Hello, Mister Chips

Typically, there are three ways to make money at on-line poker.

Cake Poker Screen

1. Win a freeroll.

2. Play the tables.

3. Play the tournaments and sit-and-gos

I don’t recommend #2; it’s an excellent way to lose money until you’re very familiar with on-line play.


If you have no money, freerolls are typically the way to go. Freerolls are basically free-for-alls with ten or twenty participants finishing up ‘in the money.’ This sounds great, but some on-line poker sites permit well over 8,000 people gunning for the same winnings.

Depending on the freeroll type, your winnings may not be remarkable, but there are benefits: you won money without paying anything; you experienced several different types of player and playing strategy; and you actually beat x – 19 (to x – 1) people whose hold on their chips ended before yours.

Winning (or ending up in the money) a freeroll is no small victory; some players disdain freeroll winners, but you’ve beaten some heavy odds if you’ve succeeded where so many have failed. Poker.com recognizes this by awarding its freeroll champions with ‘Accolades’ — graphic ribbons, trophies &c — in addition to cash. The Accolades are a form of recognition, but may serve other purposes as well; I’ve never finished first in a freeroll, but find I get some satisfaction in taking someone out in a tournament who has.

Maybe it’s just me.


Entering two or more concommitent tournaments — for me, anyway — is unwise; playing simultaneous Hold ’em and Omaha tourneys is suicide. There exist people who can knit and waterski at the same time, too. I don’t know how they do it. But individual tournaments, of either ilk, are generally manageable for the likes of me. And, as the people at the tables I play at will tell you, I’m by no means a professional.

But I have been making money.

Winner Screen

You can, too.

Real money play doesn’t have to break the bank; Cake Poker (use bonus code EATITTOO . . . you’ll see why) has Sit ‘n Go’s for a dollar. 10 players, three of whom finish ‘in the money.’

After winning (or coming in second or third) a few times, you’ll likely be champing at the bit for the bigger pots. Just remember; never — ever — play with more than you can afford to lose. Every winning streak comes to an unpleasant end . . . and note that luck plays a significant role in both on-line and actual poker.

I’ve seen too, too many Ace-Ace hands lose to believe otherwise.