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Ode to a Buddy

The Life & Humbling Times of a Bridge Pro Learning Poker
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I have perseverated about writing this blog, but the time has come. I came to PSO as a bridge teacher/author with a keen interest in learning how to play poker. The first eight months or so was extremely humbling as I went to Live Trainings and felt like I was hearing a language I could not yet understand. With the help of fellow PSO member Lane Anderson, I dabbled with Sit & Goes, two cent cash games, and tournaments, the latter which I am by far weakest at. I did all the course work, passed quizzes and still felt I was in the Land of Oz. I knew I needed one-on-one lessons and was hoping Dave Roemer, ‘TheLangolier’ , Chief PSO instructor would be the best of the best private teacher and he is. 

During my second lesson with Dave, he introduced me to Zoom so I could bet and play more hands as one simply clicks away when holding two lousy cards. I immediately became addicted and better understood why I don’t do well at tournaments: they are typically long, one can’t opt in and out and I much prefer hard cash. Tournaments are great for patient people and that is not my forte. With Dave by my side, my PT4 Hud showed just how much I had found my game: I was well over $2,000+ in eight months as I stuck to my study and Zoom play.

However, throughout my ill-health was always looming until I had no choice but to have life-saving surgery which has affected my memory and left me with temporary paralysis on one side of my body.  As part of my recovery, physical therapy included using what I am so familiar with, the computer. I had a very brief few days when I even made money playing Zoom but over time I was playing  my game with ‘fun money’ but my results have remained depressing. Hence I have decided that I need not push myself to the point of despair. So for now, and for those who still remember me, I take a temporary leave of absence.

I have and will miss many including Chris (ChewMe1), a wonderfully upbeat guy who truly seems to take joy in our growth; to Felix ‘xflixx’, a member of Team PokerStars Online. No doubt I drove him crazy given every time he put up a video with more than one hand per page, I begged him not to do so because the numerous hands per page were impossible for me to read and as a cash player, I wanted to see the hands! ; to Gareth who should be kind enough to make a tape about his travels and send me the CD so I can hear his sexy voice whenever my partner, Stephan, isn’t around (!); to Raiser whom, to my initial surprise, is the most helpful Coordinator I have yet to meet; to  John ‘JWK23’  whose blogs I always love and who I was just getting to know just before the surgery; and,  to all those fellow/sister PSO members I have grown so fond of—yes, that means you too ArtySmokesPS!

To new members I humble myself in giving  words of wisdom: between the Course Work and Live Trainings, you may initially feel like you are on Mars but I know of no other way to meet other members and don’t be shy to send an email on the PSO site to any of these folks asking about what their comment meant during a training. (I found using Wikipedia as good as any list of definitions about words you will hear, including variance, broadway, implied odds, OOP and so many other terms which initially sound like Greek!) The PSO website is so rich in material and I highly recommend starting with the ‘Poker Bites’. How to do all this—course work, Live Trainings, online videos and play? Make a plan and not one based on how much money you expect to make; rather, plans that include how many hours you will devote to Live Trainings, to Course work, any other online material you may want to view, how much play time and what game(s) you want to try, including ‘fun money’ games held in the PSO club where you meet other PSO folks.  Goals based solely on how much money have no soul and are thus typically bound to fail as you become driven by a number rather than quality and don’t be your own quality assurance committee. Share your plans in a blog or in the Forums to get feedback.

To the many who are far better than I at Poker, and there are too many to mention, be generous of spirit and mind. Come out to Live Trainings once in a while; welcome new players; let them know—and mean it—that they can email you on the PSO website anytime. Giving back makes us better people, better players of the game as an appreciation for the PSO community reminds one where we all started.

Alas, I did not forget ‘TheLangolier’ which is the title for an eerie series of short stories. Maybe that was what Dave had in mind. Regardless, how do you thank someone who is not only a superb teacher, a great family man with 5 boys, including triplets, but about one of the most supportive guys around? His Live Training classes rarely end on time as he is so thorough that he’ll give extra time to ensure every nook and cranny is covered and explained so well. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and will always remember that you promised when I am ready, you’ll be there.

With much love, I thank my partner Stephan who, as a neurosurgeon, can’t refrain from obsessively checking out my health while, he, my two amazzing children and my wonderful ex-husband, continue to be my loudest and most sensitive cheering section.

I will be back. I don’t know when ( NOTE: I would come back for the monthly tournament if I get that prized stamp!) but when I am ready. And each of you is an incentive for me to get back soon!

May all your aspirations come to fruition.

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