Online poker, if my mum knew what I was doing in the early hours of the morning she’d think I’d gone mad. 

Over the last 3 weeks I’ve had a new focus, a desire to learn as much as I can about this game.  Where players are equal regardless of social standing, physical ability or even sex.  These things always start somewhere.  My obsession began with a move.  I accepted a friend’s offer to share a house, one evening talk turned to poker. 

Now, I’ve played before; you know the type of game, playing now and then with friends when it was suggested, occasionally enjoying a stereotypical cigar whilst playing and always with enough beginners luck that allowed me to clean up pretty well.  Much to the disgust of my friends.  But I never pursued it, possibly for the fear that it was in fact luck and definitely not skill on my part but the friends I played with were equally inexperienced and unable to call my bluff.

I’d previously lived with an online poker nut, updating me on how much he’d won throughout the evening but still it didn’t tempt me.  Until this move.  I listened to stories of playing in Vegas, meeting beautiful girls, eating fantastic food and generally having an amazing lifestyle.  I admit, I was wooed, I asked him to teach me to play properly, so I’d fully understand why my opponents played the hands they did.  I wanted to read people like Matt Damon did in Rounders.  I wanted to be in gruelling, emotional and exhausting heads up battles where I’d best my opponent with a dazzling hand played to perfection.  Of course there were Bond moments thrown in for good measure.

Guidance was given, we talked through hands and betting practices, and I went off to set up a Pokerstars account under the instruction that the best way forward is to play, get practise and start grinding away.  Not about money, just about the hands.  Which is what I’ve been doing most nights since, with my $25 deposit, I can be found on the one cent two cent micro limit tables, feeling my way around the game.

Daylight hours are overwhelmed with thoughts of cards, Joe Hachem’s biography was devoured in a day or so, films featuring poker were next, Highroller showed the perils of spending your bankroll at the horse track and Lucky You points out the issues poker can cause in a players personal life.  But I wasn’t looking for that, not to earn a living from it, just to master the skill required to be considered a somewhat skilled player. 

Then I discovered the PSO.  I completed the first two lessons, dutifully took notes and entered my first tournament in the skill league.  At 03.00 (GMT) 382 players began, the first hour was brilliant, I busted out three players and built up a fair stack.  Granted the cards were most certainly in my favour, and when they went cold on me I wound up busting out in 57th place, 12 places from the money.  Happy with my performance I looked through the rest of the site and found the blog spot, having never written one before I figured this would be ideal, chart my journey to poker competency. 

So I’ll continue reading what I can get my hands on, watching past WSOP events on youtube, getting to know the language, the process and the mindset needed to bluff when I’m not getting the cards I need.
If anyone decides to read along, I’ll accept constructive criticism at any point.  I’m looking forward to the day I can remember a hand after it was played and not just being shocked that I actually won it!