Deposit Bonus: Strategy Guide

New Readers: Bear in mind this was written within hours of the bonus news and then unlocked for the public later, so some of it may have moved on by now.

Very occasionally I make 1 or 2 members articles available to the public to give people an idea of some of the sort of content that is available as a member.

Just one of the things I do for members other than the extensive Scouting and market analysis is provide detailed guides everytime a major event happens on FI, be it a bonus, changes to performance scoring or the share split from last season.

This benefits all traders but particularly those who are experiencing such events for the first time.

Today in the gym whilst I was supposed to be concentrating on my bench press I checked FI instead. I had to look twice because the portfolio was flying! It can only mean one thing. They did the birthday bonus after all.

This is great but as I said in the public post just this morning, I hope they don’t over rely on these sugar rushes. That said, I’m hardly going to complain if someone wants to give money away.

Thoughts now turn to how to make the most of it and I know I have some very experienced members who will have seen this before. I also have some newer traders who may be seeing a bonus for the first time and their mind may be blowing a bit which is understandable!

Maybe you are in a position where you can deposit more. Maybe you aren’t. Either is ok, we can turn this situation to our advantage either way and I’ll discuss how below.

The Offer

So let’s quickly cover the terms. It’s generous, with 2 parts. Part 1 is a straight forward 10% bonus on our net buys (buys minus sells) and lasts until the 30th Sept. So we have a just under a week. For example if I buy £10,000 more in players than I sell I’ll get £1,000 in bonus cash.

My understanding is that money in your existing balance counts, if you have spare cash in the balance, you don’t neccessarily need to deposit again. It’s simply total buys minus sells. 

After that, the 5% bonus is there to try to cushion the blow and avoid mass withdrawals which is sensible. That lasts a fairly long time, ending on the 18th October which some of you may have noticed is just after the next round of qualifiers before the domestic leagues rev back up.

What happens next?

The typical pattern for a bonus goes like this. 

The announcement is made. People go nuts to quickly get their money in and it flushes out any money sat in balances. New money is also thrown in.

The immediate and most obvious targets are bought up first. This often includes the big hitters (provided they have good market sentiment) and any player who happens to be rising and has a feel good factor tends to get money thrown at them.

After a day or two, that madness starts to settle down and people will get more considered in their choices. They’ll start investing more for the months ahead rather than just jumping on bandwagons.

Recently, we have seen many overpriced players take bruisings. Will the money go back to them? To an extent yes but I would say not completely. Many will be glad to be out of them and have learned that lesson. They will reinvest in players who have positive sentiment and better value. Players who have been winning or they fancy for the upcoming qualifiers or similar.

That should be good news for those using site key strategy, basically. 

For the players who have negative sentiment, many will take the opportunity to be able to get out of trades that have been making them uncomfortable for a while. So you can’t assume that all players who are rising today will keep rising particularly if they hit silly prices versus their ability or have been dropping a lot recently.

So to sum up:

The obvious targets will likely get hit first as we are seeing now. 

In the coming days, I expect that to switch to the more thoughtful and less obvious targets (consistent winners, future prospects etc). 

Then, as we get towards Sunday/Monday things should sober up a bit as people start fearing a pull out after the 1st bonus period ends.

That cycle will probably repeat for the 2nd 5% bonus period, although I would suspect it will be much more subdued, 5% is nowhere near as tempting.


The Strategies

There are different ways to play the bonus successfully, and it’s up to you which you think is best suited to you. How much money you have sat on the sidelines is a factor. 

I think it is perfectly possible to make a good profit without using the bonus directly, though, so I wouldn’t worry too much if you don’t. In fact, not being locked into the bonus terms has it’s advantages. I’ll discuss both options below but first a few principles which I think apply no matter what:

  • If you are going to put more money in, get it in as early as possible, ideally today. The longer you leave it the higher prices are likely to get. Certainly avoid putting in money late on Sunday/Monday.
  • Use this opportunity to try to offload to market any players that you think are a mistake or have been stinking up your portfolio for some time. That does not mean sell anyone who has been dropping - use the Scouting information to help you judge whether the player is likely to improve or not.
  • Be smart in your selections. If you missed the initial rises, do not chase them and put yourself at risk of people taking profits on you. Find a strong target that hasn't moved much yet, but has positive sentiment generally and who you would want in your portfolio for the next few months anyway. It is likely that traders will go for these more clever picks later in the week once they get done with initial gold rush into these obvious players. You may get a nice rise then.

Let’s take a look at 3 different strategy options.

You have money to deposit and want to get the bonus

Let’s say I happen to have £10k on hand and want to put it all in to get my full £1k bonus.

I would ideally have done this within minutes or at least in the first hour of the bonus and currently be sitting on some fat profits. But not everyone can do that. People have jobs right?

If doing it now or later tonight or tomorrow, I’d look for some strong targets that fit with my overall strategy, that I want anyway, that have positive market sentiment generally, and may get a rise in the coming days once people start looking for more clever picks rather than the obvious. 

If my new players rise in the week, brilliant. If they don’t, I am happy to carry them in my portfolio anyway and it may be that when I need to sell some players, I sell some of my longer holds who have reached high prices already or who I have lost confidence in.

