It was about a year ago that, like an idiot, I went to Stop and Shop, bought a Western Union Money Order, and sent it off to Coast Rica! That $250 was our stake to play a little poker. Who would have thought, a year later, it’s still there – and larger than when we began?
It’s time for the backstory. I had been playing poker very infrequently for 20 years or more. I thought I was good. I was awful. Since I didn’t play often, I didn’t lose much. It was harmless fun.
With two casinos in Connecticut, I was invited to a Press Poker Tournament for charity. It was the kickoff to Foxwoods’ World Poker Finals. Somehow, entirely by luck, I came in near the top and won $1,000 for Blue Jeans for Babies.
I am not being modest. It was luck – blind luck¹.
As the day progressed and the tables were consolidated, I found myself playing with Jan Fisher of Cardplayer Magazine. I had no idea who she was, but when I found out I wanted her to tell me how I played.
I was waiting for some nice words of encouragement – but she said nothing. She thought I played poorly, but was looking for a way not to say it.
Jan Fisher turned me around as a poker player. She doesn’t know she did, and I’ve never thanked her. If you see her, tell her.
By the time August of 2003 came along, I had tightened up my game enough to break even. Considering the house takes a cut of every pot, that’s not bad.
It didn’t take me long playing online before I realized I’d have to tighten up and be even more disciplined. I did. Though to this day, my biggest losses still come when I lose my sense of discipline.
With a computer, it is possible to play hundreds of hands of poker a day – often while doing other things at the same time. This is the kind of experience that good players used to take years to get.
We now sit with $900 of profit (could be more or less – I’m playing now). I won’t quit my day job. I have to believe that’s as good or better than 70-80% of the other people playing online. The online casino has collected thousands and thousands of dollars in fees while I’ve played. They were taken from me, but replenished by others.
The most important part is, I still enjoy the game. I get frustrated when I play poorly. I enjoy being strategic when it helps me win.
¹ – As I got closer and closer to placing in the money, I became more and more nervous. Playing for big stakes, even when it’s not your own money, is nerve wracking.