’s and C’s as they often layout the full conditions for the bonus

Choosing games with the lowest house edge

This is the most important step in clearing a bonus. Not all casino games are made equally. Some, like slots, favor the house more. Blackjack is one of the games with the lowest house edges, which is at 0.4% if you apply the optimal blackjack gambling strategy.

Wagering with small amounts

There’s a simple gambling notion which holds that the more hands you play the closer the results get to what is expected based on the house edge. A simple example of a coin flip reasons that when flipping a coin 10 times you may end up getting 9 heads and 1 tail. Increase the number of flips to 2000 and chances are that you’ll get pretty close to a 50/50 ratio of heads and tails. So by wagering small amounts you eliminate large short term variances in expected results.

Predicting expected gain from the bonus offer

Getting back to our earlier example we’ll look at how to predict your expected gain from the bonus offer. To do this we need to play a game where the house edge is known – so table games are really the only choice as slots are too numerous too get a consistent expected outcome. Once we know the house edge the predicted gain from the bonus offer is the amount wagered less the house edge.

So in our earlier example where we deposited $100, received a bonus of $100 and the wagering requirement was $6,000, the expected gain is calculated as follows:

Expected loss due to blackjack: Amount wagered x House Edge= $6,000 x 0.4% = $24
Expected ending balance: Deposit + Bonus – Expected Loss = $100 + $100 – $24 = $176
Expected Gain: Expected Ending Balance – Deposit = $176 – $100

So you can see how it is possible to make a profit from clearing welcome bonuses or by casino whoring. As online casinos have caught onto this player trend they’ve tried to make this more difficult to do by increasing the wagering requirement on low house edge games like blackjack. But ultimately if you want to profit from the welcome bonuses the only way to do it is through games with low house edges, so we recommend you stick to blackjack or one of the other options listed earlier.

Other than that, we at Online Casino Canada, have always maintained that online gaming is about the entertainment and thrill of chasing after the win. Too much focus on strategies like casino whoring can taint the fun element. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to accept that gambling is a game of winning and losing, but at the end of it, if you had fun then the objective is met, anything else is the icing on the cake.

Happy gaming.