Originally Posted by dweezel
There is no such thing as a free lunch my friend.
Read the terms of service carefully.
When was the last time someone handed you 50 bucks on the street with no strings attached????
How about a knowledgeable answer instead of just spouting cliches? The person wrote his question to ask if these are legitimate offers. He's not asking for philosophy.
Yes, many of these offers are legitimate. They are made by affiliates to the site who expect a long-term return by getting a portion of your rake each month. To entice new players, a poker site may appeal directly to the player by offering a deposit bonus. The site will also work with affiliates who may get a referral bonus or a portion of future rake for guiding a player to their site. Such bonuses are available through CardsChat, and signing up through CardsChat benefits this forum, so it's a good idea to sign up through CardsChat if you seek a deposit bonus.
Other affiliates may offer a rakeback deal instead of OR along with a bonus. Rakeback means a percentage of all your future rake is paid back into your account - usually monthly (but Carbon pays it back daily). The poker sites themselves generally don't offer rakeback; it's available by affiliate referral only. And some sites, such as PokerStars have no rakeback at all.
Less common is the free bankroll offer. This is also generally available by affiliate referral only. The offer is legitimate and some affiliates offer you a choice of options. For example, they may give you $50 to play with free, no match required. Or they may give you $100 immediately to match a $100 deposit. You can play with your free $50, lose it all, and have no further obligation. Usually if you want to withdraw you have to play a certain number of hands, and that information will be in your sign-up agreement. You can usually withdraw without ever making a deposit, since the initial $50 from the affiliate is considered a deposit - but this may differ from site to site, and the requirements are always explained beforehand.
I've signed up for sites using all three methods, and they all work. I can't vouch for every single free bankroll affiliate, but the main players are legitimate and yes, there is such a thing as somebody just handing you over $50. Why would they do that? Because they hope to benefit by receiving a portion of your rake if you remain a long-term player. They give you $50 now but they hope to receive hundreds or thousands in the future for their $50 investment. If you take the $50, lose it and quit the site, then the affiliate loses. But their statistics must show that it's a long-term winning strategy for them or they wouldn't continue to do it.
As to the ID requirement, that's also part of a legitimate verification process for many poker sites. They may require you to send them a photocopy of your driver's license and both sides of the credit card you used to deposit. You usually don't need to do this to deposit, but you need to do it to withdraw. If you expect to win and withdraw, you might as well do it early in the process because you will have trouble if in a couple years you no longer have the credit card you deposited with. (KEEP those disposable VISA
all-access cards if you use them!) Every site is different and sure, it does make you uneasy to send all that info - but the sites require it to establish your ID and avoid charges of money-laundering and such.
If an affiliate is asking you to do that on deposit, either do it and take the $50, don't do it and forget about the $50, or look for another affiliate whose requirements are more to your liking.
I hope this answers your questions.