I got really interested in poker in 2002, after watching the first televised World Series of Poker tournament that used the hole card camera (to my knowledge). An amateur, Robert Varkonyi, won that year. I got a deck of cards and started playing many different poker variations, finally settling on 7 card stud as my favorite game. I’d always enjoyed multiplayer online games, so it was quite natural for me to do a Google search for multi player online poker. I found two sites, one of which was PacificPoker.com, later renamed to 888poker, and started playing the play money tables there, and reading poker strategy books and websites. Making a ‘fake money’ profit at play money tables gave me the desire to try my hand at the real money tables. The only drawback was….I had to deposit money! Convincing myself (and, more importantly, my wife) that this was a good idea, was going to be difficult.
As fate would have it, and as you’ve already guessed, I stumbled upon a couple of no deposit bonus offers from two sites, Lucky Nugget Poker and Royal Vegas Poker (neither offer no deposit bonuses these days). Both were for $10. I tried Lucky Nugget first, and wasn’t very lucky. The $10 was gone in about an hour. A few weeks later, and after really digging into some poker strategy books, I took another shot with the $10 at Royal Vegas Poker. The first night I ran it up to about $50. The next night, $76 and change. Though my wife was screaming at me to withdraw it, I chose to continue playing.
That initial burst at Royal Vegas was late July of 2003. By October 2003, I had a little over $1000 in my cashier balance. This time, it was real money. This was all playing .50 / $1 seven card stud at Royal Vegas Poker.
Needless to say I was elated. I suppose my only mistake was depositing the minimum when I chose to make my first withdrawal in October. They required one real money deposit to make a withdrawal, so I deposited $20, not realizing that I would get a deposit bonus on my first deposit. Oops. I cleared my massive $5 bonus (D’OH!) pretty quickly, and withdrew $500 that first time. It didn’t really hit me that it was real until it was in my bank account and we actually spent it. That was a pretty memorable day for me.
Later in 2003, I taught my wife to play, and between the two of us we managed to pay many of our bills that semester of college via our poker earnings. Years later, as of this writing, I’m still playing on the casino’s dime.
Poker is a recreational side income for me these days. I play up to $5/$10, and still mainly play 7 card stud. I’m proud to say that through solid poker play, bankroll management and taking advantage of timely promotions at the many online casinos (deposit bonuses, reloads, VIP deals, rakeback, etc.,) I’ve been able to support a hobby … through earnings from that hobby. Most hobbies are money sinks, but poker has been a money maker for me, and it all started with a $10 no deposit bonus. I consider myself very very fortunate!
In conclusion, I can’t promise you that you’ll take $10 to a grand and more. In fact, most people will no doubt bust out, again and again. I can say that combining free money offers with a willingness to learn strategy and apply it, can truly show a great profit for you in the long run. I know that by experience. If you’re thinking of starting into online poker or casino games, the no deposit bonuses and free bankroll offers are a great way to get going, risk free.
So what if you just want to have fun? What can be more fun than experiencing the thrill of real money gambling, without risking your own cash? If you decide to make a deposit, free matching casino and poker offers abound. Regular visitors to Las Vegas know that if you hit the casinos a lot, and use your comp cards, you can get some great freebies. Many other folks spend hundreds and even thousands on going to ball games, hunting or fishing. If online gaming is your “thing”, taking advantage of the “online comps” is a no-brainer.