Back Playing Poker Again
Aside from two small poker tournaments in Sept. 2018 and another in Nov. 2018, the last time I played any form of online poker was back in Oct. 2015, almost four years ago. There was a time when I used to spend every possible spare minute logging cash game hands, grinding sit & gos or firing up multi-table tournaments, although those days seemed to be long gone. Or have they?
One of the reasons I stopped playing poker was because of work. Having picked up more poker-related writing gigs, the last thing I wanted to do with my spare time was sit grinding poker for several hours after spending all day writing about the game.
Another was that I drifted from the poker scene despite being heavily involved in it. I retired from live reporting shortly after the 2014 World Series of Poker (WSOP) so lost an outlet when it came to discussing strategy and watching poker hands unfold in front of me. I’d often come back from live reporting at a major event ready to smash it up online because spending 7-10 days with the game’s elite, bouncing hands off them and watching them in action made playing online in low buy-in tournaments seem so easy.
Why did I stop playing poker?
Thinking about it, perhaps another reason was the fact I had become obsessed with the money side of the game. While I was never going to become a professional poker player, or make bagfuls of cash from this crazy game, I was a profitable player at my stakes and poker had paid for several luxuries during my “career”. The less I played and was involved in the playing side via reporting duties, the more I’d think to myself “what’s the point of grinding this $3 tournament to min-cash after six hours for $7.92 when I could be working or even playing on the PlayStation.”
The money also became a factor when I hit a downswing. I remember towards the end of when I last played poker seriously that I hit two major downswings in quick succession in the $2 and $3.50 rebuy 180-man turbo MTTSNG at PokerStars that cost me a large percentage of my bankroll. After one particularly bad session, I recall having lost something like $250, which isn’t a ton in the grand scheme of things, and doubting the bit of ability I thought I had and visualising what I could have spent that money on.
It is live reporting that has reignited my passion for poker. The 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is drawing to a close and I have spent a decent chunk of time shadow editing the team out in Las Vegas, meaning I have read hundreds of updates from the events taking place. It has been arduous work, but it has also taken me back to a time when I loved playing poker and reading about it 24/7.
Playing poker online
Earlier this month, partypoker announced they were forcing all players to change their aliases as part of some ongoing ecology improvements. $500,000 was being given away in a promotion called Alias Race as a reward for creating a new moniker at the tables. You received a virtual scratch card each time you earned 0.10 loyalty points each hour and some of the prizes were worth up to $10,000 cash.
I’ll be honest, I had visions of banking $10,000 for doing next to fuck all so played some micro-stakes no limit hold’em (NLHE) and pot limit Omaha (PLO) cash games. Of course, the $10,000 and all other cash prizes eluded me, but I won ticket to a freeroll tournament that had a $10,000 prize pool.
A few thousand fellow fish entered the freeroll and I managed to navigate my way to five spots outside of the money places to bubble yet another fucking tournament. While disappointed not to secure some free cash, I really enjoyed playing; it was the first time I could say that in years.
While grinding some massive stakes $0.01/$0.02 PLO cash games, which I am loving BTW, I entered a $0.88 turbo tournament that attracted 131 players. I scraped into the money, finishing 13th for less than a couple of bucks, but the prize didn’t matter because I loved every minute of it. The old heart got pumping again when I was in a big pot. It felt great to act on a read and be correct. It was like the old days again.
I’ve not had much spare time to play any poker since that little tournament but you can rest assured that I’ll be returning to the tables again in the near future and hopefully get back into a routine that allows me to grind some tournaments and hopefully climb up the various stakes. Whether I stay at partypoker to do this remains to be seen, that depends on being able to get access to my hand histories in some form so I can post a few of my fish plays on here!