Todd’s Poker Bucket List

Playing with a renowned superstar like Daniel Negreanu would be high on almost any recreational poker player’s bucket list. (Image: Joe Giron)

Like every recreational poker player, I have hopes and dreams of making it to the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event. Dreams are an important part of life, no matter what your hobby or avocation, no matter how unlikely they may seem.

Below is my poker bucket list. Maybe, at least, one of these dreams can come true in 2016. But even if it doesn’t happen, the pursuit of the dream will be just as memorable.

  1. Play in the World Series of Poker Main Event. This one is likely a few years away (unless I can win a World Series Circuit event or some other similar tournament), but everybody has to have a dream, and this is the ultimate poker player’s dream – professional or recreational.
  2. Play at a table with a famous poker pro, like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth or Phil Ivey. It would be a great thrill to rub elbows with an international poker superstar, and this is what makes poker different from other sports. I can’t imagine going to my local municipal golf course and getting put into a foursome with Tiger Woods or Jordan Speith, but anybody can play in the professional poker tournaments, and you never know who will get assigned to your table.
  3. Win a season-ending championship in my Pub Poker League, the Atlantic Poker Tour.  If you love to play poker but do not live near a casino, see if there is a Pub Poker League in your area. Just Google Pub Poker and the name of the nearest big city to see what comes up. For instance, if you live near the metro Atlanta area, Googling Atlanta Pub Poker would find the Atlanta Poker Club, which hosts a series of tourneys every week throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. The tournaments and prizes are usually small, but at least it will satisfy your desire to play poker. And if your only poker experience is online, then a competitive Pub Poker League will give you a chance to test your live skills.
  4. Play in a World Series of Poker Circuit event and get written up in their live blog. I played my first event at the Harrah’s Cherokee stop in April 2015. I made it to the 12th level and had amassed about 51,000 chips when I stupidly risked 60 percent of my stack to chase a nut flush draw. Still reeling from that bad decision, I went out two hands later when my AK lost to KK in an all-in pre-flop when I shoved a very tight player who had just four-bet my initial raise.
  5. Play in a Bar Poker Open national championship event. The BPO is the recreational player’s equivalent to the World Series of Poker. First held in 2014, the recently completed 2015 national championship experienced a tremendous growth over the inaugural event. The only way to qualify to play in the BPO National Championship is by winning a seat through your local pub league, but the entire series features many other events that anyone can play in.
  6. Win an online tournament with enough of a payday to take the family on a weekend vacation somewhere (preferably somewhere near a casino!). Other than the various freerolls offered by CardsChat, I have not played much online poker recently, so this one is likely going to take some work. My goal for 2016 is to build up a decent bankroll through the CardsChat freerolls and then start playing online MTTs again.
  7. Win a team and individual championship in the CardsChat League. I’ve played four seasons so far and finished as high as third in the individual race and fourth in the team standings. If you haven’t checked out the league yet, you need to do so. It is some of the best competition you will find on the Internet, it is completely free, you can win great prizes and make great friends!

As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.” I think what he was trying to say was that every successful person began with a dream, a vision of where they wanted to be.  Poker players are no different. We all know where we want to go. We just need to make sure we enjoy the journey along the way.

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