re: Poker & depositing your own money for poker?
Some great comments above, that I completely agree with.
I spent a lot of time freerolling in spare time and it was very easy to build up a bankroll at most sites 5-10 years ago (pretty hard now), though lost money at 3 or 4 sites that went bust ($20-$300) -none deposited. Tropical poker had $10 worth of buyins in freerolls every day, so perhaps wasn't surprising!
I would split what I have won (and since spent!) - 50% promos, 25% bonuses, 25% playing winnings (and had a 50% roi on many sites for micro-sngs)
Importance of promotions for the non-pro cannot be overstated and I'll give some examples:
Merge (carbon and poker.c ) when it first became popular regularly offerred instant deposit bonuses- deposit $500 and get 10-20% instantly (plus depositors tourny ticket) - you could withdraw deposit and be left with the $50-100 to play with (in total must've made $2-3k from them mostly because of this!)
Many years ago Bet365
gave me a $109 ticket for depositing $50 (withdrew winnings of $300 and deposit a day later!) and GNUF and a few others used to offer weekly $10k freerolls that would attract 1-2k players
Full Tilt made me the most - a lot in bonuses and I got very lucky stumbling across a 'testing' role for the Academy there which made me $100-500 a month for a year or so (probably also made $50-100 rakeback over the period and another $200 from the tickets bought with points)
Only ever played in spare time, though used to be 3-4 hours a day in evenings (now I only come out rarely around holidays to hunt for decent promos)
It's good to see CC still provide decent freerolls- my advice would be take advantage of them whilst you still can to anyone looking to start playing poker for fun/ in their spare time (any exclusive freerolls with limited entry, eg titan just invited me to a $2k freeroll for writing 20 characters on their facebook page!)- industry has taken a battering, but signs that it is reviving
You can earn more by accessing VIP freerolls (by playing a minimum amount with rb and trying not to lose too much!) on a lot of sites as well which would be the next 'stage' to earn money if you want to be a bit more serious about it (and have the time)
Also still worth keeping an eye out for decent promotions- Pokerstars
offer some decent tickets with deposits every now and then, 888 have occasional freerolls (played 2 $10k freerolls without any luck yesterday/ today with no requirements), 32red have a freeroll tomorrow night that's worth playing too
Some bonus offers also worth the 'risk' eg FT 'take2' promo if it ever returns- generally you can play $5 rake and get $25 cash, so if you lose $10, you will still be $15 up)
Anyway that's my new year's advice for anyone interested in 'bonus-whoring' - if you want to be a pro, then it's a completely different ball game and I cannot be of much help!