Nostalgia Corner: The 5 (and a bit) Stages Of Your Poker Career

Today’s post was written by guest writer Greg Walker.  This article is highly funny and relatable, if you happen to be an online poker degen. Greg runs, a Texas Hold’em strategy site.  Thanks Greg!

Nostalgia Corner: The 5 (and a bit) Stages Of Your Poker Career

Do you remember your early days of poker?

Either underage or barely legal, trying something new for the first time, desperate to earn some money on the side.

But that’s quite enough about my search history.

It was way before your $50 faux leather desk chair developed its groove (Moses couldn’t part foam padding like online poker can). The time when you had more real-life friends than “Internet friends”. It was also before your poker skills became inversely proportional to your general levels of health and fitness (you’ve still got the looks though – nothing’s ever going to take those looks away).

Yep, those days.

Feel free to brace yourself and join me for an awkward fumble through the past, present and future of your poker career, starting with…

1) Making your first deposit.

Hands up; who was thinking about the movie “Rounders” whilst they were making their first deposit? To be more specific, who was thinking about the “Judge’s game” scene?

Due to one of the small flaws of writing articles for the Internet, I can’t see or hear all your responses. However, I’ll safely assume that we just shared a collective sigh of agreement.

With more ambition than Hitler, you decided you were going to take over the poker world with your mad undiscovered poker skills. Not even legal gambling age laws were going to stop you.

This first deposit was a uniquely exciting and life-shifting experience for all of us. I’m sure you wonder what things would be like if you never dropped $50 at Party Poker. Probably not that much different if we’re being honest, but we can all dream. Either way, you certainly wouldn’t have experienced the pleasures of…

2) Losing your first deposit.


How can you go from winning a steady $14/hour over 318 hands to losing everything? It was all going so swimmingly.

2a) Vowing to never play online poker again.

“Okay, that’s it. I’m wiping Party Poker off my PC completely.” *Drags Party Poker desktop shortcut to the Recycle Bin.*

For most of us this period lasted a few weeks at best. The problem was that you just couldn’t stop dreaming about outplaying opponents with absurd all-in shoves on the flop, not to mention cunning open limps with pocket aces UTG.

Thoughts of these devious, masterful plays build up until…

3) Your first comeback.

After skimming through a perfectly legal copy of Doyle Brunson’s Super System, you’re back.

Unfortunately, after a decent 2-week long run you end up losing another $50. Sorry, Doyle, but I don’t think JT suited is as invincible as you suggested. Nonetheless, the seed of degeneracy has been sown.

Figuratively speaking, you’ve opened that bag of Doritos and you’ve been stopped half way through. Not even a lack of hot salsa dip is going to prevent the inevitability of…

4) Your next comeback (with added seriousness).

This time, playing poker and learning strategy becomes an addiction.

You can’t stop yourself from consuming more and more poker until you’re a mental mess (or more so than usual). Countless hours are spent browsing/refreshing the 2p2 forums. You begin buying more books from Amazon than you’ve ever actually bought in your entire life. “2am” is now referred to as an “early night.”

You also no longer have to lock your door before “researching” something on Google. Well, not as much as before anyway.

I’m sure we’d all like to think that this super comeback was reminiscent of the cheesy Rocky IV montage of Stallone training in the wilderness. However, I don’t believe scenes consisting of being slouched in a desk chair surrounded by Subway wrappers would look quite as epic with “Hearts On Fire” in the background.

Nonetheless, the bottom line is your poker game improved significantly, even if everything else in your life regressed. In fairness though, it’s an impressive development when you look back at it from a hard-work and commitment point of view.

5+) The grind.

You’ve now “found your groove”, which is a euphemism for “hit a massive life plateau”.

Dreams of Champagne, Lobster and Cirque du Soleil turn into Red Bull, Ramen Noodles and Xbox.

The fact that the inside of your mouse now contains more dust than an urn is causing a slightly annoying tracking problem. The keyboard characters; p, m and / no longer work, but that’s okay because none of those are needed to type “wtf”, “fish”, “blonde” or “hardcore” anyway.

Your username is becoming more famous than your real name, and if you printed out a screenshot of your 2p2 post count you’d consider sticking it on the fridge with your other lifetime achievements.

Congratulations, you’re a reg.

Final thoughts.

Thanks for joining me for the uneasy shuffle down Memory Lane. I hope you didn’t mind the lengthy detour through Disappointment Avenue.

Not to worry though, you’re only ever one PokerStars Sunday Million away from greatness.

Now anyway, I have to head off. I believe my search history needs some deleting.


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  • Alan Bostick Posted January 13, 2011 12:50 pm

    I am really thankful that my poker career hasn’t resembled this at all. (He said between having sat on a zafu and breathed for half an hour and suiting up to go into battle with the other local knights of the green felt.)

  • Poker Holdem, Online Poker Posted January 23, 2011 5:22 am

    really very informative post here thanks for sharing

  • Pokerhorst Posted February 24, 2011 2:07 pm

    Hard but true article !
    I myself do grind for a living and i can say, that a big part of grinding is “dreaming”. I can life from it, and i have a good lifestyle, but there are things that could make me happier. Thanks to open my eyes a little bit more

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