Wednesday, July 21, 2010

100th Post: My Poker Journey

It's crazy that I have already reached a hundred blog posts. I enjoy blogging and thought some of you might enjoy the story of how I got started in poker. Here goes:

My Poker Journey:

One of my friends in college invited me over to play a poker game for $5. I didn't know the difference between a pair of 6s and 6 pears so I looked up the basic hand rankings and betting structures and off I went. Everyone was pretty bad and it was just a fun time. Thus began my poker career. On one of those nights, a friend said that there was a bigger game going on at a frat house. We decided to go play. I lost my buyin in maybe 4 hands when I c/c 2 pair on a 4 spades board. I remember this hand clearly because I was so intimidated at the time and had no idea WTF I was doing. I stayed for a few minutes, then went back to my room pretty dejected.

I immediately googled and read a bunch about Texas Hold'em online. I learned basic stuff like 3x raises, c-bets, etc and did fairly okay at home games after that. One day I had the urge to put money online. I put $50 on and immediately made an Excel sheet marking down times of small MTTs I could play. There was a freeroll for new depositors. It had around 5000 entrants, but maybe 80% were sitting out. I ended up getting 7th for $200 and I was so proud. I lost all the money pretty quickly after that. I deposited another 50 probably 15 times or so, losing it at NL50/100 and SNGs up to $20. Bankroll management FTW.

One day I stumbled across some site that offered to sell you the secret to winning SNGs. I paid $35 for a PDF that outlined basic strategies (tight early on, shove at the end). I could have found this on many sites online, but whatever. It was the best $35 I spent at the time! I also read a bankroll management article that I immediately followed. I started playing $10 SNGs and making meticulous records of every game I played. I think I used to play a $10 9 man, and a $10 heads up at the same time. Using the simple strategy that I learned, I built my bankroll up to around 1100. I probably ran hot early on to not bust that umpteenth deposit, but I was definitely beating the games 1 tabling. Games were soft back then.

Then came my biggest tilt session ever and the most important lesson I have ever learned in poker. I lost a few HU SNGs in a row at the 10s, and moved up to the 20s. I didn't do better there and kept moving up. My bankroll was down to 500 from 1100, when I joined a 200. On the first hand, I bluff shoved something on 22x2x board trying to rep quads. My opponent snapcalled with quads. I immediately closed everything and was in a state of shock. I also had exams starting in a few days, and I made a very good decision then to forget about poker.

I went back to poker during that summer having learnt a huge lesson about tilt. I am proud to say that I have been a bankroll nit since then and have played probably 300k hands at 1/2, but not A SINGLE HAND at 2/4. I have never since tilted and moved up stakes. Back to the story. I rebuilt my bankroll playing the 10s again, while studying on the side - reading forums, articles, etc. My bankroll was back up to around 600, when I binked a $10 turbo MTT for 1600 or so. That was pretty huge at that time. I then realized I was now up overall at poker, and I desperately wanted to not fall back into the red.

From there, it was relatively smooth-sailing. I built my bankroll from 2k to 5k playing HU, 9/45/180 mans, and MTTs. All this was on Pokerstars. I remember having a pretty bad day, and I decided to try out Full Tilt. I put 100 on there, and started at the 6.50s. I treated the 100 as a new bankroll and a personal challenge to get the roll up. I got it up to 1000 pretty fast and moved to the 11s and then the 22s. I made decent money at those and then moved back to Stars and continued to do well. It was around this time I knew I wanted to play poker for a living.

That is the story of my transformation from a home game donkey to a poker pro. I have made some great friends along the way and it has been an amazing journey.


  1. I liked the story. Mine's got a lot of similarities. I had the most ridiculously meticulous record keeping back in the day. Only difference is once I got up a bunch I stopped caring and became a deg, although I'm playing lower stakes now, mostly b/c I don't want stress and they seem vary profitable anyway

  2. Nice story man.

    Wish I'd been as sensible as you along the way. It took me at least 3 years to free myself of tilt/BR Management issues!

  3. Thank you James and James :)

  4. Nice post Boom,
    i also lost same way playing in HU loosing and increasing stakes... but lately when i tried to find out what went wrong by looking at hand history.... i found that i was unlucky that whole session and got my self on tilt ultimately...
    currently i m not playing since my bankroll is in bad shape...u mentioned about a ebook worth 35$.. can please share the book or just share the link where to find it out..
    thankx anyways for sharing all these nice info..