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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Bonuses bonuses bonuses
In my last post I went on for quite a bit about how I've gotten one hell of a lot more money through bonuses than I have through actual poker play. The moral of the story is that I'd like my poker "earnings" figure to be a lot higher than it is. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to be racking up the bonuses where I can. With the 4th of July this weekend, there's a lot to choose from.

First and foremost, I got a snail-mail coupon from Absolute Poker (I'm a member of the "Absolute rewards program") that will give me a 40 percent bonus on a deposit of $250. That's $100, plus I get 4 Absolute player points for every $1 deposited, so I'll have 1,000 more of those. At 10,000 I can host private tourneys, which I think will be very cool. This "hump-day" coupon is good on any deposit made on a Wednesday through July 14th.

But there's also a 30 percent deposit available on deposits made today. Should I deposit some now, clear the bonus, withdraw the money, and then deposit again on the 14th? That would also mean more points for the private tourney thing.

Also Paradise has a 20 percent deposit available for the 4th of July weekend, as I expect most of the poker sites do. They're still my go-to site for 7-card stud (I'm up $75 on their .50/$1 tables since I started playing on June 18).

Decisions decisions.

Aside from alerting anyone who may be interested in these bonuses, I guess I just want to emphasize one point that I was trying to get at in my last post, but which may have gotten lost in all my number-crunching: For the truly low limit player -- $1/$2 and under -- the bonuses that are available out there, properly managed, can dwarf what you're likely to win at the tables if you're just casually playing for a few hours each week. The upside is obvious: Online poker more than pays for itself as a hobby. The downside (for the poker play looking to improve his game): These bonuses can more than compensate for bad play.

I've heard many a blogger wonder how the really fishy, throwing-away-money players on Party and elsewhere can play the way they do--don't these fish realize how much money they're losing? One answer: They're playing with "free money." I think many of the loose-aggressive low-limit players have just discovered online poker; they've gone bonus-whoring mad and gotten hundreds of dollars in bonuses (don't froget refer-a-friends); and then they sit down at the lowest limits looking to dominate the table with aggression. This is more than just a theory . . . as I described in my last post, I was guilty of this behavior on 3 or 4 beer-soaked evenings last summer. The good news for serious players is that the bonus chasers' "free" money becomes your poker earnings.

More bonus & overlay info: For anyone who hasn't played on Absolute Poker yet, they're offering a 35 percent initial deposit bonus throughout the month of July. They've also got the Thursday night $10 NL Hold'em tourney with $4,000 added, and this Sunday, the 4th of July, they will be holding a $5 tourney with $4,000 guaranteed in the prize pool. I don't mean to sound like a shill, but I like the site, and I feel like AP is really making an effort to attract new players with good deals. Aside from whatever small compensation I get if you click on the link at the right, I would really just like to see more players on the site.

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