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Old 08-17-2011, 10:57 PM   #1
Chuck Bass
World's Most Interesting Procrastinator
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Once A Gambler is the name
Posts: 9,318
Heart My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

This is going to be incredibly long, and I'm going to post it in a few parts. It's full of brags, beats and variance, so I'm going to post it here.

Background story: My blog has been the most read poker blog in Finland ever since it started. I scored a book deal a year or so ago to write my autobiography. This would've been just in Finnish, and likely won't pay off very well, so I have approximately two sentences written by now. At the same time, I've found myself writing in English on and off, and writing down my story has been fun. I've almost forgotten how to write in Finnish, so it looks like I'm finishing the English version first. 2+2 is what has made me the poker player I am these days, so I thought I would post my story here for everyone to read.

I've played poker professionally since 2008, meaning that I have hardly got any money from anything else (excluding a few writing and coaching gigs), but I've only acted professional since late 2009. I'm up approximately $300k from poker, but I've been broke many times, and it's been an extremely bumpy ride. Most of the crazy stories itt are from my heyday, for the past couple of years I've been boring, spending time in a good relationship and just grinding and trying to become a good and solid person. So boring I've become that I've started to worry I actually forget about everything crazy I've done when I was younger, so I wanted to write some stuff down. This is basically my life chronicled ever since I found gambling and poker.

I'm 24 now, but after all this I feel like 30. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a heart attack before I turn 45.

I realize no one's going to read it without some cliff notes, so here goes. Note that these are for the entire story and what's below is just part 1. I'll post all the parts within a few days.

Cliffs (edit: haha, these are almost tl;dr in themselves, but trust me this is gonna be good)

-Sportsbetting wannabe pro at 10, had 3 different scores of over $10k by 14
-Wasted it all playing slots, lost at least $30k on slots underaged
-Dumped gf at 19, randomly quit my job and left to Australia with a plan of staying there for 2 weeks, ended up staying 2 years. Found poker working at a prawn farm
-Degen mode got me $20k in debt almost immediately after playing 25/50 before hardly knowing the rules
-Had $120 left, started studying SNGs, turned it into $20k
-Went to Vegas, got threatened with a gun in a strip bar, waved a bag of pot in the Bellagio lobby in front of everyone and somehow didn't get caught
-Learned cash, made approx $150k playing NL 6max and HU, lost about half of it playing PLO
-Pulling Patrik Antonius's pants down prop bet
-Trip to Unibet Open Warzaw including strip clubs, a brothel, an unconscious girl vomiting all over a 5 star hotel lobby and almost getting called cops on, and losing everything on roulette and flips including my watch
-Making day 2 as a chipleader of a 1650€ live tournament, going drinking on the night before day 2, getting arrested and beaten up by Portuguese policemen for hijacking a cab, then passing out on the street to get robbed at knifepoint, and after sleeping for three hours and being bruised all over making the final table
-Being robbed at gunpoint in Mexico on my way to LAPT and never making it
-Drinking @ PCA with durrrr, Antonio Esfandiari & co, and rating Antonio's gf
-Witnessing a lesbian sex act in Barcelona, getting invited to join on the condition it'd include their gay roommate

-Visiting over 50 countries during my poker career, including extremely remote Pacific Ocean islands where people hadn't heard of electricity, and visiting a tribe who ate their own dead relatives
-Getting scammed by a poker site for my entire net worth at the time (over $50k, including other people's money)
-Getting a fresh start playing donkaments and slowly turning $1,5k into $220k, getting my life together, and become a solid and somewhat respected MTT pro
-Busting WSOP ME a few spots off the bubble 99<88 to a future november 9er thanks to a live misclick
-Winning $100k from a live donkament
[x] pics of gf or possibly gfs coming

That's not all or anywhere near it, but I didn't want to make the cliff notes too long. Here goes:

Vol.1: The Early Years And Picking Up Poker

I found gambling when I was about 10 years old. My best friend back then had placed some sports bets with his dad, and won like $5 from it. I thought the idea of being able to win money by placing sports bets, and to add excitement to watching football by having your allowance wagered on your favourite team sounded awesome. Back then the legislation in Finland regarding gambling was pretty much non-existent, it was totally allowed for a toddler to make bets and play slot machines.

I took sports betting pretty seriously from the beginning, and from 10 to about 15 years old I hit some remarkable scores for someone that age. I won about $10k at 11 or 12 years old from a football bet, and by 14 I had had at least three scores that - converted to today's value of the dollar - were $10k or bigger. I remember having my wall full of yellow post-it notes regarding the teams I bet on. This was before the internet had spread in Finland, and the only access I had to internet was in a public library. I was there for at least an hour every day after school, trying to find up-to-date information about teams I wanted to bet on. I enthusiastically made notes about anything I thought could give me an edge against the bookmakers, such as someone being injured. I mostly bet on football and ice hockey, as these were pretty much the only things you could bet on back then with offline bookmakers.

I took interest in analyzing odds at about 12. For my first couple of years as a sportsbettor I was just throwing bets around, betting on my favourite teams and so on. I remember having a will to analyze even at a younger age, but I didn't know how to do that. For my 12th birthday I asked my mother to buy me a book by a well-known gambling professional, and religiously studied it. Despite having absolutely no talent regarding math, I was able to understand most of the book, and changed my strategies. Looking back at it now, I was definitely a hugely -EV bettor back then (which isn't surprising for a 12-year old), and ran a ton above ev. I don't have any bookkeeping from that time period, but I believe I ended up at least 5 figures in the green before I turned 15.

While I was able to be analytical towards sports betting and make relatively smart decisions with my bets for most of the time, I was a massive train wreck with all other forms of gambling. The main issue was slot machines. Oh, the slot machines. They were, and still are, a huge problem in Finland for many kids. Basically any 10-year old can play them, as they are placed in shopping malls, cafes and restaurants with not much surveillance.

When I started high school, all of my money went to slot machines. I picked up a work position as a newspaper delivery boy, and all of my pay checks went straight to slot machines. Whenever I won something from sports bets, it all went to slot machines, no matter how much I won. I remember once winning around $10k and wasting it on slot machines with a maximum bet of about $1 in less than a week. I'd skip school, go to my nearest supermarket right after its opening time at 8AM, and grind all of the 5 slots that were placed next to each other simultaneously.

I was so addicted that just thinking about it now makes me want to vomit. I come from a really poor family, but despite that I was always well rewarded by my single-parent mother whenever I did something right. She knew how much I liked money even at a young age (she had no idea about the depth of my sports betting business as I always kept all my big scores a secret, but I always talked about expected value and stuff like that), and thought that if she wanted to make me concentrate on school, the best way to do it would be offering money for good grades. I always got good grades when I wanted to, and was always rewarded. It makes me so sick to think that I wasted all that money on slots. I'd estimate that before I turned 18 (which these days is the legal age for slots and casino games in Finland), I had lost more than $30k on slot machines.

When I was 16 or 17, I took a job at McDonald's. It was meant to be just a casual night job at first, but I ended up going full-time and temporarily quitting high school. I was really bored with school back then. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grow up, the only thing in my mind was that I wanted to travel. I decided to save as much money as I could so that I could tour the world when I turn 18.

There was only one thing between me and my traveling plans: gambling. I had developed such a huge gambling addiction by this time that I was almost beyond help. I had no one I could tell, because if I told my mom she'd pretty much crucify me learning about the amounts I'd wasted, and I was too ashamed to seek for professional help. I had attempted to quit the slots many times, but I never made it past a week. I dreamt of slots, I loved playing them. And in my circle of friends I was known as the heroic gambler who always had money and who always grinded slots, and the attention I got from them made me feel good about myself. I was slightly overweight back then, and my self-confidence was very low, so pretty much giving me any attention would make me do what they wanted.

This time I was more serious than ever before. I looked back at my life and felt disgusted. I looked at my future, and it looked dark. I was a college drop-out working at McDonald's, after all. Despite the situation, I found something inside of me that helped me think positive and get the slow and painful change started.

It sure wasn't easy. I decided to get rid of my entire circle of gambling friends. This was tough, because despite most of them being people that I mainly hung around with just because I didn't have any other friends, it meant cutting off most of my social life. I knew that in the beginning I wouldn't be strong enough to avoid the temptation of slots if I had to go near them, so I banned myself from going to stores or anywhere that'd contain slots. I went as far as to purposedly being caught shoplifting in my nearest bookmaker/slot machines joint, so that they'd ban me from entering. I would refuse to enter a single store with a slot machine for the first month. I entirely quit sports betting too, because I felt that I should completely step away from the gambling world.

Miraculously, it all worked. I got many new friends in my job at McDonald's, and I actually enjoyed it. I found alcohol at the time too, and partying most definitely helped forgetting about gambling. Having to interact with strangers on a day-to-day basis at work really helped with my social skills. Around the same time I also started hitting the gym to get slimmer, and that definitely helped with girls. Soon I didn't even miss gambling. I spent the weekdays working hard and weekends partying hard. While I wasn't able to save as much as I originally thought, I had a great life. And almost immediately after turning 18 I started traveling around. I booked cheap flights online, and went for 3-5 day trips to all around Europe. London, Reykjavik, Golden Sands, Barcelona.

