Friday, June 17, 2011

Chapter 2 of my poker beginnings

At the beginning of each entry, I’m going to attempt to throw in some thing unrelated to the meat & potatoes of that day’s Blog. For the past 2 years I have been trying different brands of Single Malt Scotch. I am in no way an aficionado, but I know what I like and don’t like so far. I am now finishing up a bottle of Bowmore 18 year purple label which seems a bit too sweet tasting for my palate. My two favorites so far are 1) Laphroaig 18 year and 2) Lagavulin 16 year. Both were a bit smoky and dark, which I personally prefer to the lighter flavors. Since I will be getting my Pokerstars roll pretty soon, I am looking to spring for a new bottle of something that I haven’t had before. I am considering either a bottle of Highland Park or Ardberg. If anyone actually reads this and has some opinions, please feel free to let me know.
Last time we spoke, I left off soon after the Super Bowl in early 2004. I was reading up on some basic poker strategy, but hadn’t had a chance to apply it as my group of friends were still into “Halo” on X-box, which was the thing we’d all focus on when a couple would have a dinner party. Time passed and the summer went by and I became engaged to my, then, girlfriend in August. There was still no chance of playing poker and I was getting annoyed by the thought that I’d be just as poor a player in 2005, as I was in January of 2004. Then, ESPN started promos for the 2004 WSOP from that summer. I started watching whenever I got a chance. Back then, they were still showing many types of poker variations. LHE, NLHE, PLO, Razz, and some 7-card stud. Many of the players were wearing hats and shirts made by the sites that supported their entry in to different events which helped to assuage my fear of playing poker online. Where did the money go? How did I know that playing online for money was reputable? These were not questions that bothered me.
I finally looked at some different poker sites that I could deposit a little money at. I came across Paradise Poker which had caught my attention due to the island theme of it. My fiancé and I had been going back and forth about our wedding which was tentatively planned for the summer of 2005, and we were increasingly becoming concerned about the cost. I was against the idea of a wedding in which we had to invite distant family members and co-workers whom we barely knew and then spending $200 a head. I threw out to her the idea of having a getaway wedding in which we knew that only a small group of people would be able to attend. Hawaii!!! The cost would be lower, but not by much, yet we knew that everyone would have a wonderful time. How could you not in Maui?
I loved the calm feeling that I had when I saw the island beaches of Paradise poker. The poker gods were already talking to me and I had yet to plan a single hand of holdem online. Like many a naïve customer, I happily deposited $50 online through my credit card and was off to the races. I looked around a little in the lobby for the different games they had. I knew I wanted to play in a 10 person tournament (Sit N’ Go) which seemed easy enough. Just finish in the Top3 and your making some money.
Well, the problem(s) was that, first off, I didn’t even understand what was meant by the term, best 5 card hand wins. Kicker?? What in the holy hell are they talking about?
Deposit #2--$50
Raise A3o from early position and go all in on an Ace high board.
Deposit #3--$50
Cold call any 2 suited connectors and Axs hands.
Deposit #4--$50
You see where I am headed with this. After my 4th deposit and utter annoyance with the fact that I wasn’t making money at the $10 SNGs forced me to find an alternative game in which I wouldn’t lose money so fast.
After my 5th deposit of $50, I decided that I would stay away from No limit for a while. How about LHE. How bad can that be? At this point, I can't say much other than, poker became more of a blur for me until March 2005. Now, I was getting better at SNGs and was playing a little LHE ($2-4, $3-6), but the losses were just slower at that point. That’s when I had had enough. I purchased what can only be described as the LHE version of the bible, Ed Miller’s “Small Stakes Hold’em”, and focused solely on playing LHE cash games. Each session was a live or die feeling as I had no clue about the long run, variance, EV (or whether I was +/-), proper sample size, or how players can run hot/cold. More importantly I didn’t know the true definition of “tilt” even though I was probably on it most of the time in one form or another. My ability to remain focused without tilt was challenged even more due to the fact that I wasn’t keeping any detailed records of how I was doing other than a basic balance and obviously I was not practicing good Bankroll management whatsoever. I was getting ready to fly to Hawaii for my wedding and I thought that it would be a good idea to take along the Miller and a few other poker books to read while on the beach.

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