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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Plus - Budgeting Poker

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Times are tough all over. A common enough saying - but these days it couldn’t be truer. Most households have to run on a budget to survive, so where does poker fit in?

The fact is that the average poker player plays for fun. They don’t have a lot of other hobbies or outlets like golf, bowling, sporting events or concerts. For them, poker is it – the one thing they do for fun and relaxation in their spare time. The average player also is not a big winner, barely managing to keep his bankroll in the black, but occasionally having to reload their poker account. If this sounds familiar, then don’t despair because you are in the majority group of online poker players.

Budgeting for poker should be no different than budgeting for any other monthly expense. Most household budgets make allowances for some type of entertainment – yours just happens to be poker instead of skydiving. How much you allow yourself of course depends on your income and how much you are willing to give up every month if need be. And if you are a player who doesn’t play for the money but just to have fun and be able to play, than you have a much better attitude about the game and your playing level than many other players who want to play big, and do, even though they can’t afford it.

If fun is your main course with a side order of hope you win money, then you can really get by for nothing by playing for free in FreeRoll tournaments. These little beauties are easy to find because every online poker site on the planet runs them every day. Some pay cash, others award seats to other tournaments that have cash prize pools, but a few even offer you a chance to get a seat in a really big event.

Depending on the time of year, live event FreeRoll qualifiers are easy to find, where winning could see you on your way to land based mega tournaments like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, just to name a few.  Of course winning some of these Free qualifiers requires you to win several of them to get the grand prize, but if you get lucky, you could find yourself in a seat playing for millions of dollars, so wouldn’t that be worth shooting for? You bet it would!

For many poker players FreeRolls wear thin due to the distinct lack of any semblance to real poker playing. So if FreeRolls aren’t your thing, there are hundreds of tournaments out there where a small buy-in doesn’t mean a small prize pool. One example is the PokerStars daily $3 +$0.30 buy-in tournament with a guaranteed $40,000 prize pool which runs at 20:00 EST. Although this is an optional re-buy and add-on tournament, still - for less than four bucks you could get lucky and make a nice score. If you do a little mouse work and check out the different tournament offerings available at the various poker sites online, you will find many tournaments where small buy-ins could still add up to nice paydays.

But poker tournaments aren’t your only choice if you are on a tight poker budget, cash games are also within your reach. Although PokerStars was the industry leader when it came to offering micro limit games, other poker rooms have come onboard and realized how valuable small stakes games are. At any given time of the day or night, the micro stakes games are running full speed with waiting lists, proving there is a huge demand for small games. And they aren’t all limit games either, several No-Limit games are available with stakes as low as $0.01/$0.02. That means for just pennies you can sit down and play the same kind of game the big poker pros play on television. Sure you may not win as much, but you’ll be having fun which is what it is all about anyway,  right?

But No Limit Hold’em isn’t your only choices for small games and tournaments. No matter what game you prefer to play, you can easily find a seat to jump in. Many poker rooms offer Stud and Draw Poker, but variations like Deuce to 7 Triple Draw, Badugi and the popular Mixed Games like HORSE, HOSE and HA are also on tap.

Don’t let the economy keep you from playing poker, just budget and play accordingly – then grab a chair – see ya there!

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