October 22, 2010
First, if you haven't already, you can get some of this story that I may have left out on Chuck (Danzasmack) and Joe Tall's podcast: HeyBall.
My poker story begins, like so many others, in dorms around Freshmen year of college, playing .5/.10 games and $5 SNGs.Â I vividly remember one hand where I must've called a bet with a gutshot on the flop, hit the turn, and just check/called the turn and river with the virtual nuts.Â Probably 68 on a 2597K board and being berated by another student (surprise he later turned out to be a huge asshole).
During the following summer, I was bored without work before my first job got started, so I deposited $100 into Pacific Poker, fully intending to never deposit again if I lost the money.Â I grinded out SNGs that summer.Â I would go to work during the day, Celeste (my wife now, then girlfriend) would work at night at the Pepperdine call center.Â Since she didn't have a car, I would bring her to school and sit in the library for 3 hours grinding.Â I found texasholdem-poker.com and started reading/posting on the forums there.Â I think this decision was probably the most influential of any in my early poker career, since I was able to stay afloat and kept learning every day with the help of those forum members.Â It's too bad that forum is basically dead.Â
I do remember at one point only having enough for 1 more $5 SNG and the dreaded, "well, here it goes" feeling.Â Luckily, I won that tournament and never looked back.Â From there, I moved onto Party Poker $25NL games and was increasing my bankroll slowly.Â At some point I won a 30man SNG for about $300, still remember that feeling!Â At some point I moved to limit hold'em (listen to HeyBall for details about what attracted me to the variance free world of limit poker!) and continued to move my roll up over $1K playing 1/2 and 2/4.Â Â
At some point I tried my hand at live poker, driving up form Malibu to Chumash, near Santa Barbara (since I was <21 at the time and Chumash being an 18+ gambling establishment).Â I had $160 in my wallet, with $100 devoted to a 2/4 limit game.Â I didn't even know the dress code for a casino, so it was probably the only time that year I even put on sneakers outside of labs.
I sat down, Celeste behind me (yeah I was that guy) and proceeded to burn off about $85 in the next 3 hours.Â I was devastated.Â Feeling hot and flushed, we grabbed some dinner at the nearby cafe or whatever they had there.Â But, I was completely bummed.Â When you're a freshman or sophomore, $100 is a lot of money and I pretty much flushed it down the drain.Â But, I got a little pep talk from the lady, sat back with $60 I never intended to gamble with and proceeded to cash out that night a net loser of about $10.Â At one point I was even all-in 3 way with A9 on something like an ATQxx board and was so sure I was going home.
Fortunately, things improved in my poker career.Â For a few months I was playing live poker at Hollywood Poker, mostly 6/12.Â My results were poor for a long time (not a real sample though - about breakeven or so) andÂ I eventually was playing 15/30 within 6-8 months.Â The money kept flowing for the next few years and I was playing 2/4 or so at various sites when the UIGEA hit.Â I moved my money to PokerStars and the VIP rewards swept me up. It was the first time in my life that I decided to get very serious about poker.Â I would be graduating school in the next year and was hoping to turn poker into a monthly side income to pay for some student loans.Â I started posting on 2+2 and thinking about poker a lot.Â To motivate myself, I decided to aim for a VPP (FPP actually) goal, a new Canon digital SLR.Â Photography has always been an interest, so a "free" camera was a great motivator.Â
To Be Continued...