First things first, I’d like to express my appreciation to you for visiting my website. Its creation is not just a hobby, but a focus in which I take much pride; one that I intend to maintain as a continual work in progress. I hope you enjoy it and are able to gain knowledge and insight, as I have through sheer experience playing Texas Holdem real money online poker from the USA.
Let’s start with a little about me. My name is Shaun Middlebrooks. I’m an Arizona born-and-bred country boy in my mid-30’s. There are only a few things in this life that I’m fervently passionate about. My family, my favorite sports team (Go Buccaneers!), and the game of poker.
Unfortunately, not just for me, but for countless Americans who share my dexterous appetite for online poker, I got started playing poker online right before the US market began to crumble. I joined Full Tilt Poker in February of 2005, and it was like a new awakening. No more back room poker bars or chump-change home games among friends. I had seen the light, and I was drawn to it like mosquitos on sweat.
I was playing micro-limit stakes in the beginning, as every amateur player should, but after two months of turning a regular profit, I pushed it up a notch. Before long, I was up to $1/$2, then $5/$10. I even had moderate success at $10/20. That’s when I discovered PokerStars and started up a whole new bankroll in early 2006.
I was learning so much from the constant access to multifariously skilled players of Texas Holdem. I wasn’t just playing, I was watching others play, an occasional online poker railbird at the higher stakes games. For me, real money online poker had exceeded the level of a pastime, turning into a much more profitable career than my day job. So I did what most of us can only dream of. I walked into the factory where I worked, imparted a few choice words in my boss’s direction and said “Adios!” to traditional employment.
I began spending 10+ hours a day grinding the online poker tables. It wasn’t all sugar and roses, but no professional poker career is. Overall, though, I was doing very well for myself. After a few more months, I calculated my success and it turned out that, on average, I was making 3x more than my old job.
And then it happened… a bomb dropped that would rock the core of online poker in the USA. Then-President George W. Bush signed the nefarious UIGEA in late October. It was the second scariest moment of my life. (The first being the moment I saw my son’s head “crowning” during child birth – whoa!)
There was a quiet calm that fell over the American online poker community as everyone waited for the bottom to drop out. What would happen? Would we lose all our money? Would the police come knocking? Would online poker players across the USA be raided like drug houses? No. In fact, not much of anything happened. Days, weeks, months went by and while a lot of poker rooms did choose to withdraw from the US market, the big players stayed. The only real change was how we deposited and withdrew our money.
As time went by, things became comfortable once more. Payment processors came and went, but there was always a way to move funds in and out. My Texas Holdem skills continued to increase, my wife and I bought a home near Sedona, had a daughter, life was good.
If the UIGEA was a bomb, what happened next was an atomic explosion that occurred so suddenly the whole world seemed to freeze for me. I turned on my laptop and went to FullTiltPoker just like I had every morning, and there it was… the official seal of the US Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigations plastered across what should have been the face of the then-current favorite FTP Pro and a host of marketing creatives.
The message was simple. Full Tilt Poker was no more. The domain had been seized by the US government.
In a panic, I clicked over to PokerStars only to find the exact same missive. The message was quite clear to me. If these big-wig ‘untouchables’ could be undermined by US authorities, there may no longer be anywhere safe for myself, or the myriad online poker fans throughout America, to continue playing.
Fast-forward to the present and, to make a long story a little less protracted, I’m proud to say that online poker in the USA is not dead. While my old favs – PokerStars and FTP – may remain out of my reach, it turns out there are some very reputable, long-standing poker sites out there who still accept Americans. The player base isn’t so extensive, the stakes aren’t as high, but the profit potential is certainly still there.
And that’s my story; a brief synopsis of why I’m running this website. HoldemRealMoney.com is all about USA online poker. It is my mission to let other Americans know where to play, how to deposit and withdrawal, and how to become a better Texas Holdem player.