It finally happened! I have been mining bitcoins for almost two years now. casually. I joined a pool in the last year (after 6 months of nothing) I am not trying to make a living with this, I just had an OpenCL card in a system that is already on 24/7. I wanted some BTC to play with. I had a bet with myself once the tiny earnings from the shared pool started to come in. Would I earn 50 BTC with the pool before finding a block? In a shared pool, you don’t collect the blocks you mine, but instead share in the blocks of all contributing members. Blocks originally were worth 50 BTC. Just recently, the payout was reduced to 25 BTC for a block. This is particularly funny because I had already mined approximately 35 BTC with the shared pool before I finally hit up on a block. Obviously I squeaked out a victory in my little experiment, but it is really just a roll of the dice.