Soon I started seeing my first serious girlfriend. I dated her for a solid year and a half. She had very strict, almost puritanian values regarding gambling, and being with her made it easy for myself to stay away from slots and sports bets. When our relationship finally hit the rocks (mainly because of me partying too hard and her wanting to start a family), I decided to go to Australia. I had a friend in there who was on a working holiday, and the timing was perfect, so I made an impulsive decision to quit my job at Maccas, booked flights and left on an extremely short notice.

Originally I intended to stay just for a couple of weeks, or at least that's what I told everyone, but I think at heart I knew I wasn't coming back that soon. And I sure didn't. It took me about two days to fall in love with Down Under. I went to New Zealand for a week to get a visa application running (you can't apply for a working visa if you're in the country), got my working holiday visa and landed a job in a chocolate store. Life was good.

From Sydney, as the city was preparing for Australia Day celebrations
After about 6 months in Australia I had already made plans to stay there for even longer. I had made many friends, and the ones who went to universities helped me out with all kinds of stuff regarding getting a student visa. I had made up my mind to go to the MacQuarie University in Sydney to study screen production. If there's something that'd always interested me aside from gambling, it was definitely writing and movies. I wanted to become a professional writer, and MacQuarie felt perfect for me. Some of my friends were taking the same course, and they all loved it. I enjoyed Australian tv shows, such as Summer Heights High and The Chaser's War On Everything. I now had only one goal in life, and it was to screen write a tv show, preferably political satire.

When I had my plans made I had still almost a full year before I was due to start going to MacQuarie. Looking at it afterwards, my plans were extremely naive and full of problems that would probably have stopped me from actually getting to the school anyway, but either way I decided to travel around Australia before becoming a full-time student. Through mutual friends I ran into a couple of Finnish girls who had heard of a farm job gig in the Deep North (you know how Americans refer to the True Blood-esque Louisiana as the Deep South? The place where we went to would be the Australian equivalent of that with its crocodiles and bogans). I decided to join them, and in less than two weeks we were all working at a prawn farm located in a middle of nowhere. It was 50 miles from the nearest town, and the population of the entire place we lived in was about 100.

We lived in a trailer, me and the two girls. The whole thing was about 10 square meters and it was full of ants and small lizards. My pillow was full of ants when I went to sleep. It was so hot and humid that every piece of food rottened in a couple of hours. We lived on cup noodles, as there were no actual stores to buy food from. The option was prawns. They paid very well which made us stay there for (if I remember correctly) about three or four months. I think we got about $20/hour which was the most I had ever made in any profession. They had plenty of work, as Crystal Bay Seafarm was the largest prawn producer in the country, and we worked 12-hour days five to six days a week. My plan was to save a lot of money so I could tour around for the rest of the year without having to work.

On a warm September night everything changed. We finished work at around 6PM as usual. Just as I was about to hop on the van that'd take me back to our trailer, a co-worker asked if I'd like to join him and some other guys for a poker night. He said they were going to play a tournament with a $20 entry fee, and they'd teach me the rules. I had never heard of Texas Hold'em. I had played draw poker a couple of times as a kid, but that was it. I thought that it was very likely I'd lose the $20, but I didn't really mind as I was making $1000 a week, and the weekends at the Seafarm were the worst as there was nothing to do. It took me about 0,5 seconds to say yes.

The game took place outside the trailer park. I remember being eaten by mosquitoes as usual. We had about 8 guys playing, and I was the only one who didn't know the rules, so we decided that I'd just watch the first tournament (a sit and go, effectively). They said it'd take an hour to finish at maximum and I could take part in the second one.

I remember watching the game. I looked at the faces of everyone, how their gestures changed when they saw their cards based on whether they liked their hand or not. While I didn't know anything about poker strategy, I had a gut feeling of some kind about who was good and who wasn't. I remember watching one of the guys, who was a bit older than everyone else. He was the only one whose face I couldn't read at all. It turned out he was the one who always won in the farm games. Sure enough he won this tournament, too.

I took part in the next tournament. I placed my $20 on the table. It was a brand new note, as we were paid in cash every friday. It was a winner-take-all. I knew that flush beats a straight and so on, but I had no idea about relative hand values. I didn't know that having a pair of black fives on a board of AdKdQdJd3s wasn't necessarily a winner. I had no idea what I was doing. But somehow, with incredible luck, I ended up winning the tournament. It was a winner-take-all, so I netted a profit of $140, which felt huge at the time.

That was the last tournament I ever played at the Seafarm. Less than a week later I quit my job. I thought that I had completely cracked the game, that I was God's gift to poker, and that I'd have a bright future in poker ahead of me. I counted my savings that I was hiding inside my pillow, which was about $3k. I asked my boss where the nearest casino was. He said it was 400 miles south. I worked for five more days, because the bus to Townsville (the nearest town) only stopped at the Seafarm once a week. Then I thanked my boss for everything, packed my stuff and left.

Had I known that less than two months later I'd be living on the streets and that I'd be $20k in debt, I would have stayed and forgot about poker for good. It's been a long and an extremely bumpy ride, but I'm glad I didn't.

Last edited by Chuck Bass; 08-17-2011 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:04 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 521
Well I too have a story

It's been 7 weeks since my last surf.

It was hard to convince myself to go today. The report said 2-3', and you never know if that means closer to 1' or 4'. I decided to chance it and had a really nice afternoon - it was about 3 - 4' with some bigger sets, and the water packed a real punch. (I need to stop trying to block waves with my head! I have a knack for placing myself exactly in the impact zone.) I messed up the timing with the tides, but it worked out totally fine.

I was shocked when I first pulled into town -- it was mobbed. I guess I haven't been to the coast on a summer weekend for a long time. My work schedule used to give me Fridays off, so I would always try to avoid surfing on the weekends. I stopped by the surf shop to say hi to the owner and got a big hug right when I walked in. I can't tell you how much I appreciated that. He immediately said, "It's a zoo today. Park there (gesturing to one of the four or so parking spaces they have at the shop) and suit up." While I was putting on my gear, a woman around my age or (god, I hope) slightly older started talking with me. She and her husband are from B.C., and they had rented gear and were headed up to my regular spot. She asked if it was my first time surfing, and I said no, but that I'm a beginner. She said, "Today is my first time." What could I do? My response was, "Well, this is going to be the best day of your life."

The shop owner told me to avoid the cove because of the crowds, and he had me leave my car and just walk a bit to another break. I was scurrrred! I've never surfed anywhere in Oregon but my little cove. But I went for it -- great location, but much more public than I'm used to, which freaked me out. I had to do some serious self-talk, but it was worth it.

So here's the thing: Not one other person was in the ocean as far as I could see. No one. Gorgeous sunny day, people were actually sun bathing (damn, that water was cold, though - instant ice cream headache), and I was literally the only person, surfer or other, in the water. NUTS! I'm telling you -- this is why I can't imagine learning to surf anywhere else. After about 1.5 hours, 3 kids with boards got in the water about 100 yards away from me. That's it. Amazing. (But I can guarantee you that cove was bursting with surfers, SUPs, and kayaks.)

I had a good time today. I had some good, long rides - smooth, curvy, scootching up and down the board. Beautiful hanging out, too-good-to-be-true, long rides. I went for a lot of green and got only one small one -- I cannot figure out green waves and it's really tough. I took a lot on my belly and knees (at least, until the wipeouts) and it helps to do that to get the feel of them, but I just can't take the drop on my feet and figure it out. I don't know; I know it doesn't taking "figuring". I've been here before. But it's really frustrating me.

I surfed for a while and then paddled way out, past even where the green waves formed, and just floated. It had gotten glassy in between sets and the sun was beating down -- it was so beautiful. I was sitting on my board, just trying to process some heavy **** I've been going through, but things kept bringing me back to the present. Either the sun reflecting on the water, or a couple of times a perfectly round head popping up 10ish yards away from me (! - a sea lion was surfing with me!) -- something would cause me to lose my train of thought and come back to the present. Over and over. So I would just watch the water and feel its rhythm under me and stay in the moment. It's really one of the many gifts of surfing: an inability to be anywhere but right here, right now.

When I was finally done, I huffed it back to the surf shop, board on head, and was met by the owner. He asked how it was, and I asked why in the hell I've been dealing with the crowds at the cove this whole time. He said, "Yeah, we keep this spot to ourselves." Consider my mouth shut. Awesome day gets better? He showed me the secret warm outdoor shower he has around the side of the shop and told me I could use it. I mean, honestly. My "shower" usually consists of me dumping a gallon of water from an old plastic milk jug over my head, à la Flashdance, in the parking lot at the cove. Nice to drive home less of a mess than usual.

It was a really beautiful day and I feel like my little heart hasn't even grasped the beauty of it. I'm super grateful to have gotten out today, and for the kindness of the shop owner.


In Britain’s Isle, no matter where,
An ancient pile of buildings stands:
The Huntingdons and Hattons there
Employ’d the power of Fairy hands

To raise the ceiling’s fretted height,
Each pannel in achievements cloathing,
Rich windows that exclude the light,
And passages, that lead to nothing.

Full oft within the spacious walls,
When he had fifty winters o’er him,
My grave Lord-Keeper1 led the Brawls;
The Seal, and Maces, danc’d before him.

His bushy beard, and shoe-strings green,
His high-crown’d hat, and satin-doublet,
Mov’d the stout heart of England’s Queen,
Tho’ Pope and Spaniard could not trouble it.

