PokerStars has raised the stakes in recent months. It's still for "play money" in the U.S., to stay legal. But the days of 1/2 tables are over. Now they start at 50/100, but the site hands out free chips every so often to keep you interested. Look at what happened to us there recently, in a "cash game" format:
IN THE POCKET: 4-2 offsuit
We have small cards in the Big Blind, at a table with 4-5 players. No one raises, so we get in cheap.
ON THE FLOP: 4-4-4
Are you kidding me?!?! The computer hands us the ultimate jackpot of quads! But of course, we want to maximize our winnings, so we check. A player to our left offers a modest bet of about 200. We smooth-call (as best you can do that online); other players bail out.
ON THE TURN: 2
Whoa - now we have a full house! But wait; quads beat a full house!! Things are still ridiculously perfect for us, so we check again. Now our opponent bets around 500. Of course, we call.
ON THE RIVER: 9 (may not be precise)
A card which doesn't matter to us at all. If our opponent had 9-9, he still only has a full house. We rub it in by checking again - and this time, he goes all-in for about 1,300. Of course, we call. Then we stay silent during the showdown, while he has 10-10. We make a big gain, of about 2,000 chips.
In November alone, our total from playing cash games at PokerStars has jumped by more than 22,000 chips - and the website awarded 25,000 bonus chips on top of that.
National League of Poker has become our place for Thursday night play. There are several free weekly tournaments, with a $250 prize pool on Thursday nights. We have yet to crack the top 100 this year in any of them - but now NLOP has a ring game option, and we doubled our "token" count one night playing No-Limit Omaha.
If you want good clean poker fun without the worry of losing money or getting noticed inside a casino, online sites like these are perfect for you. But be advised: not everyone's chat language is good and clean. They're still "worldly" places - but we're reminded:
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. - John 17:15
If you try hard enough, you really can come "out of the world". In 2016, that would mean turning off the TV, radio, internet and mobile devices. So much for online poker.
But Jesus did NOT ask God the Father to "rapture" His disciples out at this point. Instead, He prayed for the Father to provide them protection from the devil. He continues:
They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. - John 17:16
Jesus was "out of this world" in part because He didn't indulge in the sinful ways of this world. For the rest of us, that's a daily battle - but it's one we need to fight:
Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will receive not of her plagues.... She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her." - Revelation 18:4, 8
This world is in for destruction. But those who come out of it and follow the example of Jesus can have protection from that final judgment. We hope you'll make the right decision.
If you've read to the end of this, we thank you - and invite your comments: What's your favorite place to play poker online? And why?