I started out playing poker online as a broke college freshman. The question I receive the most about playing online is, "How did you build your poker bankroll?" Most people want to rush online and throw $50 onto Party Poker. They will sit there for months and grind out the $.50/$1.00 tables. Some lose their money right away and some will make a little profit. I built my bankroll with a process called Bonus Bogarting.
The basics of bonus bogarting are simple: play each poker room and receive the bonus they offer. The key is to deposit the amount of money that will provide the biggest bonus. If I were to offer you $25 or $100, which one would you take? That's what I thought! In return for the bonus, you are required to play a certain amount of hands at the site. Sure you could deposit $100 into Party Poker and get a nice $25 bonus; however, bonus bogarting is a way of hopefully turning your $100 into well over $1000 in just a short period of time.
How To Get Started
First of all, you will need to open a Neteller account. Neteller is basically an online bank. Most online poker rooms will not deal with debit cards, credit cards, or land-based banks. Make your first deposit of $100 and you are ready to get started.
Now you want to achieve the maximum bonus at each site. Start out playing the 'Crypto' sites. Interpoker is a great site to start out at and their bonus consists of depositing $90 and receiving $90 bonus. Other sites that offer great bonuses for a small deposit are Caribbean Sun, Poker Plex, and Will Hill. The real nice part about these bonuses is that you can get them every month! These sites are basically paying you close to $200 a month to play poker.
Alright, you started with your $100. If your poker skills are not so hot and you break even in play you will still be leaving with $200. Hopefully you finish bonusing at those sites with over $200. You are now ready for the next site. If you do not finish with over $200, don't worry, just go back and bonus there again next month.
Next bring your $200 to Paradise Poker. They have a great bonus code called GRANNY. This code will get you a 50% bonus up to $100. You just happen to have enough from bonusing at the Crypto sites to take full advantage of this. Ultimate Bet will be your next stop on the bonus bogarting journey. They offer a 40% bonus up to $100, so it will take a $250 deposit to maximize your bonus. After hitting up these bonuses, your bankroll should be well over $600 with breakeven game play. If you are a pretty solid player you can expect to be around the $1000 level.
With a $600 bankroll there are many options. This is where you start to get the big bonuses. All of the Party Skins (Party Poker, Empire Poker, InterTops, and Multi) offer a 20% bonus up to $100. A $500 deposit maximizes your bonus. Pacific Poker offers a 25% bonus up to $100, so it will only take a $400 deposit. Poker Room offers a 20% bonus up to $100. There are also many other sites that offer very prosperous bonuses.
I have also developed some tips to maximize your profit while bonus bogarting. First of all, I am assuming you know how to play poker so I will leave poker strategy up to you. When you sign up and download at a new site, make sure you read the rules about their bonuses. Each site is different on how many raked hands you will have to play to receive the bonus. Play the smallest limit tables the site will let you while bonusing. This will allow you to spend less in blinds per orbit equaling more profit.
Next, try to play full tables. This way you have to pay the blinds less and more hands will be raked. If you feel comfortable with your game, some sites will let you play on more than one table. Sometimes I will have six tables running at one time. The biggest tip I can give you is track your poker play. The best way to do this is with PokerTracker, software that records the hands you play and keeps statistics for you. Think of it as reading the baseball stats in the paper. It tells you your daily profit, what hands you profit the most/least from, what position you profit the most/least from, etc. It will greatly increase the quality of your game and thus increase your profits.
After a couple months you will have a bankroll of anywhere from $1000-$3000 and your poker skills will increase to the point where you will graduate from bonus bogarting. Remember poker is a long term game and not some get rich quick scheme. See you on the tables.