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Read a story of my first experience with real money online poker
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Online Texas Hold'em Poker adventure..

Here is an informal account of my ventures into the world of online low limit hold'em poker.
After a brief encounter with free online Video Poker games, have learned enough about poker hands to try Texas Hold'em with play money.
After accumulating a few thousand (play money) dollars, starting to think I am good enough to try real money for the first time. Watch the action on a 50c table for a while. After playing with play money stakes with $5 tables and $200+ play money pots, the 50c tables with $3 - $10 pots look like peanuts.
Have a few extra dollars.. deposit $100 into a real money account. I am thinking that on 50c limit table, that ought to be enough to play for a loooooong time even if I lose... Hey.. I doubled my play money.. how much different could this be.

First time betting with real money is a BIG thrill. And lo and behold, I actually won about $20 after playing for 1 hour. WOW!!.. unbelievable.. time to celebrate. Take a break to come down from the dizzy high of first time gambling win. Have a couple drinks.. Ok.. Im ready to make another quick $20.. bye bye play money tables.. Im a real gambler now.
SWOOOOOSH!! That was the sound of my $120 shrinking down to $50 in about 45 minutes (those little 50c $1 bets add up). Do a quick retreat with my "tail between my legs". This is NOT good. Have to come to the bitter realization that my "graduation with honors" from the fake money tables was about as worthless as a fake degree from a fake university. Welcome to the real world baby.. :-)

Ok.. no problem.. I will read a few strategy pages and come back to rescue my kidnapped $$ from the enemy.
Pot odds, button positon, starting pair rank...whew.. too much.. Ok.. I undertand starting pair rank. If it is less than 50% I fold, better than 50% I be safe, lets only play 60% or higher.
Ok.. now we are making progress. Not losing $50/hr but learning some painful lessons on the way. What cruel twist of fate is it that gives me an ace high flush while giving someone else a full house. Dont even get me started on goofy straights. I have even missed those when I am holding them much less try to anticipate that my opponent has set a trap for me with that sneaky check on the flop.
Initial $100 is gone!!.. Ok no problem.. I have spent that much and more in 1 weekend of "party" so this is just another PokerParty. I got about 2 weeks of entertainment from it.

A week or 2 later deposit another $100.. read some more online and newsgroup articles. Write a Holdem-Helper program to evaluate starting pair rank. Up my minimum starting pair fold threshold to 65% or lower.

Second $100 lasted about a month. Damn!! Getting better but STILL losing. Search newsgroups on "how to beat low limit". Find lots of low limit bad beat stories and how AA and KK are cracked on the turn and river by schmucks who never fold etc.. etc..Some advice to read books (yuck..last resort).. most posts are for no limit games for which I have enough sense to know I dont know enough to dabble in that. What I know is that I know I just know I can beat low limit.
Ok.. time to try again.. deposit 3rd $100. Seem to be breaking even.. stack is fluctuating all over the place. When I win, I start getting cocky and careless and lose it all back. Trying to play 2 tables is a disaster. Losing double amount twise as fast. Get into a downward spiral.. go on tilt.. blah blah blah long story short.. third $100!! deposit is balance $0. I am down $300 @#$%^% ing dollars.

OK.. now I am pissed really ROYAL FLUSH PISSED!! Get on the phone with Barnes & Noble. got "Winning low limit hold'em? by Lee Jones"
"Ok.. I will be there in 20 minutes.. hold the book for me"
Could get it cheaper online but who's gonna wait a week for shipping. I buy the book and can't wait till I get home..start reading while driving... (cars are veering off the road and honking as I intermittently glance up to navigate in between paragraphs.)

Ahhh.. so you are supposed to raise with AK the book.. read it again read it some more.. (not a big book about 200 pages).. review starting pair strategy over and over.

Deposit $60 (This better be the last damn !@#$ing deposit)
Tighten up starting pair threshold. Folding any offsuit less than A9 (except on blinds), Folding low pairs out of position (yes I finally understand position) folding suited pair if not connected or at least 1 high card, folding folding folding. Paying some attention to pot odds. Reduced my buy in at the table to 1/2 the default amount. Sitting at a table with a smaller initial amount has I believe had a big effect in limiting losses. When I lose what I came with I quit that table, take a break and this has virtually eliminated tilt. Losing is part of the game. You will lose. But you will also win. Tilt the wins slightly over your losses and you end up ahead.

So.. what is my current balance? $400 thank you very much!!

To be continued..

Part (2)

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Minimum deposit  $50
Low limit tables     50c
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Q. Why is AK like Anna Kournikova?
A.  Always looks great, Never wins

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