Yesterday I was playing two tables of .25/.50 Limit and it seemed like nothing could go my way. I hadn’t gotten involved in many big hands in the whole session, just raising and value betting down. I’d either lost at showdown or had my c-bets raised and had to give it up on the turn. But they added up, and I’m down about 25BB.

Right during my last orbit, I opened a pot in middle position with 77 and figured I’d either win the blinds or maybe get called by the BB.

Preflop: Hero is MP3 with 7, 7
4 folds, Hero raises,

The table had gotten pretty weak-tight, and I was all ready to just call it a day. Never thought all this would happen…

CO 3-bets, 1 fold, SB caps, BB calls, Hero…

I get 3-bet behind me, the SB caps and the BB takes two more to the face. I thought about it for a second: I’m getting 7:1 immediate odds to play against 3 players and my odds of hitting a set are about 7.5:1. I have good implied odds with so much action, and I don’t think the other players play very well postflop. SB’s cap worried me, however; he had a PR% of 0 over a small sample.

Here comes the next surprise:

Hero calls, 1 fold

CO, the original 3-bettor, disconnects and folds when he was getting 15:1 in a capped pot. I bet he had a few choice words for his ISP.

Now there are only two opponents, and I’m really liking it. I might be up against an AK and the BB seems bad so he could be holding a very wide range.
Flop: (15 SB) 7, 8, 9 (3 players)
SB bets, BB calls, Hero raises, SB calls, BB calls
Bingo. Hit the set. But it’s a very wet board. SB’s bet could mean a big pair or an unimproved AK, both of which I’m crushing. I’m really hoping BB didn’t call with JTs. I clearly raise and they both flat.
Turn: (10.5 BB) Q (3 players)

SB bets, BB calls, Hero raises, SB calls, BB calls
Good turn, but now I really don’t know what they have. Why did SB donk again? Is BB on a flush draw?
River: (16.5 BB) K (3 players)
SB checks, BB checks, Hero bets, SB calls, 1 fold
The flush card hits, but I’m not too worried about that, especially after they check to me. I bet again for value, thinking I can get called by AQ, AK or a whole lot of other wtf hands. The pot is very big.
Total pot: (18.5 BB)

SB had Q, A (one pair, Queens).
Hero had 7, 7 (three of a kind, sevens).

Full-Tilt Converter Tool from

He had an AQs, which hit top pair on the turn.

BB stuck around the whole way only to give it up on the river, and wasn’t even chasing the flush. Maybe an ATs? JJ?

With this pot, I got back up and I took down another small pot at my other table to finish about even. I’ve been running really well and I’m up 4.22 BB/100 over 2,000 hands this month.

But let’s not be results-oriented over the results of a couple of sessions…


My original goal in this blog was to play 5-10 poker sites, deposit close to the maximum and earn that amount in first-deposit bonus money. But now I feel that this is very dangerous for most beginning players.  Here’s why:

The bankroll guideline for Limit poker is 300 Big Bets. That means that for a $.05/$.10 game, you’d need $30. For a $0.10/$0.20 game, you’d need $60. No Limit poker has different requirements. Low stakes games are a $2 or $5 buy in. You should have no less than $40 in your bankroll to play 2NL. This gives you enough money to absorb some losses and still not risk going broke.

You only get a bonus of whatever amount you deposit, so beginners wishing to play these stakes would only earn $30-$60 of bonus money. Most bonus-hunting new players are greedy to make much more than that. Players could deposit more than they need for the levels, but that would leave them frantically trying to play as much as possible, and their game would suffer.

A bonus is awarded to you based on the amount of rake taken in the games in which you are dealt cards. Each site has a slightly different formula, but in general it takes a lot longer than you might assume. Like to clear a $200 bonus in a .25/.50 game, you’d need about 30,000 hands, which is a huge amount and requires a TON of playing.

Beginners should really be playing at the small stakes where there are lots of loose players (like .05/.10 or 2NL). This helps them nail down the fundamentals of Limit Holdem that are essential for any successful player and get some good experience.

But the structure of the bonuses often entices them to play at higher stakes games where they unlock the bonus faster (like .50/1 or 1/2). This puts them in way over their heads and risking their entire deposit.

I was fortunate enough to realize this and deposit a smaller amount on Full Tilt to get me rolled for .25/.50 Limit ($150). I dropped down to .05/.10 and logged a lot of hands, posted on poker forums and read books like Small Stakes Holdem by Miller, Slanksky, Malmuth. Then I played a bunch of .25/.50 and I’ve unlocked about half of my bonus so far with a month left before it expires.

While I might not get the entire $150 because it unlocks pretty slowly, it’s a much better scenario than playing out of my comfort zone, and I’ve learned a lot more in the process and gotten better.

I started this blog up, but I’ve been neglecting to post over the past couple months, although I’ve been playing a lot of hands. I’ll be posting regularly from now on.

I purchased the Micro stakes version of PokerTracker3, which is an essential piece of software for any serious player. It imports all of your hand histories and tracks everything you’ve ever done at the tables, displays an incredible amount of stats that can tell you exactly where you are making mistakes, and even shows you your table opponents’ stats as you play. It’s very easy to review big hands or even entire sessions. Poker Tracker website. You can even get a free trial version before you buy.

Over 14,883 hands, I’ve made $88.25 split between .25/.50 and .10/.20 Limit (average winrate of about 2BB/100 hands). Add $85 in bonus money and the $ that I’ve won on multitable tournaments*, and my profits are $360! I’m really pleased with the results so far, but I feel I’m running pretty well so I won’t be able to keep up at this pace.

*My multitable tournament winnings are extremely fluky. I’ve entered a $2 1K guaranteed tournament a few times, and I’ve placed 3rd out of 522 for $101.27 and 6th out of 499 for $39. With the big variance in these things, I got very lucky to win this much in only a few tournaments.

Hey everyone; I’m an aspiring online poker player. I’ve had some success in the past playing in my spare time but recently I’ve decided to play more seriously. My game of choice at the moment is Limit Holdem but I play No Limit and tournaments from time to time.

I’m planning to play all of the big poker rooms one at a time and earn the first deposit bonuses that they offer. I think that by playing 5-10 sites over the course of the next year, I can build a decent bankroll. I’ll be signing up for rakeback at these sites as well, but I didn’t  know about it when I signed up at Full Tilt :(. After I’ve gone through all of the good sites, I’ll pick a couple to keep playing and earn back some of the money I pay in rake.

But more than just chasing bonuses, I’ll be using this blog to share my thoughts about poker in general and my experience of trying to become a winning online player.

I’ll be posting valuable information about the different cardrooms, reviews of books and software, replays of big hands, and links to strategy articles.

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