A long time ago I met this highly intelligent and wise person who knew how to listen. He took pauses in his calm, low and clear voice when he found it was his turn to speak, the voice of a preacher man, smooth yet powerful. I became a admirer of this man's positive, almost spiritual attitude. He held a PHD in Physics and was director of a teaching organization and yet had a humble heart, a sort of simplicity in his manners. 

Surprised I was to learn that, in his youth, this man was also his country's national bridge champion and has now developed to be a good poker player. Wait a minute, I though. That didn't seem to fit together. Card games?? Poker???  - At that time my association with the word Poker was similar to that of the majority of the general public, that of gamblers and people looking for the easy way into riches. I saw that much more as a game of chance and was not interested in it at all, as I am still not interested in devices such as roulette's and slot machines.

That was about 8 years ago. At one particular evening, after having dinner with a few friends - the wise man in question too- and family members we decided to play some poker. I had zero knowledge and during the game had this chart in my hand with the hand strength in increasing order: high card, pair, two pairs, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, quads and straight flush. As we played he explained the basics, when to bet, when to call, when to fold, the concept of raising, reraising and such. Looking back at that particular evening I can imagine it must have been annoying for the wise man to have to deal with my play after I thought it was a good idea to play loose aggressive. 

Years went by, I forgot about poker, was busy finishing my education in Design and that's what I did, working later in my area of expertise. In the meantime, played from time to time the Zynga facebook poker shootout tournaments, even winning a couple of them. I also bought this cute little game called Governor of Poker with little cities with houses you can buy by playing poker SNG's against 3D characters. All this basic knowledge of the mechanics of the game got me interested in learning more about it. I never really considered playing for real money. One day I decided to do that and just lost my 50 dollars deposit in one go, clueless of what I was doing. 

That's when I decided to join PSO and learn the game. Three years ago, I played in a totally different manner than today and it's every time better, with ups and downs, sometimes I do pretty stupid things due to my impulsive nature but mostly my decisions are wise ones. I dream of being a professional poker player and I am studying really hard for it.  I believe there is no other way than 100% commitment and hard work to get to when I wanna be. My next deposits lasted longer, than grew a little more due to bankroll management and as some of you already knew, took a nice boost with the time vault prizes. 

Online Poker is a lonely, intensive activity. Pressing buttons and taking decisions from behind your PC, hours long, can be very demanding. I think it's very, very important to have this feeling we have here, this community feeling, sharing the knowledge, discussing the different points of view, supporting each other. 

I have been wanting to have some live meetings with other players of a similar level - not to play poker, but to go though some hand histories, share opinions on hands and strategies. I am very happy that now after many years it is going to happen on a regular basis: the wise man in the story has agreed on having a few sessions where we can discuss poker. I am very happy with that, and I hope he finds the time to participate in PSO as well. He's a good MTT player, just had a big cash finish in the Micromillions, so he knows what he's talking about. I have great respect for this man as a person and as a player. This is free of charge, as he also wants to have the interaction and learn from me, which is a new experience and hopefully a fruitful one.

I also took the habit of following the blogs and video blogs of professional players. Since last year I followed André Coimbra's 100K challenge, Felix Schneiders #GrindingItUp videos, André Akkari''s "How to become a pro" blog series, and read many blogs by other players such as Caio Pessagno, Gareth Chantler, Adrianne Rowsome, Ike Haxton and many more. 

Last week Felix was enthousiastic with a military themed graphic I made for him in Photoshop , which is nice I am glad he liked it, (By the way, Felix, if you're reading this, ask me anytime). As a result of this graph, he sent me a Karma dollar. I like this idea of karma dollar... You can't do anything with 1 $ in your bankroll of course but it's a nice 'good karma' gesture. I symbolically took 1 $ to the tables. The karma dollar Felix sent found his way into the lowest buy in possible for 6 max zoom and became 5 dollars after a careful quest of more than 150 hands. I liked that as an exercise!

Having said that, I have one karma dollar to offer to the first PSO member (non US resident) who could send me a (link or file) with a complete overview of freerolls available on FT and PS, up to Silverstar. 

Thanks for reading and good luck at the table!