How To Make Money as a Beginner in Online Texas Hold ‘Em Poker

Using a Referral Site and Play with the Nuts!

First off, let me explain what this is not: it is not a poker tutorial. If you want to learn how to play Texas Hold ‘Em, there are hundred of sites with thousands of pages outlining the rules, strategies, jargon, and miscellany of the game (several of which I link to at the end of this article). Rather, here I am going to outline how to maximize your financial gain if and when you decide to try playing on the internet.

Understand that online poker is a huge business. Heee-yooge. Like, at least, probably, like, a million bucks or so.

Ed’s Note: It’s actually more like US$1.5 billion.

Because of this, competition is fierce, and most sites will offer you a cash bonus for signing up and playing for real money. This bonus is usually in the form of a percentage of your deposit; if you deposit $100 and are getting a 40% bonus (very common), you will receive an extra $40, but there is a catch! You don’t get the cash right away: you have to play a certain number of real money games, and then they will dole out your bonus, usually in $10 chunks. So, while you will get your bonus, if you play horrible poker, you may lose your original deposit (your “bankroll”)in the process!

In order to prevent this, I recommend reading up on beginner hold ’em strategy, play “tight,” and hold on to your chips like your children. If you only play when you’re holding the “nuts” (the best possible hand at that point in the game), you will minimize your losses, and hopefully win big pots while you’re waiting to collect your bonus.

This might sound like too much risk for too little gain, but luckily there is another way to cash in on your play. It’s a web site called (PSO), devoted to referring poker players to the different online gaming rooms. Each gaming room is willing to pay anyone who can refer a customer, so this web site acts as a clearing house of sorts, and because of the large number of referrals they provide, they get very lucrative payments, and share these with their clients: us!

When you sign up at PSO, and then use their site to sign up at an online poker room, not only will you still qualify for the poker room’s cash bonus, but PSO will give you an additional bonus once you finish the poker room’s promotion. Possible bonuses can be poker chips, a poker table top (both of which I have received; see the photo!), poker DVDs, poker books, and lots more poker swag. But what if you’ve had enough poker? Instead of a bonus gift, you can get points, and then spend these points in the PSO store for gift certificates at stores like Amazon, BestBuy, and lots more. In fact, just yesterday I received $150 in BestBuy gift certificates, and the two decks of professional quality playing cards I ordered should be arriving any day now.

It’s wild. And the best part is that the whole time, you’re just playing an exciting card game. In fact, you might actually win some money at the poker while you’re at it! And there is no catch. In fact, I have been amazed at the quality of PSO‘s customer service; there are even a whole bunch of forums where users can talk about their experiences with the different poker promotions, and their overall customer satisfaction. Let’s just say it’s very high.

How about some hard, honest numbers? In the first half of this year, I’ve broken even in terms of my poker winnings and cash bonuses. What that really means is that I lost the equivalent of my bonuses playing cards. I did this because one night I jumped into a No-Limit game, and proceeded to lose over $150 in a matter of a couple of hours. I usually play Limit Hold ‘Em (and you should too), which means that there is a maximum amount you can lose (and win). While this limits your poker profits, it helps you protect your bankroll while you are finishing the required number of hands for the PSO promotions. If I hadn’t made that stupid move, I would have an extra $150, in addition to a free set of poker chips (roughly $75), an 8-seater table ($125), 2 decks of pro-quality cards ($25) and $150 in BestBuy gift certificates.

In summary, I am up $375 in prizes, and I played online poker for 6 months for free. Very, very sweet.

If you’re thinking about doing this, here is some advice:

  1. Sign up for an account at PSO. If you found this information helpful, you can thank me by putting Snark69 (my online poker ID) in the “Referred By” box when you sign up. It’s free for you, and it gives me some points to spend in the PSO store. (If you want, you can refer people too, after you’ve signed up.)
  2. Practice at any of the online poker rooms by playing for fun (no cash) until you’re comfortable with the game. NOTE: When you sign up, you’ll be asked to give an email address. When you sign up later through PSO, you’ll be required to give another email address, so make sure you have two emails you can use. Also, resist the urge to start playing for money right away, through the poker room. If you do, you won’t get the PSO bonus, and that’s just wrong.
  3. Limit your play by either time, or change in bankroll. So for example, tell yourself that you will quit after 2 hours, or after your win/lose $25, whichever comes first. This will prevent huge swings in your bankroll (and your emotions), and you won’t do what I did at the No-Limit table (DOH!).
  4. When signing up for promotions at PSO, always check the homepage for “upgrade codes,” which are codes that will increase your PSO bonus. For example, instead of getting a 6 person table top, you could get an 8 person instead! You can find links to these codes via the link I provided above, or about halfway down the homepage before you’ve logged in.

If this process seems confusing, it’s just in my explanation of it. You can email me for clarification, or email the folks at PSO and they will walk you through the process.

In the end, even if you lose a few dollars, if you enjoy poker, tight online play is less expensive than a dinner out, a movie, zoo admission, etc. And if you wind up winning, you’ll be able to afford those things on some other sucker’s dime!

Now here are links you might need to help you along. Have fun out there! (remember to put Snark69 in the “Referred By” field! Thanks!)’em

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