After the Department of Justice shut down the three largest online poker sites almost a year ago, some smaller sites continued to operate in relative obscurity. Despite presumably snubbing the law, they’ve continued to skate by; the DOJ under the Obama administration doesn’t seem interested in pursuing this fight. About a month ago they issued a clarification that seemed to give the green light states to set up online poker sites.
I have some friends who’ve had a good experience playing on these sites, so I decided to try putting a few hundred dollars online. To get a feel for the software and get my sea legs back, I started out at $.02/$.04, stakes 250 times lower than those I’m playing at live now. I dropped ten buy-ins in my first session, one of my worst sessions (in terms of buy-ins) since I’ve started playing poker. I guess it was lucky it happened at such low stakes, so the money didn’t really matter. Nonetheless I decided to keep playing $.02/$.04 until I got my account balance up to my initial deposit as a sanity check and confidence. It took about 20 hours of grinding, but I made it.
When online poker got shut down I was feeling burned out, but after a year-long break I’m loving it. Online poker is way more intense than live poker: you’re making decisions every second, rather than every couple minutes. The opponents are much tougher: $.05/$.10 online is as hard to beat as $5/$10 live. It’s easy to get into that video game mindset of trying to “level up.” When I finally got back to even playing $.02/$.04, I was pumped to jump to $.05/$.10. And when I won $20 in my first $.05/$.10 session, I was at least as gratified as when I win $2000 playing $5/$10 live.