What, in the very first beginning!
Shame of the versifying tribe!
Your Hist’ry whither are you spinning?
Can you do nothing but describe?

A House there is, (and that’s enough)
From whence one fatal morning issues
A brace of Warriors, not in buff,
But rustling in their silks and tissues.

The first came cap-a-pee from France
Her conqu’ring destiny fulfilling,
Whom meaner beauties eye askance,
And vainly ape her art of killing.

The other Amazon kind heaven
Had armed with spirit, wit, and satire:
But COBHAM had the polish given
And tip’d her arrows with good-nature.

To celebrate her eyes, her air -
Coarse panegyricks would but teaze her.
Melissa is her Nom de Guerre.
Alas, who would not wish to please her!

With bonnet blue and capucine,
And aprons long they hid their armour,
And veil’d their weapons bright and keen
In pity to the country-farmer.

Fame, in the shape of Mr. Purt,
(By this time all the parish know it)
Had told, that thereabouts there lurk’d
A wicked Imp they call a Poet,

Who prowl’d the country far and near,
Bewitch’d the children of the peasants,
Dried up the cows, and lam’d the deer,
And suck’d the eggs and kill’d the pheasants.

My Lady heard their joint petition,
Swore by her coronet and ermine,
She’d issue out her high commission
To rid the manour of such vermin.

The Heroines undertook the task,
Thro’ lanes unknown, o’er stiles they ventur’d,
Rap’d at the door nor stay’d to ask,
But bounce into the parlour enter’d.

The trembling family they daunt,
They flirt, they sing, they laugh, they tattle,
Rummage his Mother, pinch his Aunt,
And up stairs in a whirlwind rattle.

Each hole and cupboard they explore,
Each creek and cranny of his chamber,
Run hurry-skurry round the floor,
And o’er the bed and tester clamber,

Into the Drawers and China pry,
Papers and books, a huge Imbroglio!
Under a tea-cup he might lie,
Or creased, like dogs-ears, in a folio.

On the first marching of the troops
The Muses, hopeless of his pardon,
Convey’d him underneath their hoops
To a small closet in the garden.

So Rumour says. (Who will, believe.)
But that they left the door a-jarr,
Where, safe and laughing in his sleeve,
He heard the distant din of war.

Short was his joy. He little knew
The power of Magick was no fable.
Out of the window, whisk, they flew,
But left a spell upon the table.

The words too eager to unriddle,
The poet felt a strange disorder:
Transparent birdlime form’d the middle,
And chains invisible the border.

So cunning was the Apparatus,
The powerful pothooks did so move him,
That, will he, nill he, to the Great-house
He went, as if the Devil drove him.

Yet on his way (no sign of grace,
For folks in fear are apt to pray)
To Phoebus he prefer’d his case,
And begged his aid that dreadful day.

The Godhead would have back’d his quarrel,
But, with a blush on recollection,
Own’d that his quiver and his laurel
’Gainst four such eyes were no protection.

The Court was sate, the Culprit there,
Forth from their gloomy mansions creeping
The Lady Janes and Joans repair,
And from the gallery stand peeping:

Such as in silence of the night
Come (sweep) along some winding entry
(Styack2 has often seen the sight)
Or at the chappel-door stand sentry;

In peaked hoods and mantles tarnish’d,
Sour visages, enough to scare ye,
High dames of honour once, that garnish’d
The drawing-room of fierce Queen Mary.

The Peeress comes. The Audience stare,
And doff their hats with due submission:
She curtsies, as she takes her chair,
To all the people of condition.

The bard with many an artful fib,
Had in imagination fenc’d him,
Disproved the arguments of Squib,3
And all that Groom4 could urge against him.

But soon his rhetorick forsook him,
When he the solemn hall had seen;
A sudden fit of ague shook him,
He stood as mute as poor Macleane.5

Yet something he was heard to mutter,
‘‘How in the park beneath an old-tree
(Without design to hurt the butter,
Or any malice to the poultry,)

‘‘He once or twice had pen’d a sonnet;
Yet hop’d that he might save his bacon:
Numbers would give their oaths upon it,
He ne’er was for a conj’rer taken.’’

The ghostly Prudes with hagged face
Already had condemn’d the sinner.
My Lady rose, and with a grace -
She smiled, and bid him come to dinner.

‘‘Jesu-Maria! Madam Bridget,
Why, what can the Viscountess mean?’’
(Cried the square Hoods in woeful fidget)
‘‘The times are altered quite and clean!

‘‘Decorum’s turned to mere civility;
Her air and all her manners show it.
Commend me to her affability!
Speak to a Commoner and Poet!’’

And so God save our noble King,
And guard us from long-winded Lubbers,
That to eternity would sing,
And keep my Lady from her Rubbers.

Last edited by Mike Haven; 02-20-2013 at 10:35 AM. Reason: 2 posts merged
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:44 PM   #3
Chuck Bass
World's Most Interesting Procrastinator
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Once A Gambler is the name
Posts: 9,318
Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Stfu WilliamDafoe.

Vol.2: Finding Poker, And The Rest Of My Time In Australia

So, after leaving the prawn farm my first stop was Townsville. It was a nice little town, and it felt great to see people after being isolated for months. Townsville isn't big either, but they have a couple of night clubs, restaurants and so on. I went to the local casino with the intention of playing poker, but sadly they didn't have any. I didn't end up doing much in Townsville, as there wasn't much to do and after a drunken night in a bar with a wet t-shirt contest I randomly decided to keep going south. As a side note I bought a Ben Elton book from Townsville, and it was the first book by him I'd ever read. It was called Popcorn. I instantly became a Ben Elton fan and he's still one of my favourite authors.

Anyway, back to the story. I ended up flying to Brisbane straight from Townsville, because a quick google search showed that there weren't any casinos between Townsville and Brisbane. Brisbane is one of the largest cities in Australia, and it felt like a good idea to stop there for a while. I spent the first few nights crashing on my friend Elina's couch in Surfer's Paradise, about 30 miles from Brisbane. She was my co-worker at the Finnish Maccas and moved to Australia to study law in Surfer's Paradise.

Elina lived in a huge house with two gay guys. I can't remember their names, but they were hilarious. I have no idea how a 19-year old Finnish girl ended up living with a 35-year old gay couple, but that's what had happened. Their house was huge, but it turned out the couple was actually broke. This was because the other guy had spent $200k on courses on human interaction. I can't recall what it was about exactly but it reminded me of scientology. They also had a suicidal goldfish that tried to jump out of his aquarium on a daily basis.

I had a great time in Surfer's Paradise. I bought some mandatory stuff, like new shoes to replace my old ones that smelled of dead prawns, and my first poker book (I know it's a cliché, but yes - it was The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky). And I partied hard with Elina and her friends every night. I had a blast. Sadly, after a few days it was time to say goodbye to Elina and go back to Brisbane.

On my first night in Brisbane I crashed on my friend Ailie's couch. Actually it was her parents' house, they had 8 kids and lived in a house with not that much extra space. Ailie told me that it didn't matter, they were used to strangers as they had enrolled in several exchange students programs and had people staying in their house all the time. I was intending to stay for just a couple of nights, but of course that's not what happened.

The next day I slept until late afternoon, having a hangover from four nights of binge drinking. I went straight to the casino. I had read The Theory Of Poker from cover to cover, and I thought I was the man. I thought no one at the casino could beat me. They had two different games running, fixed limit hold'em at 5/10 and 10/20 blinds and a half pot game at 25/50 blinds. To this day, I've never seen half pot anywhere since I left Brisbane, but in 2007 that was their main game and they had no NLHE at all.

I didn't fully understand how cash game worked, but I bought in anyway. I had all the money I owned with me, which was something between $3000 and $4000. I'm not sure, but I think I took it all because I wasn't comfortable leaving money at Ailie's house that had an open door policy. I didn't understand how the blind structure worked, but for some stupid reason I bought in for the entire amount. I didn't really think about it. I guess I thought that it would be entirely impossible to lose it all. My head was confused with all the advice regarding fixed limit games Sklansky had given me, and I thought that big blinds was the same as big bets and I thought I couldn't lose 60 big bets at once. I figured I'd just quit if I lost $1k or something.

I remember that everyone else had big stacks, like $15k or more, and looking at it afterwards this was a pretty insane table. They had a straddle and a button straddle, already making it a 25-50-100-200 game. I played it like Limit Hold'em, minraising or limping and making tiny bets post-flop. Unsurprisingly, I was soon broke.

It didn't really hit me until I was outside the casino. I was broke. I was hungry, but I couldn't afford a Happy Meal. I had no idea what I should do. Ailie's house was 10 miles away, and I couldn't afford a train ticket. It was about midnight. I walked. I remember bursting to tears halfway. All the money I had worked so hard for, all the prawns I had peeled, wasted. I felt like my 14-year old self again. I felt like I had let my gambling addiction get a hold of me once again, even that this was actually more a case of bad judgement and being an idiot than being addicted. My poker addiction was just about to blossom.

I didn't have it in me to tell Ailie what had happened. I sent an email to my mom asking for money for living expenses. I made up a story about what had happened to the money (I can't remember what it was anymore), because I couldn't tell her about poker. Then I got a job at the Brisbane Airport. They paid very well, I can't remember exactly how much it was anymore but it must've been close to $25 per hour. I worked in retail, the work was easy and I enjoyed it. I was making more than twice as much than I had ever made in Finland, and I was living in an awesome city and I was having a great time chasing Aussie girls. But I was't concentrating on any of that. I was angry. I wanted to get my money back.

