My Poker Introduction
During my box washing job I heard about poker for the first time and the notion that you could possibly be able to make money playing poker. This all seemed very unlikely to me, but I was ready to look into it since a friend of a friend was making money from it, and after a while my friend started making money too.
That was when I decided to really start learning how to do it. I ordered my first book on Fixed Limit Hold’em and read it cover to cover. I then proceeded to go online and sign-up for a poker room, which was giving out a free $15 if you signed-up. “That’s perfect” I thought to myself.
Well, short story short. I lost that $15 and was blaming it all on luck, of course poker was all luck if I couldn’t win, right? I mean, I had spent a whole day reading a book, I should be able to win easily! A few days passed as I had given up on the whole idea of making money playing online poker.
But that’s just how I am as a person, I get frustrated and throw what I am doing through the window, and a few days pass and now I have turned that frustration into motivation.
I was determined to make it work, people were making money playing online poker. I was going to do it too, even if it was the last thing I was going to do, damnit! That was my attitude at the time. I saw that the poker rooms were having free-rolls. These were tournaments where you didn’t have to pay anything to enter but you could win a few dollars if you made it far enough. They usually had a huge field of about 1000-2000 players.
So I entered and played a few of them, I managed to win $1 and lose it in a fixed limit cash game. Rinse and repeat, I did this for a week and on about my 5th time I won $1.5 in a free-roll and took it to a micro-stakes No-Limit Hold’em game of $0.05/$0.10 where the max buy-in was $10. I managed to double up a few times until I got my bankroll to $10. I still remember the pinnacle hand, which might have been the most important hand during my whole poker career.
I had put in 50% of my stack on the turn, I held A9 off suit with the Ace of hearts. The board was Jack high with three hearts. I had the nutflush draw, and unfortunately I was put all-in, I decided to call and the river gave me a heart. This was the beginning of my poker career. After that I took my money and went to the Fixed Limit Hold’em games. I was playing $0.05/$0.10 Fixed Limit games and building my bankroll.
Around November 2004 when I was taking my driver’s license I had built my bankroll to about $600 which was an incredible feat for me at the time. No one believed me, not my friends and not my parents. Everyone said I was lucky and that I should take that money out, because I was going to lose it all and be in debt for the rest of my life!
When December came I was playing $5/10 Fixed Limit Hold’em and making over $2,000 a month. This was the time I decided to scrap my plans of prolonged education. I had originally thought about studying at a university in Lulea, Sweden but I changed my mind. At least I could take one year off and make $40,000. That would pay for my expenses if I decided to study.
2005 – The Year I Turn Pro
During January 2005 I started playing in the shorthanded $5/10 Fixed Limit Hold’em games and I was doing well. I was making more and more money each month. This was the month I got my first poker coach, and that decision turned out to be a great one.
I learned a lot and again I was earning more and more. February 2005 I moved up to $10/20 shorthanded Fixed Limit Hold’em and my biggest month was $20,000, I was making over $10,000 a month regularly now. My friends and parents were starting to believe that you could in fact make money playing online poker. I was learning a lot and I was nowhere near a great Limit Hold’em player.
I started getting involved in poker communities (the 2+2 forums specifically) , discussing and posting hands. I met most of my poker friends through these poker forums and I still talk with some of them through instant messengers and some by phone.
We discuss and analyze poker hands and anything relating to poker and life. At this stage, things were rolling along incredibly well, I was making a ton of money and life was good.
The First Big Bump in the Road
When August came I was playing $20/40 Fixed Limit Hold’em and this was the month I had my longest stretch of bad luck I had gone through in my whole poker career. I played 70,000 hands of break-even poker, I consulted 4-5 coaches who all said I was playing fine and that I should just play through it. That 70,000 hands lasted about 2 months, and it was pure hell.
The frustration was too much, I was about to explode. I remember taking a long walk one August night and contemplating what I should do. During that time my brother was living in Spain, so I decided to head over there for awhile. I could use the change of scenery.
This turned out to be a good decision on my part. In October I arrived in Spain and my brother, a friend and I rented an apartment in Fuengirola. It took us about 2 months to get an internet connection because of the Spanish not being very keen on doing things fast .
2006 – The Year of No-Limit Hold’em
From December 2005 to February 2006 Party Poker had a massive promotion. They were giving out big bonuses to players that could achieve a certain amount of hands played (i.e. play a lot of poker). During that time period I raked in $12,500 in just bonuses, on top of that I earned a nice amount playing cash games.
I was content with my earnings but I was starting to feel burned out. During March 2006 I traveled to Valencia, Spain and saw the city. I also participated in a meditation seminar there, it was free so why not. It actually contained some yoga as well and I could immediately see the benefits of meditating and doing yoga while playing poker. It would help develop my mental acuity and calmness while playing poker.
In late March I also got the idea to start learning No-Limit Hold’em since the Limit Hold’em games were becoming increasingly tougher and the No-Limit Hold’em games seemed very soft. A gambler has to adapt, right? I contacted who was to be my No-Limit Hold’em coach for the next six months, Jason Rosenkrantz. My journey into the unknown realms of No-Limit Hold’em had begun.
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