I should be benefiting here from some rises in existing holds plus I can expect to get my £1,000 in October. Brilliant. Except it’s not quite that straight forward.

By being locked into the terms, I am riding the same bus as everyone else. And I absolutely hate that as you can imagine. 

I need to keep my buys higher than my sells, so I am locked into keeping my money in players and cannot take it out into my balance. 

That doesn’t mean I have to have it in specific players, though.

When people withdraw money after the bonus, we have a fairly big clue where it is going to come from. It is going to come from the players who have negative market sentiment and are pumped full of bonus cash.

So, by Wednesday (latest Thursday night) I would want to have moved money out of any players I think are at risk of a sell off. This would include: 

– Players who have been dropping in recent months but have recovered because of the bonus (the sustained drop indicates negative sentiment). 

– Players who have risen strongly beyond any kind of rational price versus their real quality. 

– Players who don’t fit your strategy or who you have lost confidence in.

We can take advantage of the rises in obvious players early on. But we want to be quick to move out of any high risk players to free up that money.

We still need to put it back in, however. So, again, we reinvest in players we think are: 

– Good value, and have not been pumped with bonus cash too heavily. 

– Have real performance quality or at least potential, and fit your overall strategy.

If I can’t find value that fits my immediate Key Strategy, I’ll look for promising youngsters that haven’t risen for some long term holds. (And as it happens, I was working on a Real FI Wonderkid’s scouting article which I stopped to write this instead – that will be out probably tomorrow). 

In this way, whilst we can’t avoid all of any drop should it occur, we should avoid the worst of it by moving early to remove any high risk players from our portfolio and instead hold players that we are comfortable with even if they were to drop a little bit.

If you manage risk sensibly like this, you won’t be immune from any drop completely, but you don’t need to fear it.

I don't have money to deposit 🙁

Don’t be too sad. 

In fact, you can make a strong case for ignoring the bonus itself and instead use your freedom from the terms and conditions as an advantage.

This plays out similar to the above option, except you are using your existing holds, not buying anything new. 

We still want to sensibly risk manage our portfolio because we want to a) take profits on any players that reach silly prices and b) avoid holding any high risk players who may drop too long.

Since you can sell as much as you want, you can use that mobility to: 

– Offload any unwanted players, probably to market at a decent price.

– Sell some existing holds around Thursday if you feel that bonus users have bought them up to high prices that they don’t really deserve anymore. The criteria for selling is exactly the same as above in the option where you are using the bonus. 

Then, during the week, you can invest in players that are good quality and meet your strategy criteria provided they haven’t risen in price signficantly yet. 

There could be an advantage in this strategy of having balance spare to pounce on any players that may drop after the bonus period ends on the 30th. 

However, personally, I would just simply stick to a) offloading overpriced or weak players and b) investing in strong, decent value picks that fit your strategy for the coming months or some good young long term holds (Wonderkid article is coming as I said so there will be some ideas there). 

The reason I will not personally leave balance spare in anticipation of drops is that I don’t think the drop will be all that bad. And overall, even after a drop, the player will probably still finish the week at a higher price than they did yesterday. Some money will come out of FI, but not all.

The 2nd 5% bonus will also keep some people in and that should take the edge off any drop, which is exactly what it is designed to do.


I have money to deposit and I want to try to be really clever.

This is more of an advanced idea but it can work and I have used this in the past. Steer clear of it if you aren’t 100% confident.

There is a case to be made for plowing in your spare cash early, taking profits from rapidly rising players and then withdrawing the profits without caring about waiting for the bonus. 

The profits can sometimes outweigh the bonus you would get. And, with that freedom, you don’t have to sweat on any end of bonus period sell off. 

You also gain balance free to mop up any dropping players at a discount if there is a major sell off.

I have used this in the past successfully, typically when I do fear a major sell off. I would say however that with these terms, the underlying confidence people have in FI these days, and the 5% bonus coming after which will cushion the blow, I would probably say don’t try to pull this move on this occasion. 

It tends to work best when there is a major dip afterwards and my personal view is that I don’t expect one. But I thought it would be interesting to briefly mention as some people may like the idea or have some pressing reason they need their money back before Monday.

Which strategy is better? And final thoughts.

Each bonus and the circumstances around it is different so there is never a one size fits all approach to anything in trading.

I think in this particular bonus period having money on hand to deposit is clearly an advantage. Because I don’t particularly fear a major drop at the end of the bonus period, I would be confident of coming out of this well if investing money for the bonus provided I took the appropriate risk management steps outlined above

I don’t want to be hanging around too long in overpriced and hyped up players this week, certainly not towards Sunday and Monday.

By then I want to be sure that my portfolio is full of real quality that fits my strategy, is good value, and who I would want to hold whether the bonus exists or not.

If all that is true, I don’t care too much if some of the players drop a bit afterwards, I want them anyway.

However, if I did not have money to invest, I would not be at all depressed. Provided your player selection up to now has been good (and members have no excuse!:) ) you should be profiting quite nicely anyway and not be in a position where you have too many overpriced or weak players. 

I would just concentrate on getting rid of the weak and loading up with players that match my strategy, anticipating bonus users following me in and profiting that way instead.

These can be confusing times particularly for new traders. If you aren't sure about something I am happy to help out just DM me on Twitter or email me at

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