My First Month as a Real Money Player
I deposited $100 in Full Tilt via a Visa
All Access credit card I got at the local grocery store. (The only deposit method that would work for me.)
So began my life as a "real money" player. But first, a little background on me.
I was raised a poor white child in Texas
.... Well, maybe not that much background.
Actually I began playing poker in April 2009. Besides some draw poker as a kid, I never played one live hand of poker. I didn't even know what "check" and "call" meant, nor much else. But I friend send me 100 free chips on Facebook and I began to play Zynga poker there. Soon I was hooked and like most things I get hooked on, I got a little obsessed.
As a financial trader I had a bit of an advantage because trading teaches many of the skills you need in poker, like playing odds
, patience, money mgt, discipline. However, poker presents some challenges that trading can't teach you. Like how to play, for instance.
I read a few books, and got a little better. And, of course, won millions of "dollars" on Zynga. But play money gets pointless after a while, and the people get annoying real fast
. So I talked my wife into letting me open a real money
account and switched to Full Tilt on Sept 1, 09.
Here's what I've learned so far:
- Real money play is harder. It probably equates to moving from playing high school football to college ball. You find out pretty quickly that most of the chips you won in play money was from morons who were just goofing around.
- I can't play with play chips anymore. After real money, those games seem like playing with a bunch of drunks in a house of mirrors.
- The principles of poker become vivid very quickly. Things like position mean little in play money. In real money you see why they are important.
- I wasn't good enough to win. But after a month of study and diligence I've gotten better.
- At first I lost at cash games and won SnGs. Now I'm winning and breaking even at cash games and not doing as well at SnGs. Tournaments require more luck and blatant aggression than cash games. I probably was pretty lucky early on. But the winning encouraged me. If I had lost at both I would have been very discouraged.
As I said, I lost at cash games at first. A turning point was reading (Dan)Harrington on Cash Games,
easily the best poker book I've read so far. Lately I've been doing better and have been holding my own and adding to my bankroll. Thanks to bonuses and promotions and getting a little better I'm ahead of the game.
After some stumbles and lessons, I've made some basic rules for myself:
- I will play only the lowest micro-limits (2NL & 1+.20) until I add 50% to my bankroll by winning. No exceptions. (Moving up in limits to "make back" what you've lost is like cutting an artery.)
- I will play in no cash game with a buy-in bigger than 5% of my bankroll. I will play in no tournament with a entry fee bigger than 2% of my bankroll.
- I will not play in a tournament until I've won the entry fee in a cash game since my last tournament. That is, whether I won, lost, or drew my last tournament, I will not play in another until I've won the entry fee for it in a cash game. (Losing 3 or 4 SnGs in a row is hard on the bankroll.)
- I will never post the BB early in a cash game. This seems like a small thing, but I feel that if I don't have the discipline to wait for the BB to come around I have no business playing. It's just a way to start the game with discipline.
- I will deposit no more money in my account. This is it. Either I make this $100 work or I find another pursuit.
I've learned that poker requires above all discipline, otherwise everybody would be winning at it. The problem is there is not enough money to go around. So you need to do what the losers are not doing, and that starts with being disciplined.
Hope this helps anyone who's like me is just starting out. Good luck and have fun!