re: Poker & The Road to Pro?
I left you ~300+ word reply here but then the site timed out on me & I lost it.... arghh!!!!
So.. I will simplify it.
Read Phil Gordon's 'Little Green Book' (get it from library, or buy it.. it's cheap and well worth it (<< oh yah.. I forgot..I'm leaving out the details this time around).
Play cheap 9-player reg. speed SNG's (not turbos..and don't jump around from the 9's to the 18's, then over to the 6-handed turbos,etc.... oh yah.. I'm leaving too much info. here again).. Just do it!
Play some freerolls
(hopefully get into some priv. ones). you will at least get to see alot of hands and who knows.. you might even pick up a few extra bucks to play with.
Play some MTT's (multi-table tournaments). Fulltilt has a few cheapos you can play (ie. The DailyDollar..~8,000+ entrants with a guar. prizepool of $10k.. runs each day at around 20:00). There's also a 10cent buyin rebuy ($1,000guar.) with 50cent rebuys (DO NOT REBUY...not going to go in details of why not.. .just don't do it... Don't Do it!). They run each day at 17:35 max. entrants is 3,600.. top 154 get paid I think.. but the payout is pretty good..especially if you final table it (I think 1st pays out over $300... not too bad for a 10cent investment!!). Players in that MTT are very weak (do not ever slowplay (Don't Do IT!!!).. instead you want to be betting out with your big hands in hopes of building big pots (ie. big hands.. build big pots!!!) as the loosecallingstations in that tourney will call you down with very weak holdings.
There's also The Ferguson ($1 mtt, runs at 01:30).
Read up on SNG specific strategy prior to playing the SNG's.
I wouldn't personally recommend playing on the play money tables (it's just not realisitic enough play to have much benefit at all... aside from maybe learning how to set up the tables, bet-slider, etc. etc.).
I'll send you a pm with some info. that should help to get you started.
As far as what is the cycle of going from zero-to-hero. "It depends". Some have a greater knack/aptitude for the game than others and will get there faster. Either way... to really excel in the game (and to gain a decent advantage over your oppponents) you will need to put in some lengthy studying of the game (won't go into details on formats for studying the game... I simply don't have the time to do it here).
GL on the tables!
Get on Fulltilt. I think it's 1,000% better than Bodog!!!