In September 2008, I finished my degree in Computer Science without much money, or parents that would cover my expenses. I decided to deposit $200 to see if poker could work as a full-time job. By the end of the year my bankroll was around $10,000 and I could help at home with the expenses (I was still living at my mother's place).
Fast forward another year and I had full financial independence! In 2009, I earned over $100,000 in bonuses by becoming Supernova Elite, the ultimate status on PokerStars. So far I've achieved Supernova Elite four times over four years. It's allowed me to lead a comfortable lifestyle (and move into my own place!) but at the beginning of 2013 I chose to give away the status and start from scratch. I began a new challenge: to turn $100 into $100,000 for charity.
You can follow my progress at my own personal blog here.
I played a lot back in 2008 and earned Supernova quite quickly. That gave me access to the best cash bonuses, which helped me build my bankroll quicker and play higher stakes. Playing higher stakes allowed me to earn Supernova Elite the first time. I did it with a small loss at the tables, getting a bit more than $90,000, which is a lot of money by Portuguese standards! But even without earning Supernova, the VIP Club rewards can have a big impact on your bankroll. Here's how each status has helped me so far in my charity challenge:
I didn't stay long at BronzeStar. While I was there, I used my FPPs to play the Daily $500 and $1,000 VIP Tournaments with 10 and 20 FPP buy-ins, since a win in one of those can really help a small bankroll. If you are just trying to build a bankroll without a big investment you can also play the Hubble 's freerolls that don't require any FPPs, although I focused more on the real money games.
You can play multiple $1,000 freerolls that they have during the day ("$100,000 Privilege Freeroll") and you get access to the Weekly VIP $5,000 freeroll on Saturdays. I would use my tickets for those freerolls every day and make sure that I played on Saturday for a chance of making a big score in the weekly freeroll! Free money is free money!
It took me a full month to get to SilverStar, but it was an important milestone, because I started getting more points (1.5 FPPs per VPP) and I could exchange my points in the VIP Store for tournament tickets!
I've also got access to the Weekly VIP $30,000 tournament, which I play religiously along with the ChromeStar $5,000 freeroll every Saturday!
Two weeks after reaching Silver Star, I reached GoldStar. This level is similar to SilverStar, only you get more of everything! Like access to the Monthly VIP $100,000 freeroll on the last Saturday of each month and 2 FPPs per VPP instead of 1.5!
More FPPs per month mean more and bigger tickets at the VIP Store, so I started getting some tickets for the Big $55, Big $109 and freerolling those tournaments in search of a big payday!
I'm planning on getting PlatinumStar again to take advantage of the extra rewards. PlatinumStar players get a lot more FPPs, which means a lot more free tickets! Plus there are special weekly Sunday Million satellites which, apart from the prize pool players put in, has five entries added by PokerStars. I want one!
Right now, I'm back to GoldStar. I'm coming up on the next $50 Stellar Reward and saving my FPPs for a Sunday Million ticket. I make sure to play the Weekly freerolls and use my points towards tournament entries to help with the challenge. I'm at $21,189.57 with 152 days to go.
This month, the VIP Club is having a series of promotions that give away even more rewards. So I'm aiming to take advantage of the promotions and finish my challenge strong. Make sure that you make the most of your VIP rewards!