Just wanted to say what an absolutely fantastic site this is, and well done to all who had a part in creating it. I’m new to online poker, heck I’m new to poker in general other than watching the pro’s on tv who make it look so easy! But I have to say, with all the lessons and the knowledge check quiz at the end of each segment, I’ve learned and improved my game tenfold!

 


I’ve been registered with pokerstars a little over a week, and got a feel for the game at the ‘play money’ tables. Of course, doing well on that I thought I might chance my arm at the cash tables, needless to say that didn’t go quite so well. My losses were minimal though, not investing more than I felt comfortable with. I dusted myself down, and found the freeroll tournaments – I was over the moon, able to enter a tourney with no risk, what could be better?


It took a while to adjust to the ferocity which I hadn’t seen before, not early in the blinds but during the midsection (though I did begin to believe there was a side prize pool set for the one who could get all their chips into the pot first lol). The poker school open leagues have been fantastic, and so far I’ve cashed out once in 88th place – not great, I know but still, I felt proud of myself being such a novice. It was then that I got serious about studying the courses and taking the tests, learning that KT UTG isn’t as strong as I once believed it to be. I began to understand the importance of position, raising rather than calling – I might want to see a flop, but I know the limpers do too, so why give them a freebie? I took this knowledge to the tables and managed to do well in several satellite events to the weekly round 2 tournaments – and though I didn’t perform last Saturday, on Sunday I went out about half way through the bubble. I was disappointed, but pleased that I went quite deep and gave myself a target for next weekend (of which I have registered for both Saturday and Sunday).


Last night, I sat through a couple more tests, and found this morning a msg in my emails congratulating me and giving me a ticket to enter a $3.30 MTT! Wait, you did me the favour by telling me in detail how to play the game, and now you’re rewarding me for doing it too! I was speechless, but it didn’t stop me registering straight into a no limit hold em tournament with a prize pool of $4k!

I also sat through a satellite to the VIP club month $1 mill tourney and fizzled out somewhere in the 3000’s – the blinds go up crazy quick and before I knew it I was down to a handful of BB’s. I’d left it too late to move in to steal binds as I priced each and every one of my opponents in and low and behold I was beaten.

I felt down, but it really served as a learning curve, teaching me there’s no shame in playing tight early, so long as you’re willing to shove all in in the right spots. That, I found out during my game for a share of the $4k tournament.

I’d watched Chris Moneymaker’s evaluation of one guys tournament, and learned at what spots and hands the guy should have raised with because his chip stack was bleeding away. I tried to bear that in mind whilst in it, and though when I started to dwindle, a pocket pair of aces managed to triple me up to 10k. On the cusp of the bubble though, I’d been unable to develop my stack, rather just managing to keep my head above water. 234 places cashed out, and I have to admit I started to keep one eye on the participants when I saw I was within the last 500. I know that’s wrong, popping the bubble isn’t what’s important, getting to the final table and winning it is, but I couldn’t help it.

The blinds were threatening to cripple me though, and I had at best a third of anyone else’s stack, but when I had any part of a hand, 8/6s and worse, I made a move best I could, holding my breath but it seemed everyone had tightened up, or respected that it seemed I only played premium hands because they folded it to me, no matter the position I raised from.

I’d almost made it through the bubble, but I still had a short stack of around 8k, and when I saw a pocket pair of 10’s in my hand UTG, I pushed. One opponent called, and to my dismay I saw he had pocket aces… I was out, in my mind it was over, so close but so far. To me I’d made the right move, but I wished I hadn’t.

It was a dry board after the flop, neither of us increasing our pairs, and the turn didn’t help either. But then when I saw a 10 come out on the river I almost jumped out my chair! I’d doubled up! 17k with the ante’s meant I was there providing I didn’t make a silly mistake. I didn’t, though I did let my chips dwindle somewhat, however, I’d made it to the money! Players started falling quite fast then and 234 went to 190 within 5 minutes. But then I did make my fatal error – UTG again, I found QJs, I pushed all in, and got 2 quick callers – both pocket pairs. I had 2 overcard’s against one of them, but the other had QQ – I needed 2 J’s to stay in… unfortunately they didn’t come up, but I finished 188th and cashed $5.60 – not a massive amount, but I was pleased with my performance nonetheless.


Finally, feeling good about my game, I tried for a third time to get through the satellite event to get to the VIP $1 million, and low and behold, with a little luck during some all-in showdowns, I made it with over 27k in my stack. So, all in all, today was a good day, and had it not been for the free ticket I’d gained for passing the MTT course, it wouldn’t nearly have been as good. So a huge thank-you to this awesome site, and to all newcomers like me I offer one seldom piece of advice – study those courses religiously, impart that advice to the table and you’ll see your game improve exponentially. Try not to put your tournament at risk by moving all-in if you don’t have the stack you’re moving against covered, unless it is unavoidable. Don’t let emotion judge your play and always weigh up your decisions properly.


But thankfully, there are more experienced players here to ask advice from, and what I’ve said there I’ve learnt from the courses anyway.


To all those who’ve qualified for the VIP $1million, hopefully I’ll see you there, got plenty of time to practice before hand, so hopefully I’ll provide some competition for the top spots!