As most of you already know I started playing full time unexpectedly after turning down yet another transfer from my job. I was not bankrolled fully but my wife decided to go back to work so I could give it a shot. I figured it would be successful experiment if I could pay half the bills at home. This was in November 2004.
Everything worked fine until January turned into a marginally profitable month and February I loss money. I still paid half the bills and actually started to look for a job. I wasn’t too discouraged and figured the experiment to be a success; I was just under bankrolled and hit a bad run. Then March came a long. As I am sure you remember, March was a bonus chasers dream come true. Most every site I play at had at least one reload and most did more. I had become a full fledge bonus chaser and because of that I am still “experimenting full time” still. My bankroll has grown tremendously while still keeping up with my commitments. Now I have decided to cut out most of the bonus chasing except for a few reloads.
I Yahoo searched “poker+bonus+chasing” and came up with 62,200 hits. It is a popular subject. For my overall view I would say bonus chasing is a good thing. A good bonus chasing plan can be very profitable and worthwhile. I would like to point out a few things that might help you before you get started.
1) Have a plan. Max out your first time deposit bonuses. There a so many first time deposit bonuses out there now, make sure you pick ones that max out you bonus potential. If you don’t have enough bankroll to max it out, find another site and then come back after you have built enough.
2) If you are bonus chasing to build a bankroll, be very aware of the terms and conditions. Most bonuses are cleared faster at the $1/$2 level so if your not bankrolled for that don’t play there and except it will take longer to clear. There are many reasons to numerous to list on why you shouldn’t play over your limit. To me the hardest one to detect and fix is the habit of playing weak/tight.
3) If you are bonus chasing to pad your bankroll, be aware that most bonus chasers ignore number 1 and are playing over their heads and are weak/tight. Go take advantage.
4) EVERYONE flocks to the Party Skins reloads. If you are gravely affected by variance in your bankroll, try to wait till the last minute to reload and clear the Party Skins bonuses.
5) Beware of the site before you deposit. This one is pretty obvious but if there are not enough games being played, you are wasting your time.
6) Play poker to win…..DO NOT play poker to clear bonus. At one point I had so many bonuses to clear and money spread out over so many sites I would play just to clear points. Expiration dates coming fast and I was just putting in hands mechanically. This is no way to play winning poker and puts leaks in your game you will eventually have to fix.
7) Know when to say when. Somewhere at or after the $2/$4 level, you will make more playing poker than you will chasing bonuses. Realize that as you progress through the limits and learn the game that eventually the bonuses are not worth the hassle.
8) There is a lot of bonus out there to grab. You can build a bankroll rather quickly. Bankroll is not the only requirement needed to move up in limits. Nothing can replace knowledge and experience. It is easier to avoid the few players better than you that will always be there than it is to avoid the devastation of a whole limit better than you.
I hope this helps. As you see, I fell into the weak/tight - play just to clear bonus trap. I have a tendency to lean towards weak/tight anyway and now I feel I am starting all over again with my aggressiveness. In a way it is very frustrating to be having this aggressiveness conversation with myself again but it is another lesson learned and grown from. I have a feeling I will be having this conversation with myself a lot.
Till Next Time!