I've always been competitive. If you've ever watched the tv show Friends, I'm very much like Monica when it comes to losing. I couldn't stand the idea of having lost in that stupid half pot game. I made it my first priority to study, and I spent the vast majority of my free time reading poker books and poker articles online (sadly, I didn't find 2+2 yet), and watching poker shows. One of my earliest poker memories is watching the WSOP 2007 Main Event final table that Jerry Yang won. Everyone said that he was terrible, but I couldn't understand why. The guy had just won the biggest poker tournament in the world, surely he must be good?

I remember also being interested in finding whether there were any good Finnish poker players. I found a couple of names: Patrik Antonius, Ilari Sahamies, and a rising star who used the screen name LarsLuzak. No one knew his identity at the time, but the rumour was that he was about the same age as me and lived like 5 miles from where I lived in Finland.

When I got my first paycheck, I went straight to the casino. This time I chose to play 5/10 LHE. I had learned my lesson with the half pot game, and I had studied the differences between fixed limit and pot-limit games to know that I didn't have enough money to play in that game (and yes, that was the smallest non-fixed limit game they had). Avoiding that game wasn't of much help though, because I was still very bad, even at fixed limit. For example I still remember a hand where I flopped a set on A72 holding 77. The betting was capped on the flop. Then on the turn another ace hit, and I didn't realise I had a full house. I thought I had three sevens and he'd almost certainly have three aces. I just called his single bet. The river was a brick, he bet and I folded face up saying "you got so lucky on the turn". He showed AK and I congratulated myself on a great laydown, still thinking I would've lost the hand. I was told by a nice regular later that day that a set and a pair on the board makes a full house. Lesson learned.

Despite being awful I managed to run like the sun. I won over $1000 on my first night, which is pretty absurd in a slow 5/10 fixed limit live game where you get like 15 hands an hour. Again, I thought I was the nuts. I proceeded to move out from Ailie's place after staying there for a month (I believe they would've thrown me out had I refused to move at this stage) and I moved in with an Aussie woman who I found on the Aussie version of Craigslist, who was a few years older than me. She had a nice house, I paid her a few weeks' rent up front and I spent all my time working and playing poker.

I don't think I had a winning night during my time living with her. I studied the game a lot and started to get better gradually, and I bought every book I could find on poker. They were mostly fixed limit books, one was Sklansky's Hold'em For Advanced Players for sure. But I was still pretty bad, and it was no surprise I kept losing because without a doubt I was the worst player in the game.

At some stage I quit at the airport. This was after another long night playing. I had been at the casino until 5am, and I was supposed to start working at 8am. I thought I'd take a little nap, and somehow managed to oversleep. I can't recall why I did this, but I made another impulsive decision to move back to Sydney. Most of my friends were there and I had been missing them, and I had heard they had no-limit games there. I had like $1500 saved up, so I just shrugged and never even called the airport. I simply went to an internet cafe, booked a flight for the next day, packed my stuff and left again.

My time in Sydney was when things really started going wrong. That's when I really found online poker. I had played it a couple of times before, but I didn't enjoy it the same way I enjoyed Brisbane's live games. Online games were mostly no limit even in 2007, and I was a limit specialist due to the literature I had been reading, so I didn't feel like playing games I was bad at.

When I moved to Sydney, LarsLuzak launched his blog on a Finnish poker forum. I remember when I found out he had won a seven-figure amount playing no limit hold'em. I registered at the forums and made a post about what games I should play, and everyone told me fixed limit games were dead. So I started studying no limit.

If only I had actually concentrated on studying... I was relatively short on life roll, and I was blinded by the thought of making absurd amounts of money playing this no limit game. I deposited everything I had on my bank account online and lost it. I played in the live games at Sydney's Star City casino and lost it all. Once again I had no idea what I'd do, since I had no money, no job and no place to stay. I stayed on my friend Rhiannon's couch for a while. We had a few fun tequila-fuelled nights and I think I once tried to kiss her, only to vomit on her carpet. Soon after, reality hit me.

I had no money. I reviewed my options, and after taking my camera and mp3 player to a pawn shop and losing the money I got for them, I decided to take some fast cash loans. I'm not sure how popular they are outside Finland, but in my country they are extremely popular. You have to pay like 150% interest, but you can get a loan up to $1k in a few minutes by sending an sms with your banking details. I was wondering, would this work from abroad too...? Of course it did. At first I thought I'd take just a single loan for $1k, grind it up (I obviously thought I was a winning player and that it'd be a matter of days I'd start making huge amounts of money) and pay it back with the interest. I spent some of that on buying a hostel room from some ****hole for a week, and went to an internet cafe to grind. I lost it in a matter of minutes.

"Well, one more can't hurt", I thought. I took another loan from another company, and lost it all again. Within a week or two I had taken every single loan I was allowed to take, making my debt over $20k. I lost some of it in a 5k roulette flip at the Star City casino. I hadn't played -ev games for years, but by this point I just didn't care anymore. I didn't have money to buy food, I had no place to go for extra loans, I had absolutely nothing. I borrowed $20 from a friend, threw my luggage at his house and moved to the streets. Note that I could've called home and asked for money, and at least by telling about my situation they would definitely have helped me out, but I was too embarrased to do that.

I think it was November or December at this point. It was warm even at night, so I had no problem sleeping outside. I had a favourite park where I slept, and I remember feeling strangely happy looking at the stars before falling asleep. The stars are so bright in Australia, that's one of the things I miss the most from there. Just looking at the sky at night.

In the daytime I would try to make money collecting empty bottles or flat out asking for money in the streets. I don't know why I did this, I could've just asked my mom to buy me a plane ticket back home and I would've instantly got it. I think it was at least partially because I just loved Australia so much. I didn't want to leave, even if it meant eating $0,50 cup noodles raw and sleeping outside.

Things took a brief turn for the better when I ran into a guy called Kenny. I had played with him in Star City before and we chatted a bit. Because I was such a wannabe superstar back then, I had exaggerated my winnings to him and he probably thought I was pretty good. I told him I was broke, and he gave me $200 so I could play in the $20-$30 SNGs in a place called Pokerdome (a failed business attempt by Jeff Lisandro that was later bankrupt if I remember correctly), and said I could pay it back when I feel like it.

It had all started from an innocent SNG, so I thought maybe that's how it should end as well. Having been living on the streets for a while, and also temporarily with a Canadian druggie in a house I thought he owned, but what later turned out to be an abandoned house he had just settled into, I was getting pretty frustrated with my life and I blamed poker on it all. To this date, this is the only time I remember thinking about quitting. In my mind, I put poker in the same box with the evil slot machines and sports betting and roulette. The box of stuff that I should stay away from. But since I had a small SNG roll, I thought I'd take one last shot.

When I played at Pokerdome for the first time, something happened. I felt something. I felt like this was somewhere I belong, like grinding SNGs was the thing I was supposed to be doing. Despite not knowing first thing about ICM math I did pretty well and even now I think I was one of the few people crushing the games. I believe this was the first poker game in my life I actually won money from, even long-term.

I played my first multi-table tournament soon as well. I sold half of my action to Kenny, and bought in to the New South Wales Championchips. This tournament was also organized by Lisandro and it was held in a new Pokerdome he had just launched. The buy-in was $350 and I was so excited I couldn't sleep the night before.

I ended up busting near the end of day one. It's funny to think that this is pretty much exactly the way I still bust my poker tournaments four years later. There was another young guy in the table, everyone else was bad and old. I got into a huge grudge fight with him and we three- and four-bet each other constantly. I ran a huge bluff against him early, he tank folded and I showed him 6 high. Soon after he ran a huge bluff against me, I folded and he showed me 5 high.

In my bustout hand I raised KhQh pre-flop, he three-bet on the button and I four-bet shoved. He called with AK and I didn't bink. I felt so bad. I wanted to cry, I wanted to hit things, I wanted to hit his stupid face. I ran out of the tournament area. This was my first so-called "walk of shame", one of many to come. No walk of shame has ever felt that bad since, not even busting the 2010 WSOP Main Event just outside the money, and I doubt anything ever will.

As a side note, the kid ended up winning the tournament for about $20k. Soon after he challenged Lisandro to a heads-up match for the $20k, and Lisandro told him to go buy ice cream with the money. I'd love to hear if he became a pro later, he said he had just turned 18 and it was his first live tournament.

I went back to grinding the Pokerdome SNGs. As we all know, grinding $20 live SNGs with a 20% rake doesn't exactly offer you a good hourly rate. I played those for a couple of more months, was able to pay my debt to Kenny, and at times I had enough money to stay in hostels and eat decent food, but the end result was the same: I was broke once again. I decided it was time to fly back home. I called my mom, she had already found out about my debts since my mailbox was filled with bills from the fast cash loan companies, and she urged me to return home to deal with it. If she would've known half the stuff I went through she'd probably have travelled to Australia herself just to handcuff me and drag me to a plane a lot sooner. But given my state, she didn't have to ask twice. I asked her to buy me a one-way ticket back home, which she did.

