I started out just like many of us: playing the fake money games online. One afternoon, I logged into my account to discover a real money balance of $5.00. With all the negative stigma society generally attaches to online gambling, I figured I probably would never put in a deposit with my own money, and this was a chance to see if I could make a few bucks and have some fun. I even played fake money limit hold’em for a couple weeks until I was beating it consistently so I could make the most out of my 5 bucks.
In December 2004 I jumped into the smallest game on the site: 10c/20c limit hold’em. With a lot of luck (and some help from the very loose games), I managed to slowly run my ‘bankroll’ into about $50, at which point I started playing $3 sit’n’go’s, which eventually became $7 and $10 sit’n’gos, and then $1/$2 limit ufabet. I was spending a lot of time reading strategy websites, most notably reading the limit hold’em articles (referenced at bottom). At this point (July 2005), my bankroll had reached about $600. I began to read a lot more about bonuses and rakeback, which are absolutely ESSENTIAL to any limit player, as I will outline below.
I began to forgo strategy in favour of hunting down the most lucrative bonuses. I was obsessed with the notion of ‘free money’ via bonuses, and my game (and bottom line) suffered as a result. I struggled playing tough $1/$2 and $2/$4 games at various sites, although I did slowly increase my bankroll. Eventually, I got sick of playing breaking even poker to earn bonus bucks, and I realized that I would never move beyond the small stakes games if I was putting ‘bonus whoring’ before improving my game, so I made a drastic change: I put bonus whoring behind me, and I took my $2,000 bankroll to the Party $3/$6 6max games, which were definitely a lot softer than the Absolute $1/$2 grind.
January 2006: I did very well for a couple months, and then broke even for the next couple. I moved up to $5/$10, and remained a slight winner. I made decent money, but the truth is I was a very mediocre player; bonuses and rakeback kept me barely profitable for a few months. At this point, my bankroll had grown to $16,000, but I compared my winrate to the disgusting amount of rake I was paying, and I decided to return to my bonus-whoring ways, albeit at the same stakes. I realized that a good rakeback deal could more than double my hourly rate, provided the tables remained soft. I did a lot of research on rakeback and bonus deals, which paid off immensely. I played at several sites through the summer and fall of 2006, eventually settling on a VERY profitable prop player deal at a major site, playing the $4/$8 and $6/$12 shorthanded limit games. After a few weeks, however, I became bored. I once again needed a change. Despite the fact that I was making significantly more with this prop deal than at any other site / game, I decided it was time to take a serious run at no limit hold’em. I had made some random, unsuccessful attempts at NL throughout my entire poker experience, but the variance of playing short-handed limit can be unbearable, and to quote a poker-playing friend of mine, “You’re the only person I’ve ever met that plays limit, bro”. I had saved a quote from a post that really stuck with me:
In the United States, John Pappas is moving the mountains. He is pushing the million members of Poker Players Alliance to lobby for the legislation to make online gambling legalized in the US. The Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance through his fellow members is supporting the HR2267 the legislation made by Congressman Barney Frank to control and levy Internet gaming. The committee vote on the legislation can happen as early as February 2010. Papas did not hide his ambitions when he said in no unclear terms that this legislation will be crucial for the Poker Players Alliance and the entire poker community. He asked members to rise up to the occasion and make their voices heard.
In the past also the initiatives of the PPA to support online gaming has been influential to support HR2267 and this time also it is no different. Papas asked players of the alliance and the poker community to reach out to Congressmen and express their support for the bill. According to Pappas, this is first time that there will be a vote on legalizing online gaming in the United States. He said that bipartisan support is required to make this bill a success and urged members to alert their Congressmen on the upcoming vote. On the other end Congressmen Barney Frank has seen more success on the bill in the first two weeks of January. The good news is that two politicians, New York Democrat Eliot Engel and Charlie Melancon, a Democrat from Los Angeles supported the “The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009”. This has increased the number of Congressmen endorsing the proposal to 65. More needs to be done and John Papas is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that online poker and gaming gets legalized in the country.