This is a quick guide I'm throwing together that falls under the same category as most of my threads: answering shit that I keep getting asked over and over again so that I can just link people. The topic is people who are starting off with a small bankroll that are new in Internet NLHE and want to make the most of their experience.
Step 1: Make a small deposit of at least $50 to PokerStars and get the deposit Bonus detailed here: http://www.flopturnriver.com/pokerstars.php
Of the two major poker sites available to Americans, PokerStars has the smallest stakes No-Limit Hold'em (NLHE) tables which is where you're going to start off playing. The deposit Bonus is 150% up to $75 (on $50 deposit) and requires ten times the Bonus amount in VPPs to clear the Bonus, and you have six months to do so. That means that if you deposit $50, your Bonus will be for $75 and you'll need to earn 750 VPPs over the next six months to release the Bonus, which isn't going to be hard to do. This Bonus will take a while to clear, but since you'll barely be paying any rake at 2nl and 5nl, it's not such a big deal.
Step 2: Grind $0.01/0.02 and buy in with $2 instead of $5 until you get to $150.
It's important to buy in with $2 instead of $5 at $0.01/0.02 because you're going to want to get used to 100bb effective stacks, which is the industry standard at the moment. Much later on in your poker career as you grow as a player into mid-stakes and high-stakes you might want to learn how to short-stack NLHE and/or how to play with deeper stacks, but for know we want to concentrate on play with ~100bb effective stacks since that's what you'll be doing most of the time.
Step 3: Grind $0.02/0.05 and buy in with $5 (not $10) until you get to $300. Grind $0.05/0.10 until you get to $600.
Similar to step 2. Now you will occasionally be getting a VPP here or there, but you don't need to worry about it. You will clear more VPPs in a week of $0.10/0.25 than you will in the entire time you spend at all lower stakes combined, but you need to grind through the stakes to learn the basics and cultivate some patience, discipline, and self-control to make sure you'll succeed at larger stakes.
Step 4: If you haven't cleared your deposit Bonus at PokerStars, play $0.10/0.25 until you do. Then, get Rakeback (very, very, very important) and the deposit Bonus at Full Tilt Poker and move your $600+ over there to play $0.10/0.25.
The Rakeback and Bonus will give you a considerable edge in building your bankroll at Full Tilt Poker while you play through low stakes.
Step 5: Once you get $1500, make the move up to $0.25/0.50, and once you get up to $3500-$4000, move on up to $0.50/1.00.
This is the part where you just move up through the stakes, improve at poker, and grind your ass off.
Step 6: Once you are playing enough volume at 50nl or 100nl or 200nl to consistently make Platinum Star VIP status on PokerStars and you have cleared the Full Tilt deposit Bonus, move your bankroll back over to PokerStars.
Once you are playing this volume, the bonuses at PokerStars are similar in value to the Rakeback you get at Full Tilt, but in the meantime you're able to work on achieving Supernova VIP status, which is much, much better than Full Tilt's Rakeback.