My Poker Journey
I've been doing quite a bit of self reflection lately and while there are pieces of my poker story all over these forums, I thought it would be good to put everything together into one post which may be quite long but the reason for which would be detailed in the end. I hope you enjoy.
I discovered poker late 2002 or early 2003 through a broadcast of the 2002 WSOP
ME final table. I had no idea what the game was about but the money was what attracted me to the game. I can remember not understanding what was going on but being consumed by the money. This was a result of how the commentary use to be in the old broadcasts. The commentators would refer to the chips as dollars and to me, a 10 year old at the time, made it seem like some players lost millions of dollars in the game, even coming to the realisation that it wasn't that way in the ME, I was still hooked and started trying to learn the game.
I found a poker book which essentially just went through the basics of NLHE and I must have read that book 50 times just in 2003 alone. At this time I hadnt even discovered online poker but I was just trying to consume as much content as I could. In comes the 2003 WSOP coverage on ESPN and I think this was the first time there were multiple episode coverage which made the game way more enthralling. It allowed for a story line and character development as well as advertising which was how I discovered online poker. By the end of 2003 I started playing on Party which at the time was probably the biggest site. I remember playing freerolls
and playing play money games and just trying to learn but I was absolutely terrible at the time, essentially just clicking buttons and trying to figure things out as I went along. I probably did this for a year but being bombarded by the sights of real money
games I wanted to start playing for money. Around this time Party started to offer a new account bonus where just by registering and not even depositing they would give you 50$ to play with but you just needed to play like 100 raked hands to be able to withdraw. I remember discovering this and spinning up 50$ stacks, go bust and then create a new account. Back in those days security was so terrible never got banned for this but back then it wasnt even the money as much as it was the competition that I craved. On many times I'd spin to like 500$ and sit at a 5/10 table and go bust but I had no concept of money etc so it didnt mean anything to lose it. It was just so fun.
Fast forward a couple years and I was starting to figure stuff out about poker and I was getting a lot better. At this point through spin ups etc I probably had $1,000 roll around 2005 and was able to make deals with people to get money off of party and on to other sites like Absolute Poker, Ultimate bet and Pokerstars
. Getting off of party was my way of being legit since I knew i couldnt ever withdraw from that site. It would fluctuate up and down but didnt go anywhere for quite some time but then around 2006/2007 i discovered cardschat and started to take the game seriously. I remember joining and looking at some of the posters and thinking the guys like ChuckTs and Aliengenius, Irexes, Tenbob and all those guys as miles above me but I always wanted to grow and get better at the game. I started reading a lot more and spending a lot of time just consuming HH threads. Even to this day, I dont even post advice but I would just read as I've always tried to be really light on content when using the forums but I was always lurking and just picking everything up.
Around 2008 was when poker started really kicking off for me. I had a massive run on Ultimatebet which saw my role go from about $1k to about $10k over the summer. I was playing under my mom's name on all of these sites cause I was still 16 at the time. Was a funny moment when I requested a cheque from UB and it came to my mom as it was in her name and while she knew i was playing poker and had some money I was gambling with she didnt quite fathom the amounts and was a bit taken aback by the $3k on the cheque.
After the spin up in the summer of 2008 to $10k i just thought it was always going to continue and I would continue to print money but alas, as most people learn the hard way, you never really are as good in poker as you think you are. I think over christmas 2008 after the 3k withdrawal I was back down to $1,000 or $2,000 again. Was a bit disheartening but it was a result of me playing too high, again not having a concept of money and being so young I'd be jumping into 5-10 games and $200-500 SNGs and tournaments which obviously went pretty badly but I always made sure to always leave myself a little bit back so I would never be broke.
At this point i started to pick up PLO and trying to learn the new game I started playing lower and just building my knowledge of the new game. I dont recall much between 2008 and 2010 until I turned legal and could finally create accounts in my name. When I turned 18 I emailed PS about changing the account to my name etc and their support being quite upset but they did it anyway. Created a new account on FTP and made Ipoker my new destination. At this time I had about 5k in the poker fund and I started to crush the games on Titan and in the summer of 2010 i span the 5k into $30k beating the 1/2 to 3/6 games and having some decent tourney cashes as well. I was just enjoying the hell out of poker but at the same time I got a job to please the family and also to keep me occupied during the day.
The job made it difficult to play as I would be tired in the evenings so I just more or less maintained my position in the PLO pecking order winning a few thousand here and there and just being content with grinding out poker part time. For context I had like $150USD equivalent in my bank account and $50,000 in poker sites
by the end of 2010. I didnt change my life because of poker and I never viewed poker money as anything but just that which allowed me to just grow the roll. I think this was a big difference for me and other regs who ended up getting stuck at levels. Because I would never withdraw nor have a need for money (third world living is cheap) I could always reinvest into the game. So a person needing 5k a month to live and me needing 0 meant that all things being equal i was 5k closer to playing a new higher level.
