Like many other poker players, I blame Chris Moneymaker for getting me interested in No Limit Texas Hold 'Em. Watching him successfully bluff Sammy Farha HU at the final table of the 2003 WSOP was certainly a seminal moment in the history of poker. You have to wonder if there would have been as big a "Poker Boom" (earlier in this decade) if Farha hadn't mucked and instead called Moneymaker off for pretty much his tournament life. So sitting there watching a no-name amateur luckbox his way through thousands of players to win millions of dollars and the WSOP bracelet made me wonder if I could be any good at this game, and if I really worked at it, could I become a good player? Is there skill to play winning poker, or is it all luck?? These questions and the desire to find out more drove me to start looking at online poker sites.
My very first online poker experience was at Poker Room dot Com. In June 2004, I registered the Lone Rhino screen name and deposited $250. A screen name, a few hundred bucks, and dreams of poker greatness lie just beyond the mouse on my desk and the PC monitor sitting behind it. Or so I thought.
Up until this point my only experience playing cards was in high school and college. Mostly with my best friend's older brother and his crowd. 7 Card Stud, or Guts were the games most often spread. So I didn't enter the online world of low stakes No Limit Texas Hold 'Em as a total rube, but I wasn't much above being a dolt from the very first hand on. This lasted for quite a few months as I chased hopeless draws, bet small aces out of position, limped into more pots than a nursing home full of dead-dick war vets, had no clue how to read the board, and always thought two pair were the nuts. I was clueless and wasn't exactly using each game or tournament as a learning experience, because - of course - I would be TOTALLY pissed off each and every time I lost because it was NEVER my fault.
Learning the basics of poker, understanding position, the law of probabilities, betting patterns, the art of the size of bets, etc., are some of the building blocks for becoming a solid poker player. In my fleeting moments of calm and clear thinking I came to this realization and now embrace it as the truth. So began my quest for poker knowledge. Knowledge of this game of hard luck and human instincts. Knowledge of one's self. And you know what? This game is not easy - this game is hard and no matter how bad the beats are, or how fucking angry I get, I just can't stop coming back for more.