Don’t Move to Washington If You Play Online Poker

July 20:  The Monday after Vegas.  I had the day off work and spent most of my time writing my last blog post and eating my “last bad food splurge” of a cinnamon role (the city’s best cinnamon role, says me!) at Fox in the Snow cafe before resuming my healthy eating and real life tomorrow.  No poker playing or learning today.  Forgive me.  I was still coming down from the Vegas high.

July 21:  Life after a jackpot. #thestruggleisreal.  Real life.  Ugh.  I slept for 2 hours last night thanks to “post-Vegas/time change/real-life/what day is it” illness but got up for a 5:45am spinning class anyway.  I had reviewed my work meeting schedule the night before, so unfortunately I knew my “I heart Vegas” shirt, even if under a black blazer jacket (do people say “blazer” anymore?), wasn’t an option for today based on what I had on my schedule.  But, brand new Christian Louboutin shoes were highly encouraged.  My shoes and I headed to work where nearly all the time in between meetings was spent recapping the Vegas trip and answering questions about my jackpot.  I didn’t mind.  I could say “….and then they handed me the cash in stacks of $100 bills…” as many times as necessary.  I realized I had peaked on this goal all too soon and I was still committed to learning more about the game of poker – no slot machine jackpot was going to buy my way out of this goal.  So 21 days in and $20,000 later….I decided to go straight to the big leagues of the World Series of Poker website to scout out some tips, you know, now that I’m an expert and played in a Vegas casino and all.  Here are the tips according to the pros plus a little commentary from yours truly:

Select the right game for your skill level – they say it’s better to be the best player at an easier table than a loser at a harder one which is the opposite of what I’ve been coached to do in sports/career my whole life (my parents have always taught me it’s better to be the worst in the best group vs the best in the worst group).

Don’t play when you’re emotional – That’s what shopping and binge eating is for

Be willing to fold more often – I think I nailed this one when I was in Vegas

Pay attention to the other players – I think I stared at the other players in Vegas so much I could probably do one of those awkward criminal sketches of them if they went missing.

Don’t assume that playing at a casino is like playing online – So is online poker playing legal?  And how can you read an opponent if it is?

Bluff wisely and sparingly – I wanted to bluff in Vegas but felt so exposed if I got to “the showdown” and they would’ve seen my 2 and 4 and known I was a big fat liar.  Which is the point.  Or something.

Don’t raise unless you think you can call a re-raise – Oops, I did this in Vegas because I got caught up in the glam of it all.  I was throwing out $1 chips like it was my job and then folding because I completely forgot what cards I had in my hand and I got scared when someone raised.

Don’t call unless you think you can raise – sounds obvious (said with snobby ‘I know how to play poker’ undertone) ::flips hair back::

Be a humble winner and graceful loser – Did I tell you guys I won a slot machine jackpot?!

Oh yeah, we also had our 4th meeting with our new financial advisor this night…timely, huh?

July 22:  After 22 days I decided I needed to figure out what the deal was with online poker.  I felt like it was illegal but knew it wasn’t (I thought) based on the number of people with a distant relative that made X amount of money playing online poker (insert side story of how they ruined the rest of their life or cut off all communication with family and friends).  Here’s what I found on

“Can you play online poker legally from the United States?  The good news:  There is no federal law that prohibits US players from making online poker accounts and playing for real money online.  When it comes to state law, the picture gets cloudier. Many US states have outdated gambling laws that fail to directly address US poker sites.  A few address online gambling in general, but just one state – Washington – explicitly makes playing online poker a crime.”

As long as you don’t live in Washington, looks like you’re good to cut off family ties and sit in front of your computer all day making bank.

July 23:  I’m a few days back at work, the jackpot story is fading, the blisters on my feet from the Louboutin’s still exist, and the 5:45am spinning class and healthy meals await me.  I decide to play my Poker King app and pick up where I left off the last time I played, only this time I notice you can purchase things like virtual flags, drinks, toys, and cigars.  I decide to buy a virtual cigar…..because….well…..what the heck ::blows puff of virtual smoke::  The virtual cuban cigar costs me $400 virtual dollars.  I sit at the virtual table and another player’s name is “Chriss ipad.”  I begin to wonder if this Chris is the same Chris I share a last name with, but I know he’s too smart for the double “s” at the end of his name and knows an apostrophe comes after a single “s” when representing his ownership of the ipad.  I play a few hands and go “all in” on a straight only to be beat by a person named “iphone” who had a flush.  The app still moves a little too fast for me and I wasted too much money on the cigar.

July 24:  Friday with plans to meet up with Angela for dinner.  We meet up normally monthly to chit chat about all things Gals with Goals, which turns into 4 hour dinners and chatting about all things in life.  I normally spend the rest of the night and half of the next morning telling Chris how great of a friend Angela is and use phrases like “seriously, she’s just the best….like all the way around.”  Anyway, after we chatted about jackpots and poker and walking and biking and blogs and life and gaining and losing the same 5lbs, she revealed my December goal (remember – she’s picking for me and I’m picking for her for the the month of December) which is speaking at The Moth (more to come on this topic when I’m pulling out the Christmas tree and planning for Black Friday shopping).  I leave the dinner sad that my December choices for her weren’t as awesome and make a mental note to come up with something awesome for her by the end of the weekend.

In poker news, Angela offered to play with me after dinner but I didn’t have cards in my purse anymore (have I thrown in the towel on this goal altogether, geez?!).  Instead, I read some quotes about poker and here are some of my favs:

“Both poker and investing are games of incomplete information.  You have a certain set of facts and you are looking for situations where you have an edge, whether the edge is psychological or statistical” – David Einhorn

“I think one of the interesting things about poker is that once you let your ego in, you’re done for” – Al Alvarez

“Most of the money you’ll win at poker comes not from the brilliance of your own play, but from the ineptitude of your opponents.” – Lou Krieger

July 25:  I wake up with the perfect December goal idea for Angela and text it to her.  I will let her spill the beans on what it is, but it’s music related and a goal of hers I know she’s had for awhile.  I spend 30-40 minutes patting myself on the back because of it.  Chris and I ran stairs at Hoover Reservoir and hit up North Star and did our normal list of productive things that make for good Saturdays in our book.  I decide to watch some videos on how to play video poker.  I actually tried to play video poker while in Vegas (prior to joining the big leagues of real poker) but we were getting ready to leave that casino so I cashed out as quickly as I had put in the money and never could figure out how to play.  In the video I watched, the narrator guy said to look for a machine that says “jacks or better” on it.  It looks like they deal you 5 cards and you can select which to hold and then hit “draw” and they will give you cards to replace the ones you didn’t hold.  It actually looks really straight forward and easy except the confusing part where other high cards can count as Jacks?  I must’ve been having a dumb moment in Vegas because I couldn’t figure out how to keep my “held” cards held (that sounds dumb).  ::considering hitting Columbus casino for video poker lesson::

July 26:  Sunday. I woke up a few minutes before Angela text me asking if I wanted to join her for a walk (part of her goal for July).  I hit Blacklick Woods with her by 8:30am, yoga by 11am, and watched a few YouTube videos on poker in the afternoon (I swear I do other real life productive stuff in between).  The most notable information was a video on 3 ways to add deception to your game.  I’m loving the slimy side of this game!

1.  Slow play aces – limp in

2.  Raise with suited connectors from early position

3.  Show an occasional bluff (that answers the question if it’s okay to show your bluff)

I’m headed into the last week of this goal before it’s onto the next (taking singing lessons in August….ah!).