And God said, Let there be poker, and there was poker.
I sat down at a Blackjack table and was dealt three cards. That was in 2004 at a Lake Tahoe casino, and I was drunk. It turned out to be “Let ‘Em Ride Poker” and I decided to continue playing.
After that holiday I played it at online casinos for several months, until one day in October I came across the poker link on Betfair’s main site. I figured that as I already knew the hand rankings and had some idea of the likelihood of each hand occurring that it couldn’t be too hard! I read the instructions and sat down at a $1/2 NL short-handed table, which probably wasn’t the ideal place to start.
October 17th, 2004: -$251
I found the limit tables the next day and decided that they would be a safer place to learn on:
October 18th, 2004: -$11
October 19th, 2004: -$102
October 20th, 2004: -$143
So after four days, I was over $500 down but I remember being very confident that I was going to make money at poker. In fact, I told two of my mates that night at the gym precisely that, although they didn’t believe me.
However during the next week I didn’t have a single losing day, making a total of $881. I ended the month with a small profit:
October, 2004: +$287
I bought a load of poker books, and continued playing nothing but 4 tables of $1/2 limit for the next few months with encouraging results:
November, 2004: +$560
December, 2004: +$2,057
January, 2005: +$579
February, 2005: +$928
I certainly wasn’t a great poker player, but purely by being selective of starting hands seemed to be enough of an edge over the other players in order to guarantee a profit each month.
I was a regular reader of the Betfair poker forum during this time, but had no experience of tournament poker. From what I read, it seemed the majority of players concentrated mainly on STTs/MTTs so I decided to give them a try. I entered my first full-handed £5 STT and was lucky enough to win that. I then tried a £10 one and came first in that too.
I continued with full-handed low-stake (mainly $11) STTs for the next few months and at some point I moved most of my play over to Party Poker.
March, 2005: +$2,049
April, 2005: +$1,142
May, 2005: +$1,806
June, 2005: +$496
July, 2005: +$654
Thanks to the general low standard of play at these stakes, it’s not too hard to grind out a regular, albeit small, profit just by applying a pretty simple robotic style of play.
For the next three months I moved up to $22/$33 STTs, now playing 6 at a time:
August, 2005: +$3,486
September, 2005: +$2,878
October, 2005: +$2,289
So, one year on with almost $20k profit I was certainly hooked on poker. In fact at this point I would go so far as to say I was addicted. This may be an advantage when it comes to making money, but if you’re not careful then it can have a detrimental effect on other aspects of your life. Discipline, and not just at the table, is probably the most important trait that a successful poker player needs. I’ll add more to this topic in a later post.
Anyway, it was at this point that a good bit of fortune led me to the NL cash tables. [To be continued...]