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My first poker multi and playing poker aggressively

 I always had a craze for poker games. Years ago, I remember playing Hold’em with my friends, during my college days. But losing then was quite a common affair. And as I can recollect I was usually the fish that busted out pretty much every time I called it quit. Last year however, I came across the WPT and the spark for Poker was re-kindled. I wasn’t sure I could play it online but I was keen to enroll myself to give it a try. I came across The Party Poker Million event on TV and obviously it struck me that if they were sponsoring such a huge WPT event they had to be genuine and it’s worth a try. However I kept putting off signing up, until one day while browsing a deal forum, I came across Poker Source's free 300 Chipset offer. I signed up with Party Poker. My initial deposit was $50 and by the time I had completed raked hand requirement I was about breaking even. Then I tried my hand on some $5 Sit and Go's. Slowly I moved to the $10 Sit and Go's but unfortunately ended up with a NIL bankroll. I wasn’t willing to give up the game, so revisited it with another $50 and tried my hand at the $1/$2 tables, but the fish that I was, I quickly busted out again.

 My intense desire to learn poker, however, made me rush out and pick up Phil Hellmuth's, ‘Play Poker Like the Pro's’. I read it, studied each move and worked quite hard to refine my game plan. I also visited many poker sites and participated actively in various forums. After all this self learning program, I decided to test myself and so signed up for Pacific Poker with Poker Source's Free WPT DVD offer. I used my $100 deposit to refine my skills on the $0.50/$1.00. After 2 consecutive days of play, I found myself up with $110. And all along I learnt to read people well, make calls at the appropriate time and to fold. And now there was no stopping me. I decided to try my hands on Multi Table Tournaments. Poker Source had announced the $10,000 Free Roll on Royal Vegas. I decided to take a chance and so signed up for an account to play in the Freeroll with $10 offered by Royal Vegas.

 This is how I played the event. I started with a $1 No-Limit Rebuy tournament. I started great. I played my game on the Pacific Poker $0.50/$1.00 tables and was soon in the Chip lead after the first hour, without having to do a re-buy or an add-on. I wound up making the final Table about 5th in the chip but unfortunately busted out on a bad beat in 8th place winning just $7. Then I went into a $3 Freeze out and placed 16th winning $5. I was slowly getting confident over my poker skills and so I decided to reenter into another $1 Rebuy No Limit tournament. At the end of the first hour I found myself 5th in chips without having to do any rebuy. I felt great, but now I was seated at the same table as the chip leader. He requested the final add-on, which I adhered to, so as to keep the gap between us the same. I continued to build up my stack and went into the Final table with the Chip lead. The final table saw me placed 2nd in the multi table tournament, winning a few big pots (and of course losing a few big pots too). And to add to it I was taking home $76. Believe me I was on the top of the World.

 The very next night I entered the $1 rebuy again. Unfortunately things didn't start out too well as expected and I busted out within the first 10 hands. I was keen to continue and decided not to give up so soon. I went ahead with the re-buy and fortunately things turned out favorable for me. At the first break, I found myself up by 5000 chips which was a little over the average. I requested the add-on. The next hour saw me sitting idle and finally staking on a Big Blind. I was down to a little over 3000 chips and was in dire need of a hand to play. Moments later I got one caller and doubled up. It was followed by another round and I was now comfortably settled with about 13,000 chips and sitting in the top 20. I played tight, reading all the other players at my table well. When we hit the Final table I was the Chip leader with a little over 120,000 out of the 750,000 total chips. At the Final table I dealt with an AA. The blinds were at 2500/5000. I raised it to 10,000 to go. Other guys folded up to 1 off the button and one of them re-raised to 20,000. I in turn re-raised to 40,000 and quickly called and to our dismay we found that we had both dealt Pocket A's and so we split the Pot.

 The very next hand I was in the Big Blind again and dealt AJh. It seemed for some time that no one was stealing this blind. And then I found that the same guy with the previous hand, raising it to 20,000. I too re-raised him another 20,000 and he went all in and finally I called. Luckily for me it is his KQh, against my AJh. Oh! What a relief. Flop came up rags. Turn came a Queen. And to my happiness the River came up an Ace and he was ‘Eliminated’. After the next few rounds I sat favorably in the chip lead with me having 500,000 in chips and my opponent 250,000 with blinds at 5000/10000. I pushed him around stealing his blinds and re-raising his raises until I was with a 600,000 to 150,000 lead. And when the final Pocket 10's was raised and I called, Flop came Q-10-Rag and he went all-in and I ended up with a first ever tournament win- $142 Luck.

 If you are an ardent follower of poker games, you must have surely come across a universal concept much praised and stressed in all games - ‘Play poker aggressively and win money’.
Any poker player will accept and agree that aggressive players make more profits in poker games. But playing aggressively involves putting in more money on the line and this is a catch. Putting more money scares people. A majority of new players start playing poker with a tight/passive mindset. There is always a fear of losing. They play poker with an intention to deal without making expensive mistakes. But unfortunately this strategy doesn’t allow players to maximize their profits on big hands. So it is advisable to switch to tight/aggressive style. This is just a step up. This step however doesn’t allow players to steal blinds from opponents and profits on great hands are still minimal since opponents won’t call big raises. The best part is to move ahead another step and become an aggressive player. What stops them from entering into an aggressive level is the fear of losing money quickly and most people don’t have money to blow.

 Yes it’s a fact that people are scared to play aggressively since money is lost much quicker this way. The obvious cure to this is to avoid playing at limits which you can’t afford. If you’ve only got a bankroll of $100 and you’re playing $3/$6 at Party Poker at Full Tilt Poker, or at any other site, it’s no wonder you play tight to avoid ending up with a nil bankroll. What is advisable is either to wait and build up your bankroll up to an acceptable level or start at lower limits and work your way up. A good rule of thumb is to have enough in your bankroll to cover 250 big blinds. For example, in the case of $3/$6 limits this would mean $1,500.

 A good poker strategy is always an added advantage. With just tons of money in your bankroll and your aggressive style, you may not be able to get huge profits if you are not conversant with poker strategy. I advise you to grab some good poker strategy books and also play at low limit tables to learn more about poker. This process will help you to become a more confident player – and more confidence makes a player aggressive! Step by step process from a tight to an aggressive player is the need. One has to make the move inch by inch rather than to jump into games. While playing, whenever necessary step down a couple of limits and try betting out and raising more to see how it affects your play. Another advisable thing to do is play at your regular normal limit, but pick up certain hands to become more aggressive. Monitor your progress when making these changes so you can judge exactly how aggressive you need to be to make more money.

 Published on 12/10/2009

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