I started playing Texas Hold’em in 2005 after watching a tournament on a Sunday afternoon. It was a lazy, nothing-else-is-on kind of day, so I settled on the tournament. I had never seen Texas Hold’em, and had no idea how to play nor what the strategy of the game might be-except to get all the chips.
I was intrigued and astonished at how the players bet tens of thousands of dollars after recieving only two cards. How do they do that? What information are they using to give them the confidence to bet such large amounts at the onset of a hand? I watched in amazement as each betting round occurred. Sometimes hands were folded, and sometimes they were not and the pots grew to hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if there were a good number of players in the hand, even millions of dollars.
And what about that ‘All In” play? How does a player put his/her tournament on the line with such little information and cards to come, so that luck has a huge part in the hand? I was shaking my head…bewildered.
So, the next weekend, after watching the conclusion of the tournament on TV, I logged into Pokerstars.net (sponsor of the tournament), chose my name [PokaPaloma], and took a little tour of the site.
At first, I didn’t have the guts to join a table, so I just clicked on tables and watched the play. I didn’t know what blinds were. Since I was observing, I couldn’t see the interface that they were using to bet, call, raise and fold. Didn’t know how long the 1,000 chips Pokerstars gave me would last. Again, I had no idea how to play, so I was trying to figure that out by watching the play. I laugh now at how silly that was… Why didn’t I do a little reading? Not a stitch folks.
So, after an hour or so of watching, I logged into a 5/10 table. My heart was pounding and I was nervous that I would appear to be an idiot. I was afraid to make a stupid move. I didn’t want to delay the game because I could see the players typing in ‘zzzzzz’ each time a player took too long.
My strategy was to fold each time it came round to me, unless, of course, I got some hand like AA, KK, QQ, AK, AQ. Then I would bet the minimum allowed. To be honest, in those days, I thought that any pair was great and any hand that was shaping up with “possibilities” (like gutshot straights) was a great hand. You’re shaking your head saying, “Yeah, I see your type all the time.”
I knew about straights and flushes from playing poker as a child. I learned about full houses through observation, but, I didn’t know which hand beat which. I was learning that as I was playing– and losing.
I thought that the goal was to have as many players in the pot at the end when you turned up your hands, and that the luck of the cards decided the winner. (Oh my, I am LMOA.) So, think about how many chips I lost in those early days. Think about how many times, I had to wait for time to pass so that I could get a refill from Pokerstars. (1,000 chips per hour, three reloads per day.) I’ve come a long way, baby!
How’d you get started?