I landed in Helsinki in the middle of winter. Where I left from it was +40c outside. In Helsinki it was -25c. I was wearing shorts, and I couldn't afford a taxi, so I took a bus. People were looking at me like I was crazy, standing at the bus stop in flip-flops, short pants and a t-shirt. I didn't care. I was a man on a mission. And that mission was to become debtless as soon as possible and to become a succesful SNG player. The SNGs I played at Pokerdome made me fall in love with tournament poker, and despite not being able to beat the games with a good rate (which was basically impossible given the low buy-ins and the huge rake), I was sure I could crush online. And sure enough, it didn't take me long to start crushing. I just needed some help.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:44 PM   #4
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

(in the OP, where it says "From Sydney, as the city was preparing for Australia Day celebrations", that's because of a failed image linking attempt so never mind)
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:49 PM   #5
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

haha. true degen. cool stories OP, keep em coming.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:59 PM   #6
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Originally Posted by Effneasy View Post
haha. true degen. cool stories OP, keep em coming.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:01 AM   #7
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

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Old 08-18-2011, 12:23 AM   #8
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Chuck I can see why you have the most read poker blog in finland. This is absolutely facinating. I need more.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:38 AM   #9
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Vol.3: Becoming a Winning Player, And Turning $120 Into $20,000

After returning to snowy Helsinki, life was tough. I was 20, $20k in debt, and I hadn't kept in touch with old friends as much as I should have. My life had consisted mainly of poker, eating, sleeping, and occasionally getting drunk and chasing Aussie girls. I hadn't planned of returning home, until it suddenly became clear that I'd have no choice but to return almost immediately to get my stuff together. When I got back, everything felt cold. Not just the temperature, but the people - after spending time with the warmest people on earth for two years, getting used to grumpy Finns took some time. I didn't have many people to contact, and I had no money.

I've never been the type to wallow in self pity and hope for a miracle, so despite reaching mild depression after just two days of the - to quote Thom Yorke - frozen winter **** Finland had to offer, I decided it was time to get my life back together. The first logical step was to get a job.

I sent applications to many places, and I got phone calls from at least four different companies. So, at least I could get a job. Good. I went to a couple of job interviews, and finally picked up one of the largest gas station/restaurant/cafeteria/grocery store complexes in Finland. They all offered pretty much the same wage, so I picked the one that had the nicest looking girls and the most young people working.

At the same time I was completely busto, and I knew that everything I'd earn would go straight to paying my debts, so my only shot I'd have at playing poker for a long time was the $120 I had on my poker account. I believe it was my MansionPoker account dryyoureyes1, back when Mansion was still a part of the Ongame network. It was my last rakeback payment, the only thing I had left from my endeavours busting bankroll after another in games I was massively -EV in.

I wanted to play poker real bad, and my last months in Australia had given me a hint of how to play winning sit-and-go poker. I knew that if I lost this money, I wouldn't have a chance to re-deposit. I decided to devote all my free time to poker, to play with great bankroll management and to study as much as possible.

During the past few months my blog had got immensely popular. I can't remember how many hits it had got during the 3-4 months of its existence, but it was in the six digits. In a country with probably less than 100 000 poker players at the time (these days the number is between 100 000 and 200 000 as far as I know), that was pretty decent. I remember looking at all the other blogs, that had like 1500 hits. I wondered what the heck was going on, as it was certainly unplanned.

With my blog, everything worked out from the beginning. I can say without any exaggeration, that me being here now is very much because of my blog. This all has been such a ridiculous chain of events, and it feels almost funny how it's all worked out. Without my blog I wouldn't have touched the absolute rock bottom in my life, as you will read in the future parts of the series, but without it I would also never have learned the things I've had to learn to become both a good poker player and a good person.

I hadn't even planned to start a blog. I remember having lost my roll in Star City for the 5th time, and using my last couple of bucks to get an hour of internet time in some internet cafe. I logged into, which was one of the two large poker forums in Finland at the time. I ended up there, because it was the first result google gave when I typed the Finnish word for "poker". I noticed there was a "user blogs" section, and I randomly decided to create one.

I wrote about my habits of losing huge amounts of money playing poker (in 2007, losing $1000 was considered huge). I only told the readers that I was somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, but at first refused to tell where exactly. I wrote about the trips I had done when in Australia, such as my trip to some islands in the Pacific Ocean (I'll write more about this later, basically I visited some of the most remote places you can find on Earth. I met people who hadn't heard of electricity. I gave a kid a chocolate bar, and he didn't know what to do with it. I made a gesture pointing at his mouth, and he tried to eat it without removing the wrapping paper, etc). I wrote about women, and my past gambling addiction. In fact, it was called "The Poker Diary Of A Gambling Addict."

It took a few days for it to get noticed. In a few weeks it turned into a phenomenon. One of Finland's top actors, who's also into poker, read it and made an encouraging comment at an early stage. I had seen plenty of his movies, and now he's reading my blog? Insane.

Many of Finland's top pros, such as Ville "Isokala" Wahlbeck and Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies read it and told me they liked it. It wasn't even intentional, but somehow the mixture of mystery and my lifestyle made it a visitor magnet. I was a very private person back then, and I wanted to make sure none of my friends or my mother would find it. I even lied about some irrelevant facts just to make sure no one would realise it was me, for example I wrote I was born in 1987 (in reality, 1986), and that I was living in Brisbane instead of Sydney. I don't feel bad about any of this even now, as it was just a way of protecting myself and my family. I never lied about anything meaningful, or anything that would've changed the way people viewed me.

So, the blog got really popular. If the 2011 me could somehow travel back to 2008, one of the things (along with everything else I'd change, such as starting to study MTTs immediately, and somehow trying to figure out a way to get close to my now-girlfriend, who would've been 15 at the time) I'd do would be to try to charge something for my blog. Basically all Finnish poker sites at the time would've been insane to turn it down, as poker was a booming business and I was the most read of all bloggers.

Anyway, back to the story. So, I started working at the gas station (or actually the cafeteria part of it) almost immediately. In one of my first shifts I heard two colleagues discussing my blog. Of course they didn't know it was me. I had just written I'd returned to Finland, and that I worked at a gas station. They said something along the lines of "how cool would it be if he worked here?", and I grinned. For a minute, I considered revealing them my identity. I decided to say nothing.

Back then there was a lot of speculation considering that much of the stuff I had written wouldn't be true. I wanted to prove myself, but I didn't know how, because I was extremely worried about people learning about my identity. It's hard to stay unknown yet still prove things.

Pokerisivut holds an annual party for its customers in early winter, and I was invited too. They sent me an email, saying I can come incognito. No one has to know who I am. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to set the record straight. I still didn't want anyone to know my name, but to cut the speculation I told in my blog I'd come to the party, and talk to a few previously selected people without revealing my name. I'd basically just come and show up, so it'd be easier for people to believe I actually existed.

On the night of the party, I got extremely sick. Of course no one believed it when I wrote about it, but it's true. I struggled until the last minute, and pumped myself full of painkillers, because I really wanted to go. I had a feeling that something good might come of the situation, maybe some writing jobs somewhere. There were a couple of poker magazines in Finland already, and I thought maybe someone from those would be interested in my writing. Writing had always been my dream job, and alongside with poker I wanted to pursue a career in that. I knew this would be one of my best chances to get to meet people in the industry, who already worshipped my blog. So despite having 39,8c of fever, I put my finest party clothes on, and got ready to head to the party. The moment I almost fainted in the stairs heading out, I just knew I couldn't go. It was a shame, but it wasn't meant to be.

There was another popular blog at Pokerisivut at the time, written by someone who went by the name "Fungahz". He was also a regular poster on 2+2, but I've forgotten what his name there was. He was a massive sit and go grinder, and he made absurd amounts of money. I think he multi-tabled the juicy Ongame games, like 25 tables at a time, and beat 1-table SNGs with a 15% ROI. He made a five-figure sum every single month, never seemed to catch a glimpse of variance, and was at the top of the Sharkscope leaderboards. I knew I must get in touch with this guy.

I started posting in his blog, asking for hand advice, while I was trying to make something of my $120 bankroll. I'm never going to forget the time when I had about $80 left, and I went all-in with top pair, second kicker on the first level of a $5 SNG, and lost. I posted the hand, and he said I was playing too loose, that I should basically just wait for other people to bust out and play only premium hands until near the bubble. Lesson learned. I asked for his msn, which he gave me. We talked on a regular basis. He never coached me, but he helped me a lot with small things. I think I watched him play once or twice, and then just mimicked his style as much as I could. I didn't understand any of the difficult calculations he told me about, but I quickly got a feel of how everything works. I hate to admit it, but to this day I still don't know how to do most of the important poker math on paper, but I still somehow get it right almost every time in my head.

After about a week of following Fungahz, I started beating my own games. I miraculously avoided going busto, as I was down to about $20 at my lowest point. I sometimes wonder how different live would've been if I had just busted the last $20. I wouldn't have been able to deposit for months, so maybe I would've just got over it and forgot about poker (well, probably not).

For the next three months or so, I spent all of my free time grinding, and I worked 40 hours a week at the gas station. As a result, I managed to grind back the $20k I owed. I remember when I looked at my first SNG graph, I was just so proud of myself. It was my first true accomplishment. I still have it. It shows just the actual profit from the games, back then I had a great rakeback (oh 2007, how I miss you), and most of the profits came from that. But still, I had beaten the games, and with a pretty good ROI for 1-table SNGs.

