A few sites do remain available to us, though, and I mentioned here before how I’d manage to win myself some cabbage playing freerolls on Carbon and Hero Poker, both skins belonging to the Merge Network. (Hero has actually stopped taking U.S. sign-ups this week, although they continue to allow those of us who got accounts beforehand to play.)
On Carbon I played in one of the five daily freerolls Merge offers, each of which has $200 prize pools, although in truth most of that prizepool (all but $46 worth) is in the form of entries to other tourneys. The freerolls generally draw around 2,500 players with only the top 24 spots making anything, so the odds of success are fairly slim. Somehow, though, I weaseled my way into a min-“cash” in a H.O.R.S.E. freeroll, finishing 23rd to earn a $2.20 SNG ticket. There I managed to finish second and win a whole dollar with which to play on Carbon.
That’s half a typical roll of nickels, which I have read is what patrons in Las Vegas casinos were sometimes given back in the 1950s upon arrival, which is where the phrase “freeroll” allegedly originated.
Meanwhile, on Hero Poker I played in that May 15th freeroll tournament for U.S. players that featured the generous $30,000 prize pool. A little less than 1,200 played, I believe, with top 300 finishers each receiving $100. I managed to get there in that one, too, and thus got myself a hundy on Hero without having to make a deposit.
I haven’t really played a lot over the last couple of weeks, although it has been nice to be able to jump into games now and then.
On Carbon my choices are severely limited with my teeny weeny total -- less than the minimum buy-in for most of the available cash games. I managed to start out squandering most of the original dollar fighting the crowd at the $0.02/$0.04 limit hold’em tables, dropping to just 14 cents at one point. But I won back some in a couple of six-cent tourneys, then tried a few of these $0.11 turbo SNGs where my ROI has been good enough to push my roll up to a whopping $1.24!
Yeah, I know... sick brag.
On Hero I’ve been mostly playing shorthanded PLO, trying to practice sound bankroll management by sticking with the max-$10 buy-in nickel-and-dime games. There I’ve done okay thus far, too, hovering around $115 for the last week or so. I’ll probably start exploring some of the lower buy-in MTTs with guarantees, as I think a few of those are having some nice overlays.
It has been kind of interesting to alternate between a site in which my bankroll is mere pennies and another where I have 100 times that with which to play. (Since Carbon and Hero are both skins of the same network, I necessarily can only play on one site at a time.) Has kind of demonstrated to me how the significance of money in poker can be wholly relative, with my winning or losing a nickel on Carbon giving me a similar “high” or “low” as I get winning or losing five bucks on Hero.
That said, whatever emotions I’ve felt while playing over the last couple of weeks have been somewhat muted, a detachment I attribute directly to my not having any real, concrete thoughts at the moment about actually cashing out funds.
You could say I’m “freerolling” in a couple of ways here. Not only did I win the cash with which I’m playing via freerolls, but while playing I’m weirdly “free” of the various thoughts or feelings necessarily associated with playing with a knowledge that the result will involve tangible gains or losses.
That’s not to say I’m playing all that differently than I would otherwise (e.g., more loosely or aggressively). At least I don’t think that’s the case. In fact, I’d say I’m actually playing a tighter game, for the most part, fearing the “risk of ruin” which in my case would mean having to leave the cash tables altogether.
The freerolling has been fun, though. Way better than free falling, anyway.