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The Cards You are Dealt

Story of Joy 'Joy7108' Trenaman
'In life, as in poker, you need to do the best you can with whatever cards you are dealt'. These are the words of PokerStars player 'Joy7108' from Île-des-Chênes, Manitoba, Canada. Joy has been a member of PokerSchoolOnline for the last six years having first joined as far back as July of 2010. A veteran of the Poker School Skill Leagues Joy is also a regular in the forum contributing with her answers to members' posts with the knowledge she has learned about the game of poker. In one of her most recent posts Joy shared with us her story of how poker became a big part of her life and how it has helped her to stay positive through life's 'downswings'. This is her story ….

When did you first start playing poker?
'About six years ago I starting learning the game and I started off just by playing play money only and without reloading I managed to build up my play money bankroll to 200,000 play money chips'. For Joy this was a way of getting to grips with the core principles of the game, learning strategies and improving without risking any real money at all. Back then the Play Money world was a little tougher as PokerStars players started off with a mere 1,000 chips and the ability to 'buy' play money chips was unheard of back then, so every chip you added to your bankroll was hard-earned.

When did you start playing poker for real money?
'The confidence I gained building up my play money bankroll encouraged me to try out free-rolls. I had already made a deal with my husband that I would not spend any money on poker'. This was a deal that Joy would stick to during those early years and in fact she only made her first deposit on PokerStars in 2016! 'In the early years I followed strict bankroll management, I won a couple of dollars in a PokerStars promotion and used this to gradually move up in stakes as my bankroll increased'.

What does Poker mean to you today?
'Somewhere along the line I realised that poker was having some unexpected benefits. The lessons learned in poker were having a positive effect on my daily life. I had learned to accept things as they came, and to make the best of any given situation. I also was making new friends through poker, who were a great help in some dire situations in my life', Joy continued. In 2012 my husband had a heart attack. I received a tremendous amount of help and support from my poker friends that helped me through this stressful situation, sincere thanks to all my poker friends. Your advice and suggestions (humorous and otherwise) are still appreciated.

I have suffered from a bowel problem for over 20 years now, and the stress of the heart attack caused this problem to become worse. I caught a flu bug in late 2013 which added to the problem. I needed surgery, and had to wait until June of 2014, when I finally got a surgical date due to a cancellation. During the surgery, a nurse noticed a strange rash, which eventually led to a diagnosis of cancer. The cancer had already progressed to my lymph nodes so surgery wasn't an option, and my life expectancy was estimated at 2.5 to 3.5 years. My surgeon also decided that I needed to have a colostomy, which I had in October 2014. My recovery was quite slow, as I had lost a lot of weight and was quite run down.
While it's hard sometimes to stay positive, I had learned to deal with "downswings" through poker. I feel that this helps me in dealing with my health problems and the side effects of my medication.

The support of my family, as well as my poker "family" also helps me keep on fighting. As long as I have "a chip and a chair" I never quit trying to win in a tournament, and I'm dealing with my cancer the same way. So far I've been very fortunate, and my medication seems to be keeping the cancer in check. I'm working hard to "beat the odds", but the biggest lesson I've learned is to appreciate every new day, and to remember to "stop and smell the roses".

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