Thursday, 28 February 2013

Breaking my PokerStars hoodoo

Here is my best momeroy from my four years of PokerStars so far...

2011 was a good year on the Poker. I had started the year with a $230 cash by winning a 180-man tournament, and was nearing the $500 mark in winnings for the year. However, I was missing that elusive big win.

2008, 2009, and 2010 all brought me single wins of above $500 on various poker sites, and we were now in late-October. I couldn't crack PokerStars. Several deep runs had ended up poor cashes, 6 hour stints at the keyboard had warranted almost slave labour pay, and I was beginning to run out of steam.

The blessing in disguise came in the interesting form of Student Finance. Failing to pay me my loan, I had exhausted my summer funds and found my friends embarking on the usual Jongleurs night out one Friday, only for me to be rendered skint, with only food to my name, and a few dollars on PokerStars.

As the clock ticked towards 11:00pm, the fourth repeat of Family Guy got a bit tiresome, and reluctantly, out came the laptop, and the loading up of PokerStars began. Over the previous weeks, I had withdrew the winnings I had on there, and left myself with $22. Three tournaments down through the week, and I was down to $5.50. Ah well, why the hell not, I thought. Being a student led me to a life of 3am shut-eye, so this would kill a few hours before I went to bed at least, who knows, I might even cash... But with 4436 entrants, I think I was being hopeful at best.

I have a set strategy for tournament play, go tight for the first hour, take out any idiots you can, and wait. Patience, patience, patience. I think it was around three hours in, the cash was fast approaching, and I was sitting a lofty 11th place, knocking out a few players, and it was time to sit back and relax.

Many of you will know, that race to the top cash can be a hard and painful one, many a time I have sat and played for four hours to be greeted with a $10 win. Nothing beats that moment when you crack the big one though, as a 21 year old, there isn't many jobs you'll get that pay you $90 per hour, unless you are willing to offer out your body or at least commit an illegal act.

I managed to reach the final table, a paltry $187 was on offer for 9th place, but I had my eyes on first, a massive $2,400 payday. Though what i'd have done with that money had I won it, may well have seen me in an early grave. Alas, my 8 competitors had racked up nearly $60,000 in winnings already that year, slightly shadowing my $400-odd, which these guys could manage with a decent round of drinks.

In fact, I was pretty out of my depth, or so I thought. Throughout the hour and a half on the final table, I had been in every spot from 1st to 9th, eventually culminating in a 6th place finish. $665, it was never going to change my life, but it bought a few Christmas pressies, a few nights out, and finally shook off my PokerStars hoodoo that had plagued me for 4 years.

By Brad Smith