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Time = Money: September 2005

Bankroll: $580

First off, I played a lot this month. Not a lot compared to the pro players spending 10 hours a day playing, but quite a bit considering I'm married and have a life outside of poker.

My goal for September was to hit the 300 BB mark at 0.50/1.00 limit. Why 300? Well, I figured that if I could win 300 BB at my current limit, then I could move up and try the $1/$2 games again. I like playing poker and I like winning - but I like to be challenged and if that extra challenge makes me extra money, then it's all good.

I guess it depends on the type of person you are and the type of player you'd like to be. I play mainly for the challenge and for fun. Money is good, but I'm not doing anything with the money I win. It just sits in my bankroll until I have enough to move up the next limit. My goal is to play $3/$6 within a year's time. I may be dreaming though - I've only been playing for 10 months (and "seriously" for less than 6). I'd eventually like to play $30/$60 and up, but I'll have to see about that. My free $5 from TigerGaming has held up pretty well so far, but it's still quite a ways away from the $30K bankroll I'd need for $30/$60. Don't get me wrong though - I'm not in a rush to get there. As much as I'd like to entertain my readers (reader?) with hands where I win and lose thousands of dollars, I guess we'll have to settle for hands where I win tens of dollars instead.

Back to my goal. So, to hit the 300 BB I needed, I would have to win 227 BB in 30 days. So around 7 BB/day. At my pace of 1.25 BB/100 hands, I'd be looking at 550 hands per day - or about 11 hours per day given that most tables run about 50 hands/hour. I quickly realized that I didn't want to play for 11 hours every day and even if I did, my stamina was not high enough to do it. Generally, after two hours of playing, my mind would start to wander and I'd start making some bad plays.

I decided that I'd have to do two things. First, I'd have to play better poker. Take less stupid risks, play by the book, but play aggressively. Maximize my winnings when I had an edge and drop my hands like they were hot when I didn't. You know, play perfect poker. How hard could it be?

I'd been reading a lot of Ed Miller, so I thought that I could count on 2 BB/100 hands - a good respectable number. So now I was down to just 350 hands per day. If I played two tables, I'd be looking at 3 hours of play per day. That seemed pretty good to me (not so much to my wife and friends), so I started things out at Party Poker.

On September 1st, I deposited my entire bankroll (minus what was tied up at Interpoker) into Party Poker: $511. There was a 15% reload bonus going on, so I had to play about 530 hands to clear a bonus of $76.65. It took me 3 sessions and a total of 9h 20m to clear the bonus. In that time, I managed to win $23.50 at the tables.

BONUSES: $76.65
BB WON: 23.5
BB LEFT: 203.5
BANKROLL: $688.15

Forgetting the fact that I'd just made 5 times as much in 4 days as I did in the month of May, I had to find more bonuses (cuz I'm greedy) and more 0.50/1.00 games to play. At this time, The Gaming Club had a 50% reload bonus up to $50 max. I'd pulled my money out of Party Poker and had $100 ready for deposit on September 5, so in it went.

In order to clear the bonus, I had to play 350 raked hands. Since The Gaming Club tables are a little tighter than Party Poker, it took me another 9h 20m to clear the bonus. Still, the extra time was worth it since I managed to clear $48.75 at the tables. The Ed Miller and multi-tabling were really paying off!

BONUSES: $126.65
BB WON: 69.25
BB LEFT: 157.75
BANKROLL: $863.55

At this time, I was only 6 days into September and had already cleared almost $300. I was happy! My wife was happy! It was all good! But I wanted more!

I decided to try playing at one of the Party Skins for two reasons. First, they had pretty good deposit bonuses. And secondly, I could get a rake back deal at some of the skins through Rake The Rake. Even though I haven't actually earned enough rakeback to get paid yet, I have to say that the people at Rake The Rake seem pretty nice and are very helpful.

Anyway, to actually play at any of the Party skins, I was told that I'd have to cancel my Party account (the Party network was pretty picky when it came to a single person playing on multiple skins - especially Empire Poker...they don't like bonus whores...). Once my account was cancelled (took about 1 day), I signed up with Intertops (endorsed by Marcel Luske). I deposited $500 in order to take full advantage of the 20% deposit bonus up to $100. The good thing about Intertops was that they shared tables with Party Poker. This means that there are lots of fish - but also lots of sharks feeding off the fish. I don't consider myself a fish anymore...not a shark though. I've heard the term barracuda - I guess that's like a fish that thinks he's a shark until the real sharks show up.

