Klopzi – An Introduction

When I was asked by RakeTheRake to contribute some articles to their newly redesigned website, I jumped at the chance. My blog, Klopzi’s Mediocre Poker, focuses a little more on my day-to-day life at the virtual poker tables, sprinkled with the occasional personal tidbit. In this new forum, I’m going to do my best to explain how I approach and play poker by discussing everything from strategy to psychology to general observations on the game of hold’em.

Before jumping into any thought-provoking posts, maybe I should take a chance to introduce myself. I feel that attempting to read someone’s ideas about poker without first knowing who they are and what they play can only end in disaster at the tables.

It all started October 2004. I was all ready for the new hockey season to start. My Ottawa Senators jersey was all set for the year ahead and I was all set for the Sens to make it all the way to the Cup finals. And then, the NHL lockout happened and that was that.

Fast forward to December 2004. I’d just started a new job that let me work from home. One day while sitting at my computer, I got bored and turned on the TV. Much to wife’s (and anyone else who’s listened to me ramble on about poker) dismay, TSN was showing poker. Over the next month, I watched every single poker show that I could find on TV. I was truly fascinated by what I was watching, regardless of the fact that I was unclear about the rules of the game and knew nothing about the strategies involved in the game of Texas Hold’em.

A month later, I played in my first ever poker tournament on my 30th birthday. There were eight of us crowded over a small poker table in my living room. While my wife spoke with her friends, I made a quick exit from the tournament when I overvalued my AKs. I’d missed the flop and pushed all-in with two naked overcards: a friend called my bluff, which I believed to be a value bet, with his flopped set of 9’s and I was done for the night.

I complained afterwards about a being on the business end of a bad beat. And that’s how I learned my first lesson in poker: there are not as many bad beats in poker as there are poor plays. I screwed up and vowed to become a better player.

In mid-February, I decided to try the “online poker thing”. I’d noticed some ads for TigerGaming while watching Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo. I spent the next month playing at Tiger’s practice tables.

It was early March when I got an e-mail from TigerGaming informing me that $5 had been credited to my TigerGaming account. I was so excited that I called my wife into the room to let her know about the sudden increase in my bankroll. She didn’t necessarily share my excitement (it was only $5), but I was happy: now I could play poker for real money!

So I looked around TigerGaming and realized that I had two realistic options for my money: play the $0.10/$0.20 limit hold’em or play some sit n’ gos. The $0.10 + $0.02 SNGs paid $1 to the winner, so I thought I’d give them a try.

I played 5 SNGs over the course of the next few days and didn’t finish in the top 5 in any of them. I’d blown 10% of my bankroll so far. My wife warned me that once I’d blown my bankroll, I’d have to give up my poker career for something more lucrative.

Through sheer luck and fear of never playing poker again, I managed to build my bankroll up to about $100 at TigerGaming after catching a good amount of luck at the SNG tables and the limit hold’em tables. From there, I moved on to Party Poker and took advantage of an instant bankroll promotion that saw me increase my bankroll to just over $200.

In August of 2005, I came across RakeTheRake’s web site and decided that rakeback sounded like a pretty good idea. I signed up at RakeTheRake and Interpoker and my poker career took off from there.

Over the next year and a half, I played at almost every online poker room imaginable, earning rakeback when RTR was able to help, earning bonuses when they were available, and doing my best to improve my game.

Although I don’t play as many hands of poker as most online poker players, I’ve still managed to move up in limits when I felt my confidence, game and bankroll could handle the added pressures of the bigger tables.

Currently, my game of choice is shorthanded NL hold’em, I’m still very much a small stakes player, having just graduated to the $50 buy-in tables. I also play full-ring limit hold’em at $2/$4 and $3/$6 table stakes, and shorthanded limit hold’em at the $2/$4 limits.

I’m not a big time online player and I’m not getting rich by playing poker. However, I do spend quite a bit of time thinking about poker on a daily basis. When I’m not playing, I’m reading the 2+2 Forums for advice on my games of choice. When I’m away from the computer, I’m normally reading a book from my growing poker library. And when I’m not reading, I’m discussing hands and poker strategy with friends.

In my future articles, I’ll do my best to post correct and relevant information about the game we love. However, I’m still somewhat new to poker and I encourage you to take all that I say with a grain of salt. While my advice may be suitable for someone playing $25 NL hold’em, I may not help those of you playing $400 NL.

If you have questions or if you want to call me out for something I wrote in error, feel free to e-mail me at klopzi@gmail.com or pop by my site, Klopzi’s Mediocre Poker, and let me have it!

Until next time, I’ll see you at the tables, eh?

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