Wednesday, April 14, 2004

And so it begins...

Online poker life began for me in June of 2003. With great anticipation I deposited $30 into a new account at Ultimatebet and just new that riches would come my way. Since I didn’t have a freakin clue what I was doing I decided to take baby steps and start at the .01/.02 tables. Of course the worst thing that could happen to me did. I started to win. Since the limits were of the micro variety I wasn’t winning much, but still I was winning. Since my wife could see no value in wasting money on gambling, my time at the tables was limited. After the first 3 weeks I had racked up 15 hours of play and a .12 profit. I know what your thinking… “Ooooh a whole 12 cents”. Let’s put this in context though, I was earning 12 BB/hour, not too shabby.

With that I decided to take the next step to .25/.50 and play some single-table tournaments as well as multi-table. I was averaging a 4th place finish at the single-table tourneys so that wasn’t making me any money. The multi’s were also a losing proposition. My ring games though were at a little better than break even level, so at this point the second worst thing that can happen, happened. I read Sklansky’s Texas Hold’ Em for Advanced Players. I didn’t buy the book, but borrowed it from a friend so I absorbed as much info as I could and then had to give it back. I then mistakenly began to play the way I thought the book told me too. At these levels playing that tight only brought on bad beat after bad beat and I wasn’t taking advantage of more aggressive yet weaker starting hands. I dilligently made a chart in excel of the starting hand rankings, color-coded it based on seat position, and even kept a copy on my PDA for quick reference.

Although this killed my game for a few months it did teach me the value of good starting hands. After incorporating my own style to the mix and moving up to the .50/1.00 limit a profit began to build in my account. The play still seemed pretty tough to beat on some nights but by January of 2004, I had enough money in my account to start trying out other poker sites. Using the many deposit bonuses available I tried: The Gaming Club, Royal Vegas Poker, Pacific Poker, Absolute Poker, and Party Poker. While each site had its merits, (except Pacific Poker), I found myself playing mostly at Party with a night at Absolute thrown in every now and then. The play at Ultimatebet just seemed harder to overcome so I all but stopped playing there.

In March I discovered this whole other world know as “blogging”. I came across it quite by accident when searching for poker material online. It was through these wondrous postings that I heard of the amazing and spectacular program called Poker Tracker. I had been saving my hand histories from the beginning of play but I never had the patience to sit and go through them. With the use of Poker Tracker my poker life had taken a major shift. The only problem though, was I had only saved the hands I actually put money into voluntarily at Ultimatebet. Since this skewed all statistics these hand histories were useless to me. Fortunately, Party Poker doesn’t let you save them in that manner and so I deleted all the Ultimatebet hands and loaded up the Party ones. I had only been on Party since the end of January and had a little over 1,000 hands to start my self-analysis of play.

I have since built my had database to 2,088 hands as of April 14, 2004. With the puchase of a new home looming and the need for extra money I had to cut my bankroll down to the minimum life support of $300. This affords me what I believe to be the required bankroll at the .50/1.00 limit. I also thought that since I need the extra cash I would siphon off all profits for the next month or two before building my bankroll to the next level. To wrap this up I currently (as of two days ago) play two tables at a time exclusively at Party Poker. The money just seems to come easier for me there. Since I have a “real” job I play every chance I get but that usually is around 10 hours per week.

And so I begin a quest to offer my own blog of poker experiences…………