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This weekend, I played a few online tournaments, as I usually do. I play frequently on two sites: Full Tilt Poker and Doyle's Room, and less frequently on Bodog, and only once in a while on PokerStars. Each weekend, I usually play six to ten online tourneys. It usually doesn't take too long - even when I cash, I get there within about three hours.

Each year, I show a profit overall on online tournaments - somewhere between 500 and 3000 dollars. This year, though, had started off poorly. I was down about $200 heading into this weekend. While I know that variance is high enough in tournaments that one should usually expect to start off a year poorly, I still didn't like it. In 2009, I finished high in literally my first two tournaments: on Jan 7 I finished second in a 5-dollar rebuy for a $500 prize, and won an 18-player $20 buyin for $180. That started me off up over $600 for the year, and I never went negative.

So I was feeling kinda glum about the start of this year: I'd played about 50 tournaments since the start of the year and was still down about $200. But this weekend I won a biggie for me: the 30+3 Nightly 10K Guarantee on Doyle's Room. 374 players, and I finished first, knocking out 9 other players on the way to winning the $1550 first place prize. It was my biggest online tournament win since April 2008 when I won a 30+3 rebuy on Bodog for 3K. Counting the bounties I won and subtracting my entrance fee, I had over $1600 of profit on this Sunday's tournament.

I had thought I won a couple of thousand dollar prizes a year, but when I check my records I actually see that's quite rare for me. Last year I won a half dozen prizes over $500, but none over $1000. In 2008, the only one over $1000 I won was the 30+3 Bodog rebuy. In 2007, it was only the Daily Double win on FTP I booked in late Dec. Keep in mind I play mostly 5 and 10 dollar tournaments, with occasional forays into 20 and 30 dollar events. So prizes over $500 are very rare in such tournaments unless the field is over 1000 players and I can finish in the top four or so.

So maybe this is my only thousand dollar prize for the year? I hope not - I'm slowly taking higher and higher shots. I haven't lost money on online tournaments overall in any year since I started playing. Cash games I am up and down, but tournaments I am consistently up. It was nice to get this monkey off my back for 2010 and start the year off on a positive note. A big January is only a sign of greater things to come!