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The Story Of J

Inspired by GCox's recent post explaining his origins in online poker, I thought I would do the same. It will give some insight into who I am, how I got where I am, and hopefully encourage some micro limit or losing players to keep at it.

As a little kid, I learned to play card games, including blackjack, from my grandparents. As a kid, around 13 years old, probably, my friends and I started to gamble, playing 5 card draw, primarily. This went on (and off) for years until high school ended, and I was in college. Oddly, in college I didn't play any poker. I did play a little bit of blackjack at the Niagara Falls casino (I went to school in Buffalo), but beyond that and table games, I was not a poker player.

One year, wifey Kim and I (then girlfriend Kim) took a weekend vacation to Foxwoods. After playing the usual table games with my girl, I decided that on Sunday morning, I'd try some poker. I sat down with $60 or so at a 1-3 spread 7-card stud game, never having played stud in my life. My table didn't believe me at first, but I guess my play convinced them somewhat. After an hour or so, I was down about $40 without having won a single hand. While I lost, I was in love. Here was a game that only cost $40 for over an hour of entertainment. Compare that with the table games which were $10 minimum per hand. Also, I was playing against other players, so I COULD beat the game. I also had the early insight that by playing tight, I could make my money last even longer.

But that was that, and I didn't play poker again for a while. I moved into the city, and had plans to meet my good pal Platinum out at a bar. I was my usual lazy self and didn't really feel like going. To make matters worse, it was 10pm, and it didn't make sense for me to leave before 11. I flipped on the TV and looked for something to watch. Suprisingly, I stumbled upon the World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel. It must have been the first season, because this was before the big poker boom. I remember thinking to myself, "Who the hell is going to watch poker on TV for two hours straight!" I expected it to be like watching billiards, darts, or lumberjack competitions on ESPN. I'd leave it on for a second because of novelty, but I'd soon be bored.

One hour and 15 minutes later, I was frantically setting up my VCR to record the 2nd hour of the show. When I got home at 3am, I fumbled with the remote in a drunken stupor and resumed the show.

Over the next few weeks, I set my VCR to record the 2-4am replay of the WPT, and devoured every second of it. I was officially in love.

Watching is one thing. But I was aching to get into the real thing. I think I began playing at Mikey Aps' home games. I placed (if not won) my first game there, playing for peanuts. But his place was deep into Queens and wasn't conducive to regular games. That, and I wanted to play often. Very often.

Enter Golden Palace Poker. If you read blogs, you've definitely heard of a lot of sites. Golden Palace is apparently the background dancer of poker sites. It's been around for a long time, but it's no Party Poker in size, Full Tilt in reputation, or Titan in fishiness. But it WAS advertised every morning on Howard Stern, and this was enough to convince me that the online game had to be somewhat legit.

At first, I played with play money. After a couple of sessions, I quickly saw that this was nothing like real poker. I needed something on the line to make me (and my competition) play with some level of restraint. But I was a law student, with little expedible cash to use toward an online poker site.

One of the great things about Golden Palace, which I suggest for any budding Internet player, is the cheap options. You can deposit for as little as $20, and play games for as cheap as .02/.04 limit, or .10 SNGs. They even have .04 freeroll SNGs going all of the time. I entered $20 and promised to myself that I would only deposit $20 per month. I rationalized it as the same as playing video games, which I would pay $40 for and play for about 2 months before getting bored.

I had some luck with SNGs, but by the end of the month, I would regularly be out of dough. If I lost most of my money early in $5 SNGs, I'd switch to $1 SNGs. Once I lost what I had left, I'd do .10 SNGs. If I won a few, I'd go for the .50, and then lose and be broke again. I must have kept this cycle going for over a year. Maybe more.

About a year in, I started depositing more often, but never much beyond my $20 per month. All the while, I was earning Action Points, which I could use for large freerolls. I was also playing in freerolls to mixed results. I remember the first time I won a large tournament. I came in 1st out of 173 people, netting myself a whopping $13.50! I remember telling people about my success only to be ashamed that I went through all of it for $13.50. But, as I would tell them, the exciting part was that I beat all of those people! I also admitted that my win was due in large part to several all-in suckouts. This was one of those wins that did not come from excellent poker.

Then it really happened. I entered a $1000 freeroll in January of 2005. Girlfriend Kim was sleeping next to me at 1am when I took 2nd place beating 240 people for $170! I immediately cashed out $100, because, honestly, I wouldn't win with it online. I mean, who wins at online poker?!

One month later, I played the $1000 freeroll again...and took 1st!! $270! I immediately withdrew $200.

Two month later, I played the $1000 freeroll again...and took 1st again! I just found the April posts, and they are quite funny looking back. Check them out here, under the Apr. 12th posts. With another $270 win, and I immediately withdrew $150. See, I was winning now, so I could afford to leave $120 online.

Not long after, I resolved some issues with Neteller, which widened my poker opportunities. I decided to try new sites at the advice of friends. I would always go back to GP, until Pauly's Noble Poker freeroll where I met GCox and TripJax. I had already played at Full Tilt and Party by this point, but once Poker Source Online was discovered, I became the bonus whore that I am. I've played at Golden Palace, Full Tilt, Party, Paradise, Royal Vegas, Titan, Noble, PokerRoom, Ultimate Bet, Poker Rewards, Bodog, Absolute, PokerStars, Carribean Sun, and probably a few other sites I can't recall. Through bonuses I've probably won several hundred dollars (often using that to break even from losses on some of these sites in the past) and from PSO and Vegas Poker Pro got a free poker table top, $400 in Best Buy gift certificates, and Poker Tracker free. That is why I whore them so much here. Because they have been such a boon for me. But that isn't the point of this post.

I love this here poker. Just typing about it makes me want to rush home and play.

posted by Jordan @ 9:52 AM,


At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post J.

Just reading it makes me want to run home and play also. Unfortunately, my Mom probably won't allow me to download any software on her computer.

Have a good holiday.



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