My first SNG graph. Still fills me with joy! (edit: I don't know, it might have some HUSNGs mixed, but it's almost entirely full ring 1-table SNGs for sure).

I had also started seeing a Finnish girl, got a ton of new friends from my workplace, and I felt my life was in perfect balance. My blog kept getting more and more popular, and it reached 500 000 clicks after about six months. I still hadn't told people my real name, and the mystery just kept growing. I had been in Helsinki for months, but no one had seen me. I had so many stories from my backpacker years, that I kept the saga growing by posting a story every now and then where I reminisced some of my hey day-era adventures.

The attention and all the applause I got for my blog started turning me into something I wasn't, and the process had already began. I didn't know it yet, and it would take me two more years to realise what the blog ultimately made me become. At the time, I thought the bad times would be behind me, and I could keep on writing the most read poker blog in Finland, making a steady income of a couple of thousand per month playing SNGs, and working on the side to make for a nice living. This could easily have happened, if only I hadn't screwed it all up.

PS. A couple of pictures I was trying to include in #1 and #2 but failed:

Sydney preparing for Australia day in 2007.

From the Brisbane riverfire celebrations in 2007. I'm glad it was free, as I couldn't have afforded to pay $1 for a ticket.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:40 AM   #10
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Vol.4: From SNGs To Heads-Up Cash games, Discovering CardRunners And Quitting My Job For Poker

The cold, dark winter was about to be over. It was spring. I got my first paycheck that didn't go to paying my debts. I had a few thousand on my poker account, money that was mine, money I didn't owe anyone. I made plans of grinding it up to $30k by the end of the year, and based on my results it looked like a realistic target. I was still in a somewhat happy relationship with my girlfriend, and didn't miss being single too much.

We met through my workplace. She worked there part-time. We didn't see at work too much, which was good, and we originally got together when we went drinking after a night shift. We were pretty low-key about it, althought most of our co-workers knew. She knew about my poker playing and was very supportive of me. She was smart enough to understand it wasn't just random gambling, that it was possible to make money from it by outthinking everyone else. I was happy with my life.

On a certain night in April I was grinding a full schedule of SNGs again. It was a Saturday. I always made sure to grind as much as I could from Friday to Sunday, just like I nowadays do with MTTs, because the games were so much softer on those days.

On this particular Saturday, I lost and lost and lost. I had never encountered such a downswing before. I should probably say at this point that I admittedly didn't have a very good idea of variance back then. The 100 SNGs I played on that day, of which I cashed about two, felt like an impossible stretch of bad luck. I had never tilted really hard on my SNG career, but on that day, I sure tilted. And when an recovering gambling addict tilts, it's of the dangerous kind.

I had only a handful of cash game experience, and I had never won anything from a cash game pretty much, apart from that one night in Brisbane. I surely had never been profitable in a cash table. And I had never played a hand of heads-up. Actually, I'm pretty sure I had never played a hand of 6-max either. I know this sounds strange, but in 2008 there was basically one training site (CardRunners) which had just launched, and full ring was still the main game. The transition to 6-max had begun, and the full ring games had started experiencing their slow death, but back then there was basically no studying material for 6-max or heads-up. So it was only natural I had never played them.

I had ran into someone's blog a few days back who was strictly a heads-up player. I wish I could remember who it was, but I've totally forgotten. I'm pretty sure it was no one who even plays anymore, or at least he never made it big. But back then he was a minor star in the mid-stakes HU games in the Finnish poker community. He had pretty impressive results, and I remember reading a couple of hand histories he posted. I thought his playing style was insane. Raising 8-6 suited pre-flop? 3-betting a rag hand? Going broke 100BBs deep with top pair? Crazy! I thought the world of heads-up was interesting, and made a mental note to sometimes look into it and maybe practice a little at micro stakes.

On this particular night when I was tilted like a raging bull, I forgot about all the rules. I forgot about bankroll management and taking stupid shots. I had spent a great deal of time teaching myself to become a solid grinder, especially on the mental side, as my post-going broke analysis clearly showed that the reason I went broke was a) not being able to control myself, and b) playing in games I couldn't beat. I had a post-it note on my desk that said the following words:

When you face a bad beat, breathe. Remember what happened in 2007. You don't want to go back there. Don't do anything stupid.

So tilted was I about this 100 buy-in downswing, that I threw the note into the garbage bin. "**** this", I told myself, and searched for cash games in the lobby. I opened a 1/2 heads-up table, despite having absolutely no idea how to play that game.

I can't remember any of the hands, but I dropped about $400 pretty quickly. I had $3000 on my account before the session, and I lost $2000 thanks to my awful SNG run, and now I only had $600 left. I didn't have any extra on my bank account, I'd have to wait until my next payday until I'd be able to deposit, and even then it'd be less than the $600 I still had. But I didn't care about any of that. I was furious at the unfairness of the game. "This is so unfair", I said to myself. I sat out from the 1/2 table, and sat in a 3/6 table. I remember the guy's screen name. It was J. Braddock. He was an Ongame reg at those stakes, which I of course didn't know at the time. Had I known, it would've made me want to play him even more. A part of me wanted to lose.

This is a feeling I've struggled with so many times during my career. It's almost perverse. You do your best to win, you spend endless hours studying and getting better. You fine-tune your game to a point where it's almost too good. Yet you still want to go broke, because being broke means being free. Being broke means that none of the negative emotions associated with poker can touch you, because you can't play. You are free to do whatever you want, you no longer have to experience the adrenaline rushes, your heart beating faster and faster, the disappointment when you catch an unfortunate river. You are free from checking your bankroll 10 times every session, you're free from the stress. You're free from posting hand histories to forums, checking if a push was profitable with SNGWiz. You're free, because you're off the bandwagon. The only way to not be able to play poker is to be broke. This was the first time in my career I felt this strange feeling of wanting to lose. I wanted to commit a poker suicide, or at least take a break.

Of course, I didn't know this in my mind yet. Having come to terms with how my mind works, I only understand it afterwards, and it's taken me a long time to get to this point. So much of the stupid stuff I did during my years before learning to play MTTs, and finding the only form of poker that makes me happy and balanced, comes down to this. I busted a lot of bankrolls, not because I wanted to move up in levels too fast and had a get rich or die trying attitude, but because I wasn't ready for it all and wanted to set myself free.

In my mind during the match against J.Braddock, I had only one goal. It was to get my money back. I wanted to have my account balance at $3000 again, then I would quit and go to sleep. I'd forget about my lapse, about the entire heads-up thing, and get back to grinding SNGs. Somewhere at the back of my mind I had an additional target of losing it all, so it was kind of a win-win situation. I didn't feel stressed or excited at all. I justed wanted to see what happens. I posted my big blind.

In one of the first hands I called a 3-bet with 87 of diamonds (yeah, back then I didn't realise that calling large 3-bets 100BB effective with suited connectors isn't the greatest of ideas). I flopped a straight against his overpair, and doubled up to $1200. Soon after, I flipped with my jacks against his AK, and held. Fast forward a few minutes, and I called a 3-bet with a pair of deuces and hit a set. I got it in against his top pair, and held. Soon after, flush against two pair. In less than 20 minutes I had more than I had started my night with.

To those who've read the previous parts, this isn't coming as a surprise: After sitting out and hit and running him I thought I was approximately the best heads-up player in the world. I had won $2600 in a really short time. I had just made more in 20 minutes than I had made in a month playing SNGs. I thought I was a natural talent. I thought I'd be making hundreds of thousands, no, millions, by the end of the year.

I slept happily, and the first thing on my mind when I woke up was playing heads-up. I had caught the bug. It was full of action, it was exciting, it made me feel alive in a way that SNGs never did. I couldn't care less about SNGs, I wanted to become the best heads-up player in the world. No less would do.

While I still was a massive idiot at the time, I had managed to come to terms with the fact that you need to study to get better. I did think I was a great natural talent for crushing J.Braddock (thanks to running like the sun and coolering him left, right and center, which I of course didn't understand at the time), but I also thought I should find out about a few things. I had no idea what kind of bet sizes I should use. I had no idea what was a standard amount to open from the button, or what kind of hands I should play.

I bought a CardRunners membership and watched my first poker video. I was totally unfamiliar with the concept, I had no idea how training videos even worked. I had never heard of any of their pros, but I read from the heads up guy's blog I followed that they had good videos. I chose a video made by Taylor "Green Plastic" Caby, who was one of the biggest names in online cash games back then. He had over 20 videos, the one I picked was called "Taylor sweats Ezmogee" (the CardRunners executive Ezra, who coincidentally three years later would offer to buy all of my WSOP action), and the idea was to teach a newbie how to play. This sounded perfect, so I started watching.

During watching that video, so many things clicked. I think that for some reason I'm naturally very good at instantly copying someone's style, and that's something I still sometimes do when I watch videos. I choose an instructor, watch a video, copy his style and play exactly like him in my next session, just to see if his style works for me, and adapt bits and pieces to my own game.

It took me exactly 45 minutes of watching Taylor and Ezra to feel I was ready to return to the HU games, but this time with a more professional approach. I made myself a promise to always have at least 20 buy-ins for the level I was at, and to start from 0,50/1. (Back then most articles suggested that 20 buy-ins was enough of a roll for cash games, but this was because they were all made considering full ring games, and I had no idea you'd need more for 6-max or especially HU.)