The first big down period in poker for me was the start of 2011 where I dropped probably 25-30k within the first 4 months of the year and then Black Friday hit and the online community was just ravaged. While I continued to grind sporadically this really put me out of playing poker and I pretty much took everything off poker sites and hardly played in 2012. It was just not a really good time to be in poker and I didnt know if i would be coming back.
That all changed at the start of 2013 when I moved to the UK to study. I was only going to be here for 6 months but wanted to max my time out. I didnt know anybody really but I did know how to play poker, had $30k USD to my name and decided to give live poker a go for the first time. This sparked the revival into poker, I went on an instant upswing playing the 2/5 and 5/10 games at the Vic. I remember winning 30,000£ in February of that year and really thinking that I would just end up playing pro. I started playing online again when FTP reopened and playing on Ipoker as well, always finding a new skin to play under a new username as the community there was so small you pretty much had to do it reguarly. But it was on FTP where I made huge leaps winning huge chunks in the shallow games. I couldnt even believe it was real at the time I would log on every day, win a few thousand playing anywhere from 1/2 to 10/20 and this went on for about 6 months where id just pretty much never lose. Was an actual dream. I recorded some of the sessions, should probably find them and put them on here for a laugh.
I moved back to Trinidad in July 2013 and would be very sporadic in terms of my play and my commitment for the next year and a half. There was no zest for the game. I missed having these big live games and while i was still doing ok online I just didnt feel like online was the game i wanted to be playing. In march 2015 I got a huge break and got hired for a job in the UK which allowed me to move back to London. I didnt actually play for the first 3 months but when i got back into the swing of things at the Vic I was just enjoying it thoroughly. I made about £120k playing poker in 2015 but it was also the year i picked up sport betting a little bit more and found a niche in basketball. I also extended my stakes in 2015 to the point I had 6 or 7 guys playing for me either online or live cash games. Was a dream season.
I was still playing poker maybe 2-3 times a week at this point, but i got invited to a private 100/200 game around February which I proceeded to get barred from after 1 extraordinary session where i won a chunky 6 figure amount. I was trying to leave some money on the table and got it in bad in one of the last hands of the night for 69k and i was happy when i got it in terrible shape as there is a rule with private games to win some money but never to clean out, you want to be invited back ofcourse, but with that in mind, i ended up winning the 15% twice and scooped the 70k pot. Never got invited back but it was good money regardless, i cant complain.
It was around this point in time that I stopped playing as much, I think its pretty evident in my thread that the volume of posts went down after March. I just felt I accomplished everything i set out to, I won a ton of money, I've played the biggest games i could and I enjoyed it through and through. I started to play a lot worse as time went on this year but i was fine with it, losing 5k here and there in a 5/10 game didnt bother me anymore. It was also this year i posted a 6 figure profit during basketball season and had some really good payouts during EUROs. Everything was going well for me and I was just enjoying gambling.
However the funny thing about life is that your perspective is always changing. In March I started staking a guy who at the time I only vaguely knew but was friendly with. He hit a hard time in his life and while I was in 2 minds about giving him money, and everyone i knew told me not to, I went ahead and gave him 4k to play some 1/2 games and get his life back. Had some huge ups at the start and we were up 80k playing 10/25 but he hit some downswings and that got eroded down to zero. The money never bothered me cause i was still only in for a 4k investment but in this particular horse I saw a guy who was playing pro poker for a long time and i saw someone who really didnt have much going for him and it made me look at myself and try to think of what i wanted out of poker. I couldnt see myself doing this for a long time and i certainly didnt want to become the washed up guy who had huge highs and just let everything slip.
About 2 months ago, after this bit of self reflection, I realised that I was at a peak and financially I pretty much dont have to worry about money and am in such a comfortable state that maybe it was the right time to get away from the game and focus my efforts on doing other things. Its been a hell of a journey and I'm sure im going to continue to play but on more of a recreational basis. In this decision, I've somehow found peace and contentment. Without poker, I also realised how much time i put into the game and now its a great time to start living. I've realised over this time, so many people have come and gone from the game whether its been due to going broke or falling out of love with the game but Im just glad that I am leaving on my terms.
So thats my poker story and I know its a pretty long passage and I wasnt sure about writing this but speaking to a friend last night motivated me to put it up, if only for closure for myself and signing off a chapter in my life while also trying to provide something to motive some of you younger guys now picking up the game.
Hopefully I stay active on the forums and I may be playing some of the WCOOPs this year but for now I guess this is me saying I'm now a retired poker player, feels like a lifetime in the game but Im still only 24