Bonus hunting - how it works

Casino games are always designed with odds in the casino's favor. Therefore, playing at online casinos (regardless of strategy you choose) will result in loss in the long run. However, everything changes if the casino give you a bonus. Let's take a short overview how it works:

Why casinos offers bonuses

There are plenty of online casinos on the internet today. They creating competition between themselves and in order to attract new players, many of them are offering sign-up bonuses. When a new player register to the casino and make first-time deposit, casino adds bonus to his account. Each casino also set in their bonus terms minimum amount of wagers, that a player must place in their games, before he can withdraw given bonus from his account. This is known as Wagering Requirements or Playthrough Requirements.

Practice of offering bonuses as promotional tool works very well for casinos. A big part of their customers who are attracted by these bonuses are players who like to gamble and most of them will eventually lose their bonus given by casino, plus a good chunk of their own funds.

Making profit from casino bonus

Blackjack Strategy Table

Few players know that when they play games with the lowest house advantage (House Edge) with optimal strategy, they can complete wagering requirements with loss that is much smaller than a bonus given by casino. They turn casino bonus into profit. This practice is also known as 'bonus hunting', 'bonus bagging' or 'bonus clearing'.

The most popular game for completing wagering requirements is Blackjack. It is an excellent choice due to its low House Edge, usually around 0.5% and acceptable variance (explained later). House Edge represents the amount of each bet you lose to the house (in casino's favor) if you play the game with optimal strategy. If you play Blackjack (with House Edge 0.5%) with optimal strategy and you wager €1000 you expecting to lose €5 to the house.

The casinos do not usually own the gaming software. They lease it from the software companies who create it. Each casino software provider has Blackjack with slightly different rules. For each Blackjack variation exist optimal strategy. When a player follow this strategy precisely, then the House Edge is holding at the minimum level. An example of Blackjack strategy table you can see on the right side. For each situation in the game exist the best predetermined action.

(Full strategy tables you can find in BonusMiner.)

Now, take a look at example:

Imagine that the casino offers a 100% sign-up bonus for your deposit up to €100. You must wager bonus amount 30x to be able to withdraw the bonus.

You deposit €100 to the casino account.
Casino match your deposit with 100% bonus (up to €100). In this case, it credit your account with €100. Now you have €200 in your casino account.
Casino has the following wagering requirements: You must wager the bonus amount 30 times to be able to withdraw it. This mean that you must wager 30 x €100 = €3000. Casino bonus terms allows play Blackjack (with House Edge 0.5%). You expecting loss in amount 0.5% of €3000 which is €15.
After you have completed wagering requirements, you are able to cash out your money from casino account. You have €200 (deposit + bonus) at the beginning and after wagering you made a loss of €15. In other words, your deposit was returned and you make profit €85 from the bonus amount.


Standard Deviation

Variance is the term used to describe the natural swings in the game. You will have both winning and losing streaks while playing. Therefore, the final result will vary from person to person and will deviate above or under expected profit. This implies a risk of losing your bonus amount and part of your deposit or entire deposit (probability of this is very low, but exist), as well as achieving gain high above expected profit. Unwanted effect of variance can be minimised by settings bets to lower amounts (e.g. €1 instead of €5) and in long-term (after completing 2 - 3 casinos and more) the variance effect will be so small that it will be not substantial for us.

This table show us chance of gain (making profit) with given €100 post-wager bonus and no bankroll limit with different wagering requirements (X-times the bonus amount) and bet sizes:

€ 1
€ 2
€ 5
€ 10

We can see that setting bet size to lower amount minimizes unwanted effect of variance. But on the other side, this increases time demands to completing wagering requirements. This time-consuming issue can be handled by BonusMiner bot, that automatically play Blackjack with optimal strategy and no mistakes.

Types of bonuses

Except sign-up bonuses, some casinos offer monthly reload bonuses or 2nd (or 3rd and so on...) deposit bonuses and some occasional bonuses. All these bonuses we can split into few 'bonus types' categories:

Cashable bonuses

They are the most common and most simple variety of casino bonuses. Bonus will be added to your account after you make deposit. You are not able to withdraw the bonus until you have completed wagering requirement.

Post-wager bonuses

They are similar to cashable bonuses. The only difference is that bonus will be credited to your account after you have completed wagering requirement.

Sticky, Clearplay, Free Play, Unique bonuses

These bonuses has their own special strategy. Additional information you can find in 'Other resources' at the bottom.


Open a Neteller account

We strongly recommend opening account at least at one eWallet. In comparison with credit card, bank transfer or check, once withdrawal is processed by casino, your money are in your eWallet instantly. Neteller is the preferred payment method of most online casinos. You should also consider PayPal, Skrill or other eWallets too.

Create a new email account

If you do not want receive tons of promotional emails and spam from casinos, you should create a new email account which you would use only for registering to casinos.

Identity verification

Be prepared that some casinos may ask you to send scanned documents for identity verification (e.g. passport, national ID or driver's licence) before they process your withdrawal.

Always read bonus T&C

Some casino's change their promotional Terms & Conditions often. You should always read them to be sure what wagering requirements are set, which games are excluded from wagering and players from which countries cannot participate in given promotion. Almost all casinos allow only one account per player, per computer, per IP address and per one household. For example, it is not allowed if your friend want to create account and play at casino from your computer (IP address) if you already have account created at this casino from your computer.

Avoid being labeled as an bonus abuser

It is a good idea to wager a little over the minimum wagering requirement when using BonusMiner. Wagering exactly the required amount or keeping running BonusMiner too long is suspicious behavior for casinos. Most players usually do not play at casino a 24 hours a day. Setting a 8 - 10 hours maximum for one day should be fine. When a some casino determine that you are using bot for automatic play, they can label you as an bonus abuser. This means that they will exclude you from further promotions (e.g. monthly reload bonuses) and if they are linked with other casinos in a casino group, they probably will share this information and you can be banned to receive bonuses from casinos within this group. It is not recommended simultaneously playing two sign-up bonuses from the same casino group. Wait until you receive payment from one, then play at the next casino.

Keep tracks

Create and maintain spreadsheet of casinos in which you are registered. Keep track of your login information, deposits, bonuses, wagering, withdrawals and other similar data. By doing so, you can avoid informational chaos in the future.

Other resources

Purpose of this 'How it Works' section is to give an orientation point for beginners. If you probably have some unanswered questions, these websites can be helpful for you: - This is the holy grail of information about casino bonuses. You can find here beginner's guide, comprehensive review of casinos and bonuses, complete information about casino games and rules, strategies to almost all game and bonus variations. - Another great list of casinos and bonuses - Site dedicated to quality reviews of casinos, player issues and complaints, list of accredited and rogue casinos - Strategies and odds for casino games - Complete searchable database of all online casinos