Still with basically no theoretical knowledge, but a good game plan learned from Taylor Caby in my head, I sat in two tables of 0,5/1, waiting for opponents. Back then I played as salty_water, my Whitebet account. I named myself after a British Sea Power song. Come to think of it, almost all of my screen names come from songs: l31f3r1ks0n, aka Leif Erikson by Interpol. Cannotletgo comes from a Royksopp song that repeats the words "cannot let go". BoysDontCRAI obviously comes from the Cure song, and shmshmshmSHIMSHIMMYY hails from U.N.K.L.E.'s Rabbit In Your Headlights music video (I highly recommend watching it, it's a five-star masterpiece by the way).

It didn't take long for someone to come and challenge me. I crushed him. The next opponent, I crushed him too. I won $1200 on my first night playing 0,50/1.

The games back then were incredibly soft. Ongame in 2008 was about the same as PartyPoker in 2005 probably was. People were flat out donating you money. While I, looking from today's perspective, was pretty bad, I still beat almost everyone on the site. Two other regs that I remember playing the same games back then: Adrenoah and AkuJoe. Both made it and nowadays play high stakes with deep bankrolls. I played a bunch against both of them. They were certainly a million times better than me, but I ran really hot against them too, and I think I'm still up against both of them. I have no graphs to prove this though, because I hadn't even heard of Poker Tracker back then. Hold'em Manager was still in beta testing.

During the spring I skyrocketed through the stakes. It took me about a month to turn that $3k into $20k. I went from 0,50/1 to 2/4 in a few days. I grinded 2/4 and 3/6 for a month, and I won almost every day. I didn't have time to play a lot as I still had a full-time job and a girlfriend. I worked night shifts at the time, and I still remember what my routine was like back then: Wake up at 6PM. Eat breakfast. Open the client, and play a three-hour session planning to leave for work at 10PM. Find yourself still grinding at 10.30PM. Run to the bus stop, just make it to the bus, just make it to work in time. Work until 7AM, go home, grind for another three hours, pass out in front of the computer, wake up at 6AM. Repeat.

I thought I was so good. I posted some results in my blog, and everyone congratulated me. People were predicting that I'd become the next Finnish superstar. I really did win four figures basically every night I played. I got more and more cocky, and about a month into my heads-up career I started reverse table selecting. I sat out against anyone who was too bad. Random Ongame weekend night fishes were actively trying to give me money, and I refused to take it. Whenever someone limped his button, I sat out. I insulted him in the chat and told him that I don't want his money, I want to play against real players. It's funny to think that these days the tables are full of bumhunters who only play if someone does limp his first button.

I pretty much only played against the toughest regs. This is the first time I remember reading 2+2, I made a screen name (I can't remember what it was anymore, it's not the one I'm using now) to find out who the toughest regs were. Man, I'd love to find that post somewhere. I basically went to the mid-stakes forums and either started a thread or asked in someone's thread who are the hardest opponents you can find in the network. Then I went and challenged them, and I almost always won.

Of course, this was just a hot streak. I don't think I played more than maybe 30 000 hands during that time. Again I don't know, because I didn't have a tracker. It's hilarious to think that for a brief time period I crushed almost every mid-stakes reg in the network without understanding anything. I didn't have a clue about exploiting, or game theory, or ranges. I had actually never heard the word "range". I just clicked buttons, and watched a new Taylor Caby video every now and then. I remember making a set like 40% of the time when I flatted a 3-bet with a pocket pair, and I thought everyone was so dumb going broke with overpairs time after time.

Around the same time my hot streak happened, we got a new boss at work. She was an absolute ***** and hated me from the beginning. I loved my workplace because of my co-workers, who were great. But the new boss was just too much. She made my life hell at work, and after a night of winning $5k and then being berated by my boss at work once again I just randomly decided to quit. It was an impromptu decision. I remember her calling me stupid for doing some minor thing wrong, and in the heat of the moment I responded by calling her a **** and announcing my resignation. Because of my choice of words, I didn't have to go through the 2-week resignation period. I smiled and walked away, knowing I'd be making so much more playing poker. After all, I had made $20k in a month playing just 4-5 hours a day, how much would I be making playing full time?
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:43 AM   #11
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Vol.5: A Rollercoaster Ride, Meeting Future EPT Winner and 2+2 Legend Jeans, And The Pulling PA's Pants Down Bet

May came. In Finland, we have something that could be decribed as a National Drinking Day on the 1st of May. I had massive hangover on the 2nd, just like everyone else. I went to my nearest McDonald's, and queued 30 minutes for a hangover meal. I barely managed to keep it inside. After finishing my burger I had nothing to do, so I decided to grind.

I had a little over $20k online. I had hardly met such thing as a losing day yet, and still blinded by my false assumption of a 20 buy-in bankroll management being standard, I took my first shot at 5/10. Or, actually I can't really describe it as a shot, it rather felt like a logical next step. I thought crushing 5/10 would be as easy as crushing 2/4 and 3/6.

I challenged a Swedish reg. I lost my first buy-in after a fairly brutal bad beat where my flush ran into his runner-runner boat. The next few buy-ins I can't remember. It all happened pretty quickly. Everytime I tried to value bet thin, he raised forcing me to fold. Everytime I had the nuts, he folded. And of course every time I tried to bluff him he snap called. He totally owned my soul, and won all the flips too. Without the deck helping me, I quickly dropped him $10k. I was still a bit dizzy because of last night, and hardly even noticed how much I'd been losing. My judgement had always been poor, but on this night it was even poorer than usual.

Of course I took dropping 10 buy-ins to him as a massive ego hit. After all, I thought I was invincible, so losing to someone felt terrible. I asked him to play higher, and we moved to a 10/20 table. It didn't take me long to lose the rest of my roll. I lost pretty much everything except for a few thousand to him, running really bad at 10/20 too. He hit and ran me when I had my last $4k left. I was furious and just wanted to get rid of the rest of my roll, despite the money I had left forming about 80 per cent of my entire net worth, and I was looking for a way to do it. I went to 25/50, but for some reason I still can't understand everyone refused to play me.

I looked around in the lobby. If no one gives me action at high stakes, what would be the easiest way to either lose my $4k or get back to $20k? This is how I discovered internet casinos. I did a few $1k roulette flips, didn't hit and that was pretty much it. You're welcome, Whitebet casino.

As a side note, I later found out that the player I lost to was involved in a superuser scandal. He knew people in high positions at Ongame, and got them to do basically whatever he wanted, and many regs claimed to getting cheated by him in multiple ways. I never looked into it, and if I had to estimate I still believe I almost certainly lost in a fair way. It's just kind of funny that my first big loss was to a known cheater. Live and learn.

The next few days were difficult. The first thing I remember feeling was a mixture of numbness and freedom. I had lost $20k, about the amount my mother makes in a year, in less than an hour degening it up. But I also knew I was free from the stress, and it didn't feel too bad at first. I thought I could easily sky-rocket through the stakes again with my next deposit. I thought I'd be back in no time. Except that I didn't even have a job, and I didn't know how I'd be able to deposit again.

Next up was guilt. I felt bad because of my poor background, and I kept imagining scenarios of how my loved ones would react if they knew what I'd just done. Then, desperation. After a few days of not being able to grind I wanted to get back so bad I kept playing play money games. Just when I was considering taking some fast cash loans again, I got a major rakeback payment. I had no idea rakeback could be this huge. In 2008 it always took affiliates ages to make the rakeback payments, and I had a 60% deal with Whitebet. I got basically all of the rakeback I had earned from my HU adventures at once, and it was almost $2k. Time to get back on the grind.

The next few weeks I played like a maniac. I grinded day and night. My results weren't as good as last time, because variance caught up with me, but I kept winning. I studied a lot too, and watched almost every single HU video I could find on CardRunners. These weeks were the first time I think I was actually playing well enough to beat the games I was in, 0,5/1 up to 2/4. It wouldn't be enough in today's games, but in 2008 playing like all the pros did in the videos was enough, you didn't actually have to be able to think on your own. I still didn't have a HUD, I still couldn't have explained what I was doing if someone had asked, I was just clicking buttons. Every now and then I stopped in the middle of a hand, and asked myself questions like "What would Brian Hastings do?". I spent some time thinking about spots, and even if I wasn't doing it the right way (thinking about ranges), I somehow seemed to get it right most of the time. There were definitely tons of better regulars than me in the games back then, but I was still good enough to get my share.

When I had turned my rakeback into close to $10k, I started grinding 2/4 again, and again I hit a heater. I found J.Braddock sitting, and I coolered him for $5k. I hope he's not reading this, because I must've won at a rate of like 30ptBB/100 hands against him. It was ridiculous. He must hate me. By June, my bankroll was back at $20k.

In June, a series of events happened. First, my grandmother got diagnosed with cancer. She lived in Northern Finland, 800 kilometres from where I lived with my mum. I had been thinking about moving on my own somewhere, but I never had time do it before my mother had to leave. She's a nurse/geriatrician (the kind of doctor who works with old people), and she almost instantly quit her job to be with my grandmother. She moved on my grandparents' couch, left everything behind, just like that. I still admire her courage for that.

