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How I Started Playing Online Poker

By "DaytonaGreg"


Welcome to Poker Decision! I'm Greg and if you've never been to our site before I'd like to tell you a little bit about me and our website.

Hooked on Holdem

In 2003 I became fascinated like many people watching World Series on ESPN. I was hooked and was watching it at every opportunity. Before long I began surfing the web looking for online poker sites and wondering what was required for me to play. When I realized I could play for free at Party Poker, I downloaded the software to my laptop and played hundreds, if not thousands of games, mostly "Limit Texas Holdem" single table tournaments. I tried a couple of "no limit" play money tournaments, but was disappointed that so many of the players were simply going "ALL-IN" on the first hand. It seemed a bit ridiculous to me, so I was back playing limit poker and for a while I was a happy camper. I enjoyed the camaraderie of the players, but soon realized that many of these people had little interest in playing "as if it were real". That became more and more frustrating. I then had an idea. I figured that out of ten people in a tournament game there must be 2 or 3 that actually cared about playing real poker. My job,I figured, was to be disciplined enough and hang around long enough so that I could get down to the final 3 or 4. Most of the time, it worked. I frequently found myself in the final three or four with players who did not want to lose - or at least cared enough about their decisions that they weren't completely reckless. Now that might not sound like very stiff competition, but when you compare that to the ridiculous "roulette-style" of poker that you typically see at the start of most play money games, it was a major improvement.

Another Try at No Limit

It was at this point, I decided to test the waters again at the No Limit game. As expected, a number of players at these single table play money tournaments would go ALL-IN on the first hand. Invariably, some guy would end up with 3200 chips after the first hand. It was almost comical. But I realized my purpose was not to win all the play money chips. My goal was to find the two or three players who really cared about playing the game - and play them. I had begun thinking about playing for real money, but since I like money, I was not ready to risk any of it until I thought I had a shot.

I kept this up for a number of months, and I soon began to win with regularity - mostly by being extremely patient and very aggressive when the cards were good. I started foolishly thinking I was a great player and the world had better watch out. I began to buy poker books and started with Lee Jone's popular book, Low Limit Holdem. Even though it was a "limit" texas holdem book, I had heard that it was perfect for a beginning texas holdem player. I learned a lot about fundamentals from that book. Before long, I was continuously buying poker books from Amazon.com, almost one a week - and I was actually reading them. My poker library is huge at this point and I dare to say I own just about every relevant texas holdem poker book published. Some were absolutely brilliant, like Dan Harrington's amazing, "Harrington on Holdem, Strategic Play"

Playing for Real Money

In late 2004, I finally decided that it was time to play for real. I did not know much about the free bonuses offered by most online poker sites, so I just deposited $100 at Party Poker and began watching some real money tournaments to get a feel for it. As expected, there was a major contrast in style with real money players. Going ALL-IN on the first hand was non-existent, and all ten players were frequently still "in the game" fifteen minutes after a tournament started. Even though these were only $5+$1 games, the players for the most part took it seriously and they wanted to take my money. I entered my first No Limit $5+$1 tournament game and came in 2nd, winning $15. I actually had a significant chip lead (at one point my opponent had only 180 chips left), but he still beat me ("raginriva", that would be you). Even so, that was thrilling and I felt like much of my practice had paid off somewhat.

Tracking Progress

Since I had kept an Excel spreadsheet of most every play money and real money tournament I played, I knew that the number one reason for my early success was discipline, pure and simple. Keeping notes after each session and recording results of pivotal decisions on specific hands was invaluable to analyzing and adjusting my play. I realized that many opponents were frequently too aggressive too early, or painfully passive. The tight, aggressive style had worked for me and I continue to use it to this day. I have found that, for a recreational player like myself, this offers the lowest risk and most consistent reward over time. While I have continued to play, and moved up to the $10+$1 buy-in tournaments, I more frequently play the so-called "ring games", on-going, non-tournament games where you can sit down and get up (virtually) whenever you like. The games I play are a maximum $25 or $50 BUY-IN (meaning that is the MOST you can "start with" at the table).

Our Texas Holdem Forums

The purpose of this website is to not only share how I became a winning Online Poker -, no limit texas holdem player online - but more importantly, to exchange information in a friendly environment with others who are interested in improving their game. I realize I do not have all the answers, so we have just added a new Discussion Forum geared to Online Poker, Free Online Poker and No Limit Texas Holdem. I hope you will take some time to help LAUNCH this new forum by STARTING some INTERESTING DISCUSSION THREADS. Alot of you out there know more than I do and I am hoping to learn some new things as well. I am glad you are here and I appreciate your time in helping grow this aspect of PokerDecision.com.

I am starting a new relationship with Noble Poker, one of the premier online poker rooms! Their minimum deposit is only $20 (which is awesome). When you are ready to try the real thing, please consider clicking on our Noble Poker links to sign up. This helps support the PokerDecision website. Thanks again for visiting. Enjoy!

Greg Mallon
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