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3 March 2014
By Aaron Todd
Last Friday, after waiting almost three years, more than 27,500 Americans logged in to their banks to see their Full Tilt Poker balances had been deposited by the Garden City Group into their accounts.
While some folks are still waiting (people who disputed their balance, or have trickier issues such as affiliate payments mixed in to their player accounts), approximately $76 million has been returned to American poker players, representing a huge influx of money into the poker economy.
For many people, this is kind of like "found money." Ever find a $20 bill in the pocket of a pair of pants you hadn't worn in a long time? It's a pretty sweet feeling, and a lot of times, you end up splurging a bit with that money in a way that you might not have otherwise. Maybe you buy a loved one some flowers, or treat yourself to a nice lunch instead of eating at home.
Well, for some people, this found money is a life-changing amount. Imagine being Blair Hinkle, who finally received a seven-figure payout after winning the FTOPS Main Event just days before Black Friday.
So what should you do with your Full Tilt Poker money? Here's are 10 ways to use your new-found funds.
10. Less than $10: Buy lottery tickets
Let's be real here: You probably forgot that you had money coming to you, until you received an e-mail from the Garden City Group last year. You filled out the forms, then forgot again until the deposit showed up in your account. This wasn't that big a day for you, but if you parlay this "windfall" into an eight- or nine-figure payday, well, that will be memorable. Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot is $240. Have at it.
9. $10-$25: Buy a poker book
Brush up on your game with a good poker book. If you haven't read Doyle Brunson's Super System yet, pick up the second edition. Or if you want to play more tournaments, pick up Harrington on Hold'em. Invest some of that money in improving your game.
8. $25-$50: Buy a nice bottle of wine
If you're anything like me, you rarely spend more than $15 on a bottle of wine. Make a nice dinner at home and use this found money to surprise someone you love with a nicer-than-normal bottle of wine to accompany the meal.
7. $50-$100: Buy baby a new pair of shoes
You might as well celebrate your windfall in the most cliché way possible. For what it's worth, I'll be using my $52.04 to buy myself a new pair of running shoes.
6. $100-$200: Buy into a $1/$2 game
Now we're talking. Take your Full Tilt money, visit a local casino and sit down at a $1/$2 no-limit Hold'em game. Play until you bust or run it up to $500. And make sure you have fun while you do it. This is found money, after all.
5. $200-$500: Buy into a poker tournament
Most casinos with respectable poker rooms run tournaments with buy-ins in this range. Find a good one, take a day and go play. Once again, fun is the order of the day. Hopefully you'll make a deep run and take it down for a five-figure score. But if you don't, always remember that there was a time when you didn't think you'd be getting this money.
4. $500-$1,000: Buy home game supplies
If you don't already have the supplies to run a top-tier home game, now's the time to stock up on supplies. Get yourself some high-quality poker chips, a poker table and a few setups of plastic cards, like Copags or KEMs.
3. $1,000-$5,000: Trick out your electronics
Maybe you need a new computer. Or maybe it's time to upgrade that 40-inch plasma TV to a 70-inch LED screen. Regardless of what it is, take advantage of the money and splurge on yourself.
2. $5,000-$10,000: Take a family vacation
Vacations aren't cheap. There's the cost of flights, hotels, meals, and if you're crazy enough to bring the family to Disney, the tickets to the theme parks. Your Full Tilt money may allow you to take a trip you might not take otherwise. Take advantage and create memories that will last a lifetime.
1. $10,000 or more: Play in the WSOP Main Event
What better way to celebrate the return of your poker funds than by playing in the world's biggest poker tournament? This year will likely be the biggest since 2010, with a $10 million guarantee for first place and an influx of folks like you, who are suddenly flush with cash from a long- defunct online poker account. Take your shot and see if you can be the one who bucks the odds and wins the bracelet, the title and a boatload of cash.
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