I feel like I need to make a post about my experience in poker before I can start making other posts. You may be able to tell by the fact that it has been twenty days (I'm not good at math) since my first post that I have been very excited about the prospect of writing about my poker experience. I have had some other things that I wanted to write about, but I didn't do it because I felt like I needed to make this post first. So here it is! Ta da!

The first poker experience that I remember is playing in my basement with two friends of mine when we were probably around the ages of 12 to 14 or so. We played for jelly beans that we had from Easter. None of us knew the rules very well, but I think that I may have won *cough* more than my share just by telling my friends that my hands were better than theirs. "Yes! A straight beats a full house, duh. How many jelly beans do you have left?" Hmmm, kind of a foggy memory, heh ... Moving right along ... For some reason my friends didn't want to play much after that first time, dunno why.

Other than that one time that I remember playing as a kid, I never played until after the Chris Moneymaker boom. I would watch poker being played on TV when I could find it. I was always very interested even though other people who I knew found it completely boring. I probably started hearing about Pokerstars and Full Tilt while watching these kinds of shows, and I made accounts on both of these sites in 2008, but I ended up playing on Pokerstars. It's "funny" (not funny ha ha)  to think about it now, but I always kind of got a sort of sketchy feeling about Full Tilt that I didn't get from Pokerstars, and that is truely why I ended up playing on Pokerstars instead of Full Tilt. I have to admit, though, that the Full Tilt commercials on television were really cool. I haven't seen any Full Tilt or Pokerstars commercials in the U.S. in the past few years (because we can't play on those sites here) so I don't know if they have good commercials now a days.

Unfortunately, the fact that I made my accounts in 2008 does not mean that I have a lot of poker experience, lol. From the time that I created my accounts until April of 2011 when Black Friday happened I was definitely just a "recreational" player with poker dreams. I was always working two jobs, 7 days a week, 80+ hours a week, also trying to go to school some of the time, etc. It was hard to find time to play poker when I wasn't tired. I was terrible at cash games, but I found that I was able to do well in 27 player S&Gs. They only lasted a short time, so I could play one after working a 12 hour day. I think I was able to do decently well at them because I was nearly mindlessly aggressive,  and had some luck. It was only "nearly" mindless aggression because I had read a little bit about the idea of shoving when down to 10 to 15 blind stack level. I only had one speed from the first blind level on, lol. I think that the fact that I used this exact playing style when I tried a couple of times to play cash games is part of the reason that I got crushed in cash games. (Just to be clear, I'm not recommending this style of play, lol) I learned about the Pokerstars S&G promotion called "The Battle of the Planets", and I made it a goal to try to play at least 20 sit and goes a month to try to place on the leaderboards. With my work schedule I found it quite difficult to play 20 games a month, but I actually placed second one month on the Mars Division ($3 to $4.99 buy in) Low Orbit Leader Board that  netted me a nice $230 prize which I promptly cashed out. From after Black Friday until around August of 2013 I kind of gave up on poker, although I would watch poker videos on youtube and on pokerstars.tv sometimes.

I did try to play live at a casino back in October of 2012. The amount of success that I had that night was not great. Uhhmm, some might say that it was specifically lacking in any success at all, but I did win my first live hand before ultimately losing $400, lol. Here is the story of the hand that I won: This was a ten person table, and I was in a late position, although I don't remember the exact position. Someone ahead of me raised to something like $12 (this was the normal opening raise at this table), the guy to my right who had just joined the table and open shoved on his first hand played and showed AQ after everyone folded makes the call, it's to me and I have AKo. I had found in earlier hands that everyone at the table wanted to play with me *for some reason* and it didn't really matter what amount I was raising: I would still get a ton of callers or someone else raising (heh). I had started playing very passively. I called with my AK. The flop came Q high, I don't remember the other two cards exactly, but they were a couple of low types. The original raiser checked, the guy to my right bet some amount like $15. I had no plan for the hand and I don't think I even considered what hand this guy might have. I just basically knew that I had two over cards to the board, and that's about it ... so I call. Original raiser folds. Turn comes a K. Guy to my right checks, and I am shaking like a leaf and can't even pick up my chips or think about how much is in the pot or how much I have in each little stack of chips in front of me. I literally just numb finger pulled out a chunk of chips from my stack, pushed them toward the middle, and said "that much", the dealer counts them and it was $35, the guy to my right calls. The river is a blank that I don't remember, the guy checks and I am shaking too much to do anything and I check too. He had something like Q7 for one pair so I win! lol ... Eventually I got felted at that table, but I had sat down with $200 and still had another bullet to spend. I got up from that table and took a walk around the casino to try to relax. When I went back to the poker room some of the guys who were still at the table I had been sitting at were *very nice* to me, and pointed out that there was still an open seat if I wanted to sit there. I sat at a different table and lost another $200, lol. The last $80 I lost was in a hand where I had AA, a guy made it $12 or so, I raised to $30, and he flat called. The flop was JJ5, I think I was in the blinds and I just open shoved my last $50, he called with QQ and the river was a Q so I can say that I lost because of bad beats ... heh.

This brings us around to last summer. I was between jobs, and living in a motel where you pay weekly (yeah, go me). I had a job lined up (the one I'm doing now), but it wasn't going to start until October. I originally thought that I would be out of work for less than a month, but because I am so great at planning ahead it turned out to be over two months. I was trying to figure out stuff to do to keep busy, and I started to play some play money games on Pokerstars. I wanted to play a large MTT because I had plenty of time to sit there all day long, but I wasn't finding any to play. Sunday rolled around and I just happened to see that there was a play money MTT about to start up called the PSO Power Play. I wanted to play in it, but I didn't have the password. The tourney was starting in about a half hour so I tried to find out if it was something that I might be able to play in or how to get the password. I found out that I was too late to get the password for that week, but I planned on getting it the next week by watching the Sunday Special live training session. That's how I got started watching the live training here at PSO. I had already started my PSO membership the previous December (probably after realizing how bad I was at poker when I tried to play live at that casino), but I had not been a participating member at all.

I remember when I was watching that first training session I felt like I had found the holy grail, lol. I swear it really felt like someone pouring cool water over my parched desert of a poker brain, and I was just trying to absorb it all. I had watched tons of poker videos on youtube, and hours upon hours of poker shows on TV or pokerstar.tv, but none of that compares to the live training sessions, archive videos, or other stuff on this site. I wont go on too much about how great it is, but I will just say I am so happy to have found this site, and I would recommend it to any poker player trying to better their game.

That pretty much brings us up to date. I still work basically every day, and a ton of hours a week so it's hard to find time to play when I am well rested, but I have started playing for real money on a site in the U.S. which I guess isn't legal. It's so small that apparently the Feds haven't decided to crush them under their boot yet. I'm playing there to try to assess and increase my skill level more than to try to make money at this point (although I also like money). I will post more about this later.

Thanks for reading.