I remember getting off of work and getting home. I did some normal household routine stuff and then sat down for my normal Friday poker session. I couldn't play on any of the sites. I checked their webpages and saw the notices. I was completely freaked out. I didn't have a ton of money on the sites, just a few thousand. But, I had been building up from $0 across the sites and was finally getting to the point where I could make some decent side-income from playing. It was devastating.
I spent the entire weekend on my computer, reading the news and forums for any and all information I could glean. More than anything, I remember Monday.
Every Monday, my aide and I would talk about our weekends. She would inevitably ask me how my poker had gone, because that was essentially my life on the weekends. The usual conversation would start with, "I made a few hundred." Or, "I had a bad weekend and lost a X amount of money." I remember that she asked me and all I could say was, "On Friday, I lost over $3,000 dollars without even sitting down at a table."
I had money across all three sites that went down, plus some money on Merge. I withdrew everything except $200 on Merge (just in case they were next). At least, I got that amount off. I never got any money back from AP. And, we all know how Full Tilt went down. I got my Stars money.
I kept playing on Merge, but I shouldn't have. I was on life-tilt. The $200 I had on there was as good as gone. I went from playing 6-12 tables of 25nl-50nl to 4 tables of $4nl. I just couldn't believe how low I had sunk. In a couple months, I had spewed off the remainder of my Merge money. I had money to go play live, but I lost the confidence to do that. So I stopped playing except for occasional play money games online with friends (who had never played real money anyway and didn't understand).
I remember feeling like it was all over for me. I loved poker. I had played since I was a kid. I had believed it was going to be something that would bring me extra spending money and allow me to live a better life. The day I accepted that it might never happen is the day I took $5,000 out of my "poker" account and spent it on a fence for my yard. It's a damn fine fence, but it also reminds me of how I gave up.
After a few months off, I eventually decided to get back on the horse. I played a few freerolls
and worked on grinding the money back up. Didn't have much success until last December. Bovada
was giving out $10 without any deposit or play requirements. I signed up and started building again on there. I am currently back up to 25nl and hope to get to 50nl soon. I know the break was probably good for me. I spent a lot of time working on non-poker related parts of my life. But, I still imagine where I would be if that hadn't happened.
I guess we'll see what happens in the future. I realize now that it was always a gamble. I had just assumed my bankroll was only at risk when I sat down with it on a table. Now, I am a little more cautious and realistic about the possibility of losing it all again to something I can't control.