I've been told that I should be a writer. I personally don't agree however something just made me feel like searching out a place that I could tell my story and behold here I am. This may be a long one as I feel the need to start back when I first turned 21. I received a call from my Dad, I'm not sure if it was on my birthday or some time shortly after. “Hello?” “Hey son your 21, want go have lunch at the casino?” “Sure sounds like fun.” My Dad then proceeds to tell me that he really never goes to these places and warns me that it can be an expensive outing if your not careful. I asked him “Have you ever won a money gambling?” “Only when I've been to Vegas a time or two but I don't go to these local casinos very much.” We sat down to an excellent prime rib lunch and proceeded to the casino across the way. As we entered the casino and proceeded passed all the table games I could here some one, prominently saying out loud, “Hey, Randy how are you today?” I wasn't sure why, but my Dad was passively ignoring him and he hurriedly (not sure if that's a word) handed me $100 dollars and said go have fun. I couldn't help but think he might not be telling me the truth about his visits here. I was also shocked at his forking over that kind of cash, mind you, this was 19 years ago, and my Dad at the time was not exactly wealthy to say the least. Off he went and there I stood wondering what I should do. Needless to say I was broke within minutes due to my inexperience. I realized that only 20 minutes had gone by so I delayed looking for my Dad so he would not be “mad” at me for losing $100 bucks so fast. I just wandered around for about an hour looking and watching at all the sad and happy faces on everyone and found my self walking into the poker room where they were all playing 7 card stud and as I watched I was intrigued by the amount of money everyone was winning, having played at home, I knew a little bit about what was going on, I just didn't know they did this sort of thing in the casino. After about another hour of just observing, I realized I had better go find my Dad and give him the bad news. I finally found him at a double double diamond dollar slot machine getting ready to put his last two dollar tokens in and he paused as I approached and called him out. “Dad, I lost that money hope your not mad?” He just said not at all that was your birthday money. I asked if he was winning and he said no I lost $200, just like I said this can be expensive outing if your not careful. As he was saying that he put the last two coins in and pulled the lever when it stopped spinning he had hit a jackpot for I want to say like $1500 and he immediately told me to go call Donna, his wife, and ask her to come on down to join us since he won so we could all enjoy ourselves. I surely didn't know what was in store for me at this point but to make an uneventful 14 hours of boredom and a long story short, we ended up “closing” the casino. I think it was 5 am the next morning and Dad had given all the money back. He and Donna were arguing and I was the 3rd wheel the entire time. He never even offered me any more money after winning. I will fast forward a little and tell you it took about 6 months for me to entertain the idea of going back due to my losing the money Dad had given me. But we had a half day at work and everyone was talking about going and we all had just gotten paid. I was looking forward to this as I was amongst friends and we had been talking about all the different time each of them had gone and some won some lost. So back at the Station Casino St. Charles we were and I found myself at the blackjack $5 dollar table and asking the dealer if he could help me understand the game a little. He of course said no problem but hat I did not have to do what he told me too but could listen to the other players as well. I can remember this part like it was yesterday due to the overwhelming fun it was winning money and I didn't have to work for it. I will also tell you that I was a mover for a large moving company called Atlas Van Lines where I made some decent money for the work I did but it definitely was not easy. Anyhow I was dealt 2 3's and the dealer had a 6 showing and the dealer and other's at the table told me to hit, I heard someone say split them so I thought I would go with the underdog. Another 3. Not sure really how or why but I ended up getting 6 different hands all playing against the dealers 6 and won them all for like $180 dollars or so and no one had ever seen anything like that happen before. I was feeling pretty good and like the luckiest person alive. Little did I know where this fascinating win would take me. Needless to say I spent the next five years going to the casino like everyday to donate my hard earned money and walking out broke almost 100% of the time. It got so bad that I remember going to the casino with $2 to play nickels hoping I could turn it into millions, at least my thought process thought millions but you get the idea. I actually did make $100 bucks on a trip like that and was smart enough to leave as soon as I did but that was like the only time that actually happened. I eventually found myself in the poker room playing 7 card stud during my 6th year of going and actually winning a few times. It felt good and I really started getting hooked on that game. I actually started to play the $40 tournaments and won quite a few times. I also took a liking for the game Roulette. Which is where the story turns south. I was still working my job as a mover but I had recently had my second daughter and I was the only one working so in order to help pay a few bills I would go to the casino with a little discipline and leave when I made enough to have extra money after paying whatever bill I could so I could always come back. I was HOOKED! I went in one afternoon on a rain day and took my rent money with me and sat done to the Roulette table and proceeded to make about $5700 I was having so much fun and drinking that I started to play a little riskier and riskier. That's when it dawned on me, I had all my money on the table and would be broke if it didn't hit. It didn't. I reached in my pocket, to play more of course and I had $7. I immediately asked where the 1-800-BETSOFF people were and proceeded to ban myself from the casino. This process took about 4 hours as they continually tried to explain to me how this was a lifetime decision and they wanted me to have the time to sober up before I made a decision like that. I will never regret I did make the decision. That was until Texas Hold'em came along, I can remember when I played my first game at the local pub where it was free and I could win cash. This was like 3 years after I stopped going to the casino. I eventually got so hooked on it and was able to find a game 7 days a week. Free poker and the opportunity to win money without risking anything. I can tell you that this new found experience was such an incredible feeling cause I had so much fun playing with out the worry. My first 3 years of playing I was a horrible player always losing early and never really applying myself to learn the in's and out's to better my self. The time I did win I was the “DONKEY” as they say today always making bad plays and getting lucky to take my game to the final table and then busting out with the biggest chip stack most of the time. Poker started getting really popular at this time and I remember seeing on TV and realized I had to do something to better my game as I enjoyed the challenge but didn't understand the fundamentals about the game. I remember when Chris Moneymaker won his championship via a couple of satellites on the internet and going straight home to play internet poker. Now free poker started costing me money. Damn just when I thought I had my “gambling” under control I was given the opportunity to now gamble online in the privacy of my own home. While this was not really as intense of a feeling due to the animosity and the ability to keep it to my self, I was still spending more than I should in the hopes of millions. The big win on roulette right before my banning and a $7.77 rebuy tournament that netted me $800 on line were the biggest wins to date.Not millions. So there is a lesson to learn here but I like to think that 3rd times a charm and I am venturing into playing regularly and will some day be a successful poker player. Or so I hope so. This is where I decided to write this I was playing some Zynga poker and I am so amazed at the way people play and win. I am going to attempt to play in the Heartland Poker Tour when it comes to St. Louis in about a month and I am going to really start grinding at the tables and learning to change my game or adjust it for that matter so I can understand as I learn a persons style how to approach it and make it a winning game.I will be the first to say that I approach every game I play with the mentality that I am the best and will prevail. I can also say that my tournament play is probably where I have an edge as my discipline to fold and pick my battles has worked for me. Well to be honest with you I am now having company and I am actually tired of writing. So I will end with, PLAY WELL, “It's better to be knowledgeable than lucky” luck runs out knowledge is for ever and I hope that some one can learn from my experiences!

Randy

AKA on most poker sites as APLJR

See ya at the tables and until next time when I post about my HPT experience I hope you enjoyed the story.

PS The laws have changed and I now am legally able to play on the casino and look forward to seeing everyone this September.

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