So, now I had the house for myself. It wasn't fancy, but naturally I was planning to stay there for the time my mum would be away.

Next up was the second party. For the first time they also held a summer party, to celebrate The Midnight Sun tournament series in Helsinki. I was again invited, and this time there was even more pressure for me to show up. My blog had well over half a million hits, and more and more people had started questioning my existence. It was suggested I was a random nerd living in a closet making things up. I was accused of all kinds of stuff. For example, when I told about my $20k swings, people demanded graphs to prove it. I told them I didn't have a tracking program, and they didn't believe that someone could play so high without one. I think I actually tried installing PokerTracker 2 once, but it was too difficult for me with all the PostGreSQL stuff.

I tried to make sure I wouldn't get sick again, but sure enough, I got sick. It's ridiculous, I've been invited to these parties twice a year since January 2008, for a total of eight parties always held at the same dates. Eight out of eight times I've been sick either during the party or just before it. In June 2008, I was lucky to catch the flu a few days earlier, so I was just able to go. I took a massive package of napkins with me, and I remember feeling tipsy after my first vodka because I had taken a couple of painkillers to help with the symptoms, but I went there.

I didn't know anyone. By this point, I had 0 poker-playing friends. I had never met a single Finnish person who played poker, apart from my two ex-workmates who were micro stakes players and didn't know about my identity. It was so hard. I wasn't anywhere near as social as I nowadays am, and I was terrified of talking to people. I wasn't generally afraid of talking to stangers, but how could I actually start this conversation? "Hi, random person. I'm that Interpol (my screen name for blogging) guy. You can look at me, or even touch me, to see for yourself that I'm real". I decided to take a few vodkas.

I spotted the actor, called Jasper, who had commented on my blog earlier. I also knew that he was involved with organizing the party. He had actually sent me an email where he especially asked me to show up and said that he'd like to meet me, so I thought I should start from him. So I walked to the most succesful actor in Finnish history, and introduced myself. He was really nice, and despite being shy I managed to somehow handle the situation. He introduced me to more people, including many well-known grinders, and I hit it off with many of them. I had no idea there were so many people who thought the same way about poker and life. Many of them said they lived abroad for a few months a year, something I definitely wanted to do. I even got an invitation to join one of them in Thailand in the following autumn to grind together. I ended up getting really drunk and had the time of my life.

One of the people I talked to was Jens "Indigenous89" Kyllönen, who less than 9 months later would go on to win EPT Copenhagen for a payday of over $1,1M. I would be the person to write a 12-page article on him for a magazine, and us both would be linked to a blonde reality tv star in various gossip magazines, claiming we had offered to pay her for sex (as you guessed, I'll get to this later). It's funny how the universe works. Things just happen at random, and every minor thing you do (such as talking to a stranger at a party) can lead to crazy stuff happening later.

Jens had already won the ECOOP Main Event online for $200k and was grinding 10/20 and 25/50 6-max with good results. When the party was about to be over, somehow me, Jens, Jasper and some other people ended up in the same afterparty. Patrik Antonius was also there. He had already moved to United States, and he was just visiting family in Finland. It was a huge thing that Jasper and other people at managed to lure him to the party.

At the afterparty me and Jens discussed a bet considering pulling PA's pants down. We agreed that if either of us did it, the other person would have to pay 500 euros. Jens already had a fortune of half a million, when I had just $20k. I was pretty close to doing it. I'm happy I didn't, because PA would've kicked my ass, and I would've been sent home, and everyone would've thought I was an idiot. Many things may not have happened had I made a fool of myself pulling down the pants of Finland's most succesful poker player of all time. Jens didn't do the trick either, so Patrik got to keep his pants on. Although Jens made a 2+2 post that night suggesting otherwise, when he saw PA talking to some random dancer chick who was also at the afterparty, claiming that Patrik might be up to something despite being married (for the record, neither of us saw anything actually happen, but being drunk it felt like a great idea to post it). I tried searching for the thread but couldn't find it, it's quite likely Jens (2+2 name Jeans) has got it deleted. We met for a hangover meal the next day, and I remember Jens being worried about PA kicking his ass. To my knowledge, it never happened.

Soon after the party I got an email from Jasper, saying they were a starting a new poker magazine. He wanted me to write a regular column for them. This was a dream come true. I'd have an actual job doing writing, and I'd get to write about my favourite subject on earth, poker. I've never replied to an email more rapidly, and I remember my hands literally shaking. When it took him another day or two to get back to me, I got increasingly worried and paranoid. Maybe they had found someone else? Maybe they had decided that I was too much of a wild card? Luckily, that wasn't the case. The next email came from their chief editor, asking to meet me.

I'm the kind of person who's always late from everywhere, but that meeting was something I refused to be later from. The trip was about 20 minutes, but I left 40 minutes early. We met in a high-class cafe, and I had no idea what to say. I didn't know if he knew anything about me, I didn't know if he wanted me to write strategy or what. I didn't know if it was a done deal or a work interview. Just in case, I printed a few pages of blog to show him.

None of that was required. He basically told me that he was impressed with my blog, that I can write whatever I want to. More controversial the stuff is, the better. He said the first issue would be out in two months, and he gave me a month to come up with my first article. My first published magazine article, ever.

I ended up writing about prostitutes in poker, and the headline for the article was "SuckMyAAs".

My first magazine article, published in Pokerisivut 1/2008. The pic was taken when I was 20 and still had my eyebrow piercing.

I ended up going to Las Vegas a couple of weeks after the party. It was partially to participate in my first WSOP, partially to see the city and party hard, and partially to get material for my first article. That trip deservers its own post, so more on that next time!
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:54 AM   #12
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

What I forgot to include in the cliff notes was meeting Johnny Lodden. Definitely one of the high points of my journalistic career. I guess many 2011 people don't even know who he is, but he used to be huge. He was the biggest heads-up player in the world until he lost almost everything to a hacker. He totally crushed Prima 200/400 when it used to be the biggest game online in 2006 (?). Holy **** Johnny had the sickest stories. I ended up doing an exclusive 10-page article on him, where he told me everything about the games against TheTerrorist and Mohammad having hired scandi motorcycle gangs for his protection and to threaten Johnny and crazy **** like that. I don't believe this article has even been translated. I'm not gonna go too deep in there because I know Johnny is pretty private these days, and probably wouldn't want to think about the entire thing. He's someone who would never hurt a fly and was the victim of a massive scam, massive even in today's Girahgate scale, and the story is pretty sad. Johnny is really awesome by the way, and he's one of the few people I've met on the circuit who really has great values outside poker. I've got nothing but the greatest of respect for him. Anyway, I'll get there once I get to PCA 2009, which will probably take a few more entries.

More to come.
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:38 AM   #13
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

This is ****ing epic. 5 stars, subscriped, sick life etc. Thanks for writing this!

Last edited by SmokeyJ; 08-18-2011 at 01:39 AM. Reason: why? because i'm chuck bass
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:42 AM   #14
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

More tonight please
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:44 AM   #15
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

<3 OP, I've read some of this in MTTc before (i think)
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:44 AM   #16
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

well im going to bed soon but since e1 seems to like what u write I might read it too later
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:46 AM   #17
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

This thread will surpass mooremoney19 as the most popular on 2plus2. I hate to use this word but

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Old 08-18-2011, 01:47 AM   #18
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

wow. amazing drunken read. or sober read for that matter. how much less appeal do you think you'd have if you had not busto'd so many times? theres a huge soft spot for degens it seems, as everyone who isnt a pro is one
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:50 AM   #19
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Very well written man- I`ve got a ton of respect for adults who can beat sports-betting- nevermind 10 year olds!
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:53 AM   #20
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Originally Posted by Dave47 View Post
Very well written man- I`ve got a ton of respect for adults who can beat sports-betting- nevermind 10 year olds!
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:55 AM   #21
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

More! More!

This is awesome.
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:16 AM   #22
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Post some more, story is pretty wild so far

Thanks for sharing dude
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:17 AM   #23
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

subbing to read later always good posts Chuck
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:36 AM   #24
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

I can't believe the games were that soft back in the day @_@. Amazing.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:10 AM   #25
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Originally Posted by Chuck Bass View Post
Vol.4: From SNGs To Heads-Up Cash games, Discovering CardRunners And Quitting My Job For Poker

This is a feeling I've struggled with so many times during my career. It's almost perverse. You do your best to win, you spend endless hours studying and getting better. You fine-tune your game to a point where it's almost too good. Yet you still want to go broke, because being broke means being free. Being broke means that none of the negative emotions associated with poker can touch you, because you can't play. You are free to do whatever you want, you no longer have to experience the adrenaline rushes, your heart beating faster and faster, the disappointment when you catch an unfortunate river. You are free from checking your bankroll 10 times every session, you're free from the stress. You're free from posting hand histories to forums, checking if a push was profitable with SNGWiz. You're free, because you're off the bandwagon. The only way to not be able to play poker is to be broke. This was the first time in my career I felt this strange feeling of wanting to lose. I wanted to commit a poker suicide, or at least take a break.
Wow, it boggles my mind English is your 2nd language. Articulating thoughts in writing is tough but the above concept is explained so well and it makes so much sense. Through the middle of Vol 4.. will have to read the rest some other time... GOOD STUFF.
-R-oger-Shh-A-besh is offline   Reply With Quote


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