I was playing my standard 2¢/4¢ game at Noble Poker on Friday, and the chatter around the table had to do with how much people had funded their accounts with. Some folks -- including me and my $23 -- were merely building on freeroll winnings. One guy, though, said he was playing on a free $20 that pokerinside.com had given him (he suggested I use the access code "CARDLIFE"). (full disclosure: link pays bonus to me)
I checked out the site, and yup -- they're literally giving away money. Once you sign up with PokerInside, you get a "sponsorship," and in my case, I was given a five step process to go through:
1) Download CDPoker.com's site software, install it, and create an account. I was pleasantly surprised to see that CDPoker.com was on the iPoker network, meaning that it uses the same network of tables and players that Noble Poker does, so the interface and some of the players are familiar.
2) Enter my CDPoker.com login name on PokerInside's site
3) Enter my Neteller.com account information on PokerInside, so they can make the deposit. Neteller is a PayPal like company, except that they seem to specialize in online gambling site funds transfering. I've had a Neteller account for about two years.
4) Verify, on PokerInside, that the $20 was received in my Neteller account.
As this point, before I went on to step 5, I investigated a bit more. CDPoker offers a 50% first deposit bonus (payable after a certain number of raked hands are played), plus a 10% Neteller deposit bonus (again, payable after a certain number of raked hands). It made sense, therefore, to make the biggest first deposit I could, so I needed to withdraw my funds from Noble Poker, and combine these funds with the $20 for a bigger first deposit.
I went to Noble to withdraw my funds to Neteller, but in order to do so, I had to make a Neteller deposit to Noble first. I pretty much expected this, so I took the $20 and put it into Noble, then withdrew the full $43 balance.
36 hours later, the $43 was available in my Neteller account. In the meantime, however, I got an e-mail from CDPoker.com's online manager. It said, in part:
After signing up for an account, I noticed that you decided not to make your first deposit.
In order to express you our gratitude for choosing CDPoker, I would like to offer you an EXTRA $30 on top of the already generous Welcome Bonus when you make your first deposit.
Coolness. I deposited the $43 with CDPoker.com. It looks like I have until late June to get the required number of raked hands. On to step 5.
5) Confirm that I deposited the $20 with CDPoker.com.
Assuming it works for anybody the same way, this is a great way to start playing online for real money. No cost, $20 (+ $10 + $30 after rake req's met) for free. Plus, they credit you with 30% of your rakeback.
So, because I now have to play hands with rakes, I moved away from the 2¢/4¢ game, and started at the 25¢/50¢ table. It's a thing of beauty. I played for an hour, and ended up +$7.25. Unlike the 2¢/4¢, you can actually put people on hands. More importantly, you're able to represent a hand, and they notice. Of the five hands that I bet on the river, three of them ended with the other player correctly folding. One I got beat by a rogue flush. And one I killed some poor guy's Queen-high flush with an unexpected rivered 8-over-9 full house (although he called my raise instead of re-raising). Yay, suited connectors.