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Testing the Online Poker Waters: Part II

It was early March when I got an e-mail from TigerGaming. I hadn't played there for a couple of weeks, but I've always got time for poker-related spam. Anyway, the e-mail tells me that $5 has been credited to my TigerGaming account. I was so excited that I called my wife into the room to let her know about the sudden increase in my bankroll. She didn't necessarily share my excitement (it was only $5), but I was happy: now I could play poker for real money!

So I looked around TigerGaming and realized that I had two realistic options for my money: play the 0.10/0.20 limit poker or play some SNGs. At the time, there were 0.10 + 0.02 SNGs at TigerGaming and $5 + 0.50 SNGs. The 10 cent SNGs paid $1 to the winner, so I thought I'd give them a try.

I played 5 SNGs over the course of the next few days and didn't finish in the top 5 in any of them. I'd blown 10% of my bankroll so far. My wife bugged me by warning me that once I'd blown my bankroll, I'd have to give up my poker career for something more lucrative. Secretly, I think she's happy that I've switched from playing X-box to online poker. Poker's a little cooler...but not by much.

So, I thought I'd give limit poker a try. I sat down at a 0.10/0.20 table and started playing. For the next few weeks, my bankroll went from a high of $8.50 to a low of $2. Once I hit $2, I decided that I'd better play the SNGs and go for the "big" win. I told myself that I'd play the SNGs until I'd made enough money for the max buy-in at the micro-limit tables ($10 I think) or until my bankroll was completely depleted.

Just before starting my SNG play, I did two things. First, I started watching and re-watching any poker that I could find on TV. The celebrity poker was pretty good in the sense that Phil Gordon's insights into the play at the table is pretty solid. The second thing I did, and by far one of the most important things to do when playing any sort of poker tournament, was to read Harrington on Hold'em Volume 1. I'll probably make a list of a bunch of good books to read in a future post.

So, armed with my newfound knowledge, I started playing the 0.10 + 0.02 SNGs. It was also at this time that my brother decided to sign up at TigerGaming and put me down as his referrer. By April 1st, I'd won 10 SNGs out of 20, so my bankroll was up to about $10. On top of that, I got $25 from TigerGaming when my brother cleared his deposit bonus requirements.

Now that my bankroll was up to around the $40 mark, a friend convinced me to try playing limit poker again. I wasn't confident enough to try the 0.25/0.50 limit (and my bankroll was still too small to handle the possible downswings of limit poker as well). So, I borrowed my friend's copy of Lee Jones' Winning Low-Limit Hold'em then hit the tables.

Well, over the course of the next few weeks, I managed to win about $50 at the limit tables and another $20 playing more SNGs. So, from the free $5, I was now up to $110. I decided to withdraw $40 from my account so that I could pick up a copy of the WPT Season 2 DVD set (totally worth it). Another reason for the withdrawal was to figure out how to get money out of TigerGaming. I set up a Neteller account (great company btw), pulled the money out of TigerGaming, and transferred the money from Neteller to my bank account. The whole process took me about 1 week since I skimmed over some of the instructions and really screwed things up. But the good folks at TigerGaming and Neteller set me straight and I got my money.

In my next post, I'll cover what happened in May 2005. It wasn't too exciting, but neither is anything else I've written so far. If anyone happens to read this, I'll be pretty surprised. Still, I got some more free money and played a bunch more, so I'll have a few things to say.

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