Archive for December, 2011

I first met my friend in the parking lot of the Regina Inn. He had just arrived for a Casino Regina Poker Classic event. He had checked in, taken his bags up to his room, and returned for the remainder of his luggage, which consisted of a mini-trampoline. That is when I met him, just as he was pulling the mini-trampoline out of the covered bed of his pickup truck.

For my friend, exercise serves a twofold purpose. First and foremost, he keeps fit. He is a sixty-five year old retired electrician. He is married and they have two boys. In addition to trampoline, he does yoga and rides an exercise bike although, like all of us, he admits that he doesn’t exercise as much as he should.

Keeping fit became really important to him when he was injured. Working in the Alberta oil patch, he was on a ladder that collapsed. He injured a vertebra in his back and has been unable to work steadily since. More than anything, the injury has caused him a balance problem that is not compatible with the work of an electrician. Shortly after the injury he started to take poker more seriously. Although he played in his teens in home games and into his twenties in the underground club scene, it was not until the mid 1990’s that he bought Doyle Brunson’s Super System. Brunson gave him an epiphany: there is a lot to learn about poker. He started to study a lot. By his own estimate, for the last seven years poker has provided the bulk of his income.

The other thing that exercise does for him is give him time to think. Away from the distractions of TV and family, alone on his exercise bike with the whirr of the wheel to relax him my poker friend gets time to think about poker. He runs over past hands. He thinks about his usual opponents. He considers how best to win his next tournament entry. In short, he spends a lot of time studying and thinking about his beloved game.

When I asked him for just a single tip he might offer someone just starting out he couldn’t stop at just one. First and foremost he suggested that new players should make use of all the tools available: books, video seminars, software, and internet chat rooms. His first book was Oswald Jacoby On Poker but he stays completely up to date by buying almost every new poker title that is published.

He has a library of over thirty poker books, he owns the complete line of Wilson Software poker simulations, and he continues to read several internet poker newsgroups. There is so much to learn he says, and mistakes are very expensive in live action. On top of reading and studying, my friend suggests that new players keep records. Winning players keep track, losing players find excuses not to.