To clear my $100 bonus at Intertops, I'd have to play 700 raked hands. It took me 11h 20m (what's with the extra 20 minutes each time?) to get my $100 bonus and I managed to win another 30 BB in the process.

BONUSES: $226.65
BB WON: 99.25
BB LEFT: 127.75
BANKROLL: $993.68

It was now Sep. 12 - almost half-way through the month and still not half-way towards my goal. I pulled all but $100 out of Intertops (I wanted to keep some $ there in case I wanted to play some Party-type poker while earning rakeback). Where to go now?

Well, I read on Bonus Whores that Crazy Poker (a Prima Network skin) was offering 33% rakeback to it's customers! Then, I found a rakeback affiliate that would offer me another 20% rakeback on top of that for a total of 53% rakeback! That sounded pretty good to me, so I was in. I signed up and jumped through all the hoops and finally had a Crazy Vegas account. I think the deposit bonus going on at the time was a 40% deposit bonus up to $40 - so in goes $100. I had to play 250 raked hands to get the bonus and it took me about 4 hours to do it. The bad news: I got totally owned. I dropped 20 BB ... so I was worse off than before (but still up dollar-wise...I shouldn't bitch, I guess).

BONUSES: $266.65
BB WON: 79.25
BB LEFT: 147.75
BANKROLL: $1012.80

I still had about 148 BB to go and I was pretty well out of reload bonuses to go after (at least on sites that support PokerTracker). So, I went back to InterPoker: $1/$2 had done a number on me but the 0.50/1.00 had been pretty good. I still had my $100 bonus to clear there and I deposited another $90 to take advantage of the September reload bonus (100% up to $90). One thing I should mention about the bonuses at InterPoker: they can be pretty hard to clear at the low-limit tables. Still, a bonus is free cash, so if I have to sit and click the fold button for a few extra hours, then so be it.

So, 148 BB to go. I decided to try a couple of things. First, every third session or so, I tried playing 3 tables at once. My laptop screen is pretty cluttered with 3 tables going, but it's not too bad assuming you can find a way to position the tables properly. It's pretty hectic, but it totally helps me get over the boredom and impatience associated with waiting for playable hands to come along. Actually, in one session where I was playing 2 tables, I managed to pick up AA on both at the same time. Freaky...and sweet!

Over the course of 15 days, I played about 29 hours of limit at Interpoker. Did I clear the 148 BB needed? I just double-checked my numbers and yes, I did (my first count came up with 105 BB...stupid math). That'd be a crap ending to a story if I didn't. I ended up winning $167.30 by September 30th. I didn't clear the first $100 bonus though, but who cares?! I broke through the 300 BB mark and was now ready (in my mind) to take on the $1/$2 games! I was gonna be rich!

More numbers:

BONUSES: $266.65
BB WON: 319
BANKROLL: $1180.10

So, in one month, I'd doubled my bankroll and made a huge leap forward in my limit game. I should note that I did post a loss of $9.90 by playing (and losing) 3 SNGs: one at PokerStars and two at Crazy Vegas.

Two final things to say after these events.

First, give it time. Let your game come together by itself. Make sure you read as much as you can and talk about poker with anyone who'll listen.

Second, don't let it go to your head. A lot of your poker winnings are gonna come from catching some lucky cards. And remember, there's always someone better out there. I actually learned
that the very same day that I cleared my goal.

I thought that since I'd cleared my 300 BB, I was ready for the prime time. I decided that there'd be no point in playing just one table of $1/$2, so I sat down at two tables.

Over course of the next 2 hours, I lost $62...I don't know what the hell happened. If I had my laptop with me, I'd post some hands. Maybe I will later tonight. It was as if the Poker Gods had decided to knock me down a peg after letting me clear my goal. Oh well, I'd show them in October...at least at the 0.50/1.00 tables...bastards!

So my final bankroll after September: $1107.

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