Over the last few months, I’ve been spending random weekend days at my mother’s house, helping her clean up the place, which has become inundated with collections, stored items, and nostalgia over the years. My mother loves reading and has amassed probably 10,000 books. She also tutors and teaches teenagers who cannot go to school for various reasons, so in addition to her leisure books, she has enough educational books to fill a small library. She also has all of my and my two brothers’ toys from when we were kids, keepsakes from when we were in college, and random other items, like furniture that we had stored indefinitely. Seeing as how I love my mother, I made a commitment to clean the place up. It’s been going slowly, but it has been very rewarding. I’m constantly finding things that I did not even remember existed.
This weekend, I came across my old poker chips. It’s a beautiful set, complete with a metal case, dealer button and all the usual accoutrements. I remember purchasing the set, shortly before receiving a set of free chips from a company promoting a poker video game sponsored by Daniel Negreanu. This led me down a path of reminiscing about online poker and how things were very different ten years ago when I started my blog.
Perhaps the weirdest thing that came from online poker were all the freebies. Some came in the form of promotion points issued by the sites that could be exchanged for real goods. The oddest of these was when I got a cookie tray for playing at an online poker site. I love cookies, but I really love the oddity of receiving a gift package of cookies because of raked hands (above).
The best thing I ever got was a 50″ TV. To be fair, I did not get the 50″ TV solely from poker, but thanks to a third-party site, I did earn enough gift cards to offset the cost incredibly. The site offered to give you gift cards in exchange for opening an account at a poker site and playing enough raked hands. It was essentially a convoluted rakeback scheme, but I was not familiar with rakeback and the requirements were uber low, so I just saw it as free gifts. You could sign up for a random site like ladbrokes or betvictor, and a few days later hit enough rakeback for a $50 giftcard to BestBuy or the like. In the case of the TV, there must have been some glitch in the system, because instead of sending me one $50 gift card, I received 5 for a total value of $250. Add that to the other $200 in gift cards I had amassed from other promotions, and my TV was suddenly a lot cheaper (not to mention the connection I had at BestBuy who was able to get me the TV at cost). For what its worth, I still have that TV all these years later. Other times, I’d get to try out free poker related websites, like betbind, which incidentally has its own free services available to the general public.
Sure, it was just a collection of (sometimes edible) things, but it was fun and exciting at the time. Now, if I play online poker, its extremely rare, since I have to be in NJ. Even worse, it feels completely unreal, since I have not even tried to withdraw the money. They feel more like credits in a video game than a chance to make money.
Until next time, make mine poker!