My Life Story – Part II (Series) — the poker how to

We left off at Georgetown, where I first found poker in the form of a $5 buy-in mixed game.

“Follow The Queen” is Where It’s At

Our game gradually grew in stakes, and word got out to other interested players. Soon we had about 20 regular players and were playing about 3 nights a week, homework permitting.

By sophomore year, we were doing a $40-$50 buy-in game with $0.25/$0.50 blinds, and NLHE was the dominant game, though the dealer could call what he liked and occasionally we got a round of omaha or some crazy wild-card game like “Follow the Queen.”

Follow the Queen is a 7-stud variant where the card that falls after a Queen is wild for all players holding that card. It is madness, the wildcard can change mid-hand, sometimes mid-street, and if the final face card is a Q then no cards are wild.

Online Poker is for Chumps

One of the regulars started playing tourneys online and had some success – he encouraged us to check it out, but we were skeptical:

  • Who wanted to play poker when you couldn’t see your opponents?
  • What if it was rigged?
  • Will they let me call “Follow the Queen” when it is my turn to deal?

My friend recommended checking it out, but the rest of us agreed – online poker was for chumps. I still wonder how much more I would have made if I’d have started playing online two years earlier!

All Work and No Play…

Junior year came around and things got incredibly busy. I took an internship at Georgetown’s medical center, doing database work and some low-level web design.

I also had a packed schedule of classes, all my free time was spent programming or writing papers – mostly programming, which is about as boring as it sounds when you are doing busy-work projects.

I was getting burned out fast, and one of my friend suggested looking into studying abroad, so I applied to Sydney Uni in Australia, and despite my sweet 3.2 GPA they accepted me.

Fun in the Sun

Australia was amazing – it’s sunny and beautiful in Sydney 260+ days out of the year, and the people are friendly and respectful if you are too.

Classes were fun and interesting, there were lots of cool people to meet. I lived in an international residence with people from all over the world.

I played some poker with other students for small stakes, and managed to buy a new surfboard with the profits. The waves were always good it seemed, so I got to surf 4 or more days a week, which was fantastic.


I got more amazing surfing in that semester than in any previous year(or two!) and I was only there for 5 months. In the middle of May I wiped out on a wave and broke my nose when my surfboard hit me in the face.

While it was a comical sight for the locals, despite bleeding heavily once they realized i could walk and was coherent they left me to my own devices. I drove myself to the hospital and phoned my parents – it looked like i would be out of the water for a bit.

I flew home for surgery, and fortunately it went well and I have no scars or visible remnants of the incident, despite my nose being pointed 20 degrees off to the left while it was broken!
Since I would be out of the water for awhile, I finally decided to give online poker a shot while I recovered from my broken nose.

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