Like a lot of people, I got into poker by seeing it on TV. Watching Late Night Poker, I was intrigued by these larger than life characters playing what to my naive eye looked like snap! It didn't take me long to realise that there was a lot more going on here than I first thought. As a young boy, I played chess to quite a high level and I appreciated the thought processes that were going into the decisions. I also liked the bluster and the banter.
I downloaded Pacific Poker (remember them?) the next day and played some play money games. I tentatively made a small deposit and played a £2.50 STT and won. The adrenaline buzz from pressing a few buttons was indescribable and I was hooked.
Next weekend I went to Blackpool Grosvenor as it was called then and played a £5 rebuy tournament. It was fast and furious and I had very little idea what was going on and I sat quiet just watching the carnage that was taking place. Eventually I got dealt AK, and just like on TV put in my 3x raise. I got 8 callers. The flop come Ace high - fantastic! I bet my remaining 550 chips and got 5 callers. Unbelievably my hand stand up and I'd raked my first live pot. The adrenaline was coursing through my veins now and I quickly got into the swing of it. I eventually cashed 5 hours later for £110 and am proud to say that I have never played poker with my own money since.
This was about 2005 although my memory is a little hazy. I have been playing live poker ever since then as a hobby and am proud to say I have never had a losing year. I am constantly thinking about poker and spend a fair amount of my time striving to improve and analysing my play.
Part of the reason I decided to start writing a blog was I feel I am at a crossroads in my poker career. It has always been a hobby for me but for the past year it has become a far more important source of income for me and my family. I have never 'built a bankroll' and have always spent my winnings on my family and home once they had accumulated. I paid for my wedding, honeymoon, home improvements and holidays using money won at the tables but I have come to realise that I will never progress in the poker world with this attitude to bankroll management. Like I said in my opening post, I want to be winning bigger buy in tournaments and playing bigger cash games and this will never happen if poker remains a hobby for me.
This year I have not spent a single penny of my poker earnings.
Not a single penny.
Shortly, my wife and I will be making a decision. The two options are:
1. Do the sensible, safe thing and keep poker as a hobby. Continue to play at weekends and make a few quid here and there whilst maintaining the sensible, safe teaching career.
2. Go all in. Fuck the job off, use the growing bankroll and chase the dream.
I am genuinely torn between the two and no decisions have yet been firmly made. History tells me I am a winning player, but am I winning enough to support my family? My teaching career is solid, reliable and at times, rewarding. I often become frustrated with being unable to play tournaments due to work commitments but show me a poker player who hasn't felt that! This is not a decision I am taking lightly and I feel whatever I decide it will be clouded by a tinge of regret.
That being said, it's exciting.
Thanks for taking the time to read. Follow me on twitter @Awesome_Hutch and feel free to message me with comments.