Hey guys!

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I've done a huge amount of traveling over July, so I didn't play as much poker as I would have in a regular month. I hope you're all having a great summer and having some good luck at the tables

I took my first trip to England and Ireland in mid-July and then was in Toronto this past weekend for the Pokerstars VIP Club Live event. I'll be sure to post some pictures and a blog about that event in my next post, but I just haven't finished going through the pictures yet.

Man, I didn't realize how expensive England (London specifically) was going to be. All of my friends here kept telling me that it was going to be tough to get a lot of money from our Canadian dollar, but my wallet is still hurting...HAHA

After I got back, I had a good poker discussion with a friend of mine about limit poker, rake and whether the games could ever be profitable. So, out of that discussion, the big thing I'm doing with poker right now is trying to settle a bet with that friend about how much I can make by playing the lowest microstakes possible. We have a set goal that I have to try and hit between now and the end of the month just by playing 2 cent/4 cent limit poker.

I can't tell you the last time I played at those stakes and it was really odd at first to be buying-in for 80 cents a table. At first, I had to tell myself over and over again not to look at the overall money I was betting, but break everything down in increments of bets. Still, it was a lot more tempting to make a negative EV play when the cost was only 2 cents as opposed to the stakes I normally play.

Like I've said before, I've been playing online poker for over 15 years now and I have to admit that I had a pre-determined attitude about what the play would be like at those stakes. In the past, these stakes would have been purely for people who just wanted to splash around and be goofy with poker. Either that or for people that were completely on tilt, frustrated with the lack of money in their account and trying to get rid of their remaining balance as fast as possible so they can deposit and start fresh.

Sooooo, I thought that's what I would be running into when I started playing the lowest stakes again this week. Man, have things ever changed! All of a sudden, I'm finding players that know exactly how to implement check-raises, slow-play big hands and even value-bet big draws. The level of knowledge that some of these players possessed was a lot higher than I expected!

In six days, I've managed to come out ahead 5 out of 6 days, but I've admittedly had to work a lot harder to make gains than I thought I would. The one day that I lost was a day full of bad beats and being second-best in a lot of hands, so nothing I could really do. But that's something I can live with...after a couple shouts at my laptop...LOL

Now, I'm not saying that there aren't complete donkeys or fish at the tables at these stakes because there certainly are, but for the most part, they come and go so quickly because the tables are full of players that have a decent to good amount of skill and decision-making.

I guess that's why a site like PokerSchoolOnline is more important than ever to make sure that if you are dipping your toes into real money action, you're doing so with as much knowledge as possible.

The refreshing part about the higher skill level is that I'm finding myself enjoying the challenge of it a lot more than if I were to be playing at these stakes in the past. In the past, it really would have been like playing bingo and just seeing what pre-flop hand improved the best, but it's not that way at all anymore.

As long as you played straight-forward ABC poker in the past, you were bound to be a winner. But everyone knows ABC poker now and quite a few of these players even know advanced strategies and are using them against you.

So, I'll keep updating from time to time on how the challenge is going and at the end of the month, I'll give the results on how the bet went. If I had to guess, I'm going to lose the bet because I set the bar too high. I guess this is a great lesson for me: Never underestimate your opponent.

Good luck at the tables!