Guest blog part 1: David La Ronde, EPO 2009 winner

In late 2007 I stumbled across a £10 rebuy tournament at my local Riley’s snooker hall, being someone who would try any game if I thought I could win a few quid. After making a fool of myself that night by eventually being knocked out after 7 rebuys, I became totally absorbed by Texas Hold’em NL. Now I am quite an obsessive person as my wife will tell you. As soon as I got home I scampered upstairs to my office and typed into Google the following: Texas Hold’em basic strategy. Along with over 25 million pages of utter rubbish I happened across an obscure poker forum. Out of the screen jumped a whole new language of three bet ,four bet ,thin value ,out of position, value bet etc etc. I must say I spent 2 hours totally absorbed by this. When I had finished I had filled my boots with several books from Amazon such as Harrington on Hold’em, Super System and Mike Cairo’s book of tells. Of course the next time I ventured into Riley’s 2 weeks later, I was now well read and prepared to do battle. I am a strong believer that if you are going to do something then you must do it properly. Of course that night not only did I not rebuy, I actually won the tournament. Wow, now I could delude myself that I was actually a good poker player. Buoyed by my false confidence I went on to win the tournament a further 5 times out of 12 visits, now that wasn’t bad. I spent every spare hour reading every poker book I could find, when I mentioned to my wife Texas Dolly was one of the best players in the world, she said “Who? Dolly Parton?”

Now armed with my new poker intellect I decided that Riley’s was not a big enough game and I needed bigger action for my bucks. It’s a wonderful thing Google, you can find poker tournaments in the most obscure places, I ventured down to a basement under Speilers Casino in Southend for the Friday £100 freezout, I arrived with stomach churning anticipation at 8.30 sharp and was propping up the bar by 9.25pm having bluffed my chips off against quads. Some lessons in poker are learned the hard way. It was a stark realisation that poker is long road of learning with lots of stops along the way to refill your knowledge, and many blind alleys, eventually you emerge as an apprentice, with basic foundations of knowledge and strategy on which to built your game.

David La Ronde

Winner of the English Poker Open 2009

English Poker Open

Part 2 next Tuesday…

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