Thursday, October 27, 2005


I started playing no Limit Texas Holdem in March of 2005. The reason I learned how to play was simply so I wouldn't look like a fool on a golf trip where I was told to we would be playing Holdem. Being the competitive person I am I decided I needed to understand this game so I wouldn't lose all my money.

So the first step was to start watching poker on TV and pick up some reading material. Not having any idea what the heck I was doing I decided that Phil Hellmuths book was a good place to start. At borders he was the only name I recognized on the shelf. Well other than Chris Moneymaker and my perception of Moneymaker at the time was he was just some random dude that got lucky. While I would recommend other books now, Phil's book provided a good foundation. Although Phil is an ego maniac and he reminds the readers about every other page that he has NINE world series bracelets he gives some pretty solid beginner advice. He basically tells beginners to be aggressive and don't play junk hands. There are other lessons, some good some not so good, but that's what I got of the book.

About the same time I got my first poker book I also loaded Party Poker. I played the free games and got down the basic rules pretty quickly. The online free games play almost nothing like a real cash game or torney. Not willing to make a real money deposit I loaded Poker Stars and found their 45 person free money tourneys to be a little more sensible.

So with Phil, Party Poker, and some TV viewing I went on the golf trip and did ok. We played two nights and the second night I actually got 3rd place out of about 12 guys.

Then I started playing in a friends neighborhood game. The first one I got 8th of 16th, not bad I thought, but then I got top 3 in the next 3 I played(2-2nd's and a 3rd) and I thought the game was pretty easy. I have one 4th place recently but I had 4 or5 where I didn't cash or just got my money back.

Now I am really getting into the game. I then found the 2+2 forums which are a HUGE poker resource. Thousands of users talking poker, how cool is that. Unlike other boards there isn't much trolling and nonsense on 2+2. 2+2 is a publishing company which has produced some the most essential poker literature ever written. What makes the forums unique is the owners/authors actually post on the forums. Poker authors David Sklansky, Ed Miller, and Mason Malmuth post frequently. Also 2004 World Series of Poker Champ Greg Raymer used to post frequently and his posts are filled with knowledge. Its a great resource and its totally free.

So then I decide I will make a deposit at Poker Stars and see what I can do online. My main motivation was to improve my game and try to win a seat into the 2005 WSOP. Well I never won that seat but I think I have greatly improved my game. After losing the few cash games and not cashing in a few satellites I was down around 30 bucks. I have been in black since then although I'm not going to be quitting my job anytime soon.

The next big step in my poker life was my first trip to Atlantic City(JUL05). On a Friday night I decided to give the Saturday morning 100+20 tourney a shot. So I drove down in the morning and played poker for the first time in a real casino against real people. I was a little nervous but I was more worried about finding my table, the right seat and generally not looking like a total tool. I ended up busting out about 90th out of about 180 players. My final hand was KQ against AJ. I caught a K but he caught a A, oh well.

Since then I've made several trips without much success in the tourneys. I am up playing 3/6 Limit though. I have focused more on the limit in the last few months(SEP05, OCT05) although I still like No limit. My last trip to AC was during the US Poker Championships going on at the Taj Mahal. I seen Jesus Ferguson, Phil Ivy, Barry Greenstein, and Ted Forrest and several of the other top pros.