Well, here goes. The last time I played cards in earnest (excluding a game or two of single-draw klondike), I believe it was a game of Go Fish, and the last time I learned a card game, it was crazy eights. I couldn't even remember the suits until I picked up magic about a year ago. I found ellusionist.com, with all their fancy black decks of playing cards, joined a local magic club to learn from real magicians, got quite good at basic card flourishing and sleight-of-hand, and started getting into non-card magic as well.
Today, I do very little actual card magic. I do spoon bending, cups and balls, sponge balls, etc. for a street audience. If you've ever busked, you know that cards are liable to blow away in the wind, so I avoid them when there's any wind. But now I've got all these cards, what to do with them?
I had some friends come down, and we played some poker with no stakes. I decided I wanted to find some poker to play online, and it began. When I get into things, I really get into them. This was about a week ago, and I've been playing on pokerstars a moderate amount, about 2 hours/day on average. I made a minimal deposit a few days ago, and I've been losing some, winning some since, mostly on the micro 5-card draw tables. I like 5-card draw because it's easier to play tight. In hold 'em, You never know what your hand is really going to look like, but with draw, you have a pretty good idea from the start what good the exchange is likely to be able to do.
At present, out of a $10 deposit, I've only got $7.74 left, so I've put myself on a 12-hour cooldown. Here's the thing about me: I know myself. It's an integral part of my personality to be constantly introspecting and learning about myself, and I know that if I let myself go, I'd probably overcompensate for losses and lose everything. I also know from listening to the experts is that it's important to be able to quit when you start losing, so you don't lose what you have left.
I therefore keep myself rigidly in line, and when I say that I'll quit if I lose a hand, I do. Then I self-exclude to prevent temptation. I'll come back to it bright and fresh tomorrow, and again, if I lose two dollars, it's cooldown time. The other limit I've imposed on myself is a monthly deposit limit of $10. If I run out of chips for a month, that's too bad. I'll have to wait until next month to play again.
Some interesting things I've learned is that hold 'em is very difficult, mainly because a good hole does not equal a good hand, and because people aren't necessarily afraid to call a few cents. I've also found that in 5-card draw, a pair on the deal just isn't good enough, unless you're the big blind and nobody's raised yet. I've consistently lost money in hold 'em, but in draw, I seem to be able to even out most of the time, and even win money, mainly because it's easier to play it tight than hold 'em.
Great hands of the past week in draw: trip sixes on the deal that turned into quad sixes on the discard, and a flush in clubs on the deal.