A brief history of gambling and poker with Poker Elmo – part 4.
I started watching the first season of the world poker tour in 2003, and was intrigued. It was clearly a game of skill, and I, of course, thought I would have an advantage in any skill game (a bit arrogant, yes). These players were so cool - Gus Hanson, Howard Lederer, etc. I knew there was Internet poker, but I was skeptical. Would these sites really pay out? Were the cards dealt fairly? Were these scams, where house players would win? I was unsure. However, after seeing the host of the WPT make advertisements for party poker, I figured it must be OK. So, I deposited a modest amount, but really went nowhere.
For my first month at internet poker, nothing happened. In late June, I got my first poker book. It was Phil Hellmuth’s book. Now, most people would not even use Hellmuth's book for toilet paper, saying it is that bad. At the time, however, it was quite eye-opening and it made sense. It preached a tight-aggressive game. I started following his strategies, but for the next month, nothing happened. However, at the end of July, I had my first really good run. I had a $250 week, playing 2 tables of $1/2 limit. I was certainly happy about that. I followed that up with about many weeks in a row with small profits. Mrs. Elmo, who was initially a bit nervous about my playing online poker, was happy when we were able to use the first withdrawal to buy a mattress. Not a glamerous purchase, but we needed one and this purchase helped me convince my wife that maybe this was not a bad hobby.
I started beating limit a bit, but then started getting bored with limit. Starting in December 2003 I started playing MTTs more seriously. I also played some low buyin NL holdem. I remember how great it felt in April of 2004 when I finished 2nd in a $30 partypoker tourney for about $700. Overall, I did not make much from December 2003-May 2004, but was learning NL holdem and NL holdem tourneys. I also started dabbling in PL omaha a bit and even some blackjack bonus chasing. Another big thing that happened was that I started bonus chasing in April. This would be a nice little boost.
I started earning a bit again in June. I had a 2nd in a $10 bugsysclub tourney for a modest score, plus an entry to a WSOP freerole. I earned a bit chasing blackjack bonuses. I was modestly beating cash games. Nothing big – but was doing OK. Around this time I made my first post at ITH. Little did I know how important that site would become for me later. In July I had another run in a tourney – a $30 PL holdem tourney where I finished 4th, but that was only after my flopped straight got outdrawn by 2 pair after getting all in on the flop. I felt good about my performance.
We moved to PA in August 2004, and I continued doing OK. Then, on the first Saturday in September, I sat down to play a freerole for a WSOP seat on bugsysclub. I remember thinking I would play the first two hours very tight, then ramp up the aggression, playing the doyle brunson style of forcing other people into tough decisions. I picked up aces in the first hour to double up. I also played AK very aggressively all night and only lost one small pot with it. I got the chip lead with 60 left and used it like a club to steal chips. I made the final table, and got heads up with a 4-1 chip lead. However, after losing two all ins, I was down in chips until I chipped up a bit, then had 77 beat KQ to take a big lead again. When AK held over KJ all in pre-flop, I won my seat to the 2005 WSOP – and it was still only September 2004.
Here is my post on ITH about it – I was still a newbie there when I made this post.