I’ve been asked a few times how I got my poker start and I really can’t back date it to a certain time except for this…
I think I inherited an interest from my grandma who was a VIP player at every locals casino in Vegas during my childhood. She would take me to the casinos and I’d watch her play video poker from outside the velvet rope, since I was underage. I ended up figuring out the basic game pretty well by watching. Then, after what seemed like years (probably an hour), we would go have lunch at whatever cafe that particular casino featured, and she would be delighted to be cashing in her player’s points. Apparently player’s points food tasted better than regular food.
It wasn’t until I was in Colorado Springs, living on Fort Carson (this was during my stint as an Army wife), that I realized that I was actually pretty naturally good at the game.. My ex-husband would invite his soldier friends over to play poker about once a week and I would play my little role as the doting wife and serve food and beer and clean up after them as they played. One night I ended up sitting in for someone while he took a break and he was pleasantly surprised when he came back to many more chips than he had when he left. I started joining the games and it soon became not as fun for the guys when instead of being their waitress, I was taking their money. They all swore that it was because I was from Vegas, to which I would reply “I’m only 20, @$$hole, I’m not allowed to gamble yet”.
The weekly games kinda dwindled away, and soon after I ended up leaving my douche of a husband and going back to Vegas. I had just turned 21 when I got back. I didn’t pursue or play poker for a while because I was quite busy working and being mommy, but after meeting poker pros over and over throughout the course of the next year or 2, and seeing how much $ they made, I decided I wanted to do that too. So I bought a bunch of books and got to studying. I knew that you learn poker by experience but I wanted to have as much knowledge as I could before I went to the poker tables, to hopefully minimize the amount of money I lost.
In June of 2009, I met a man who turned into a very serious boyfriend. His name is Paul Ryan. He’s an attorney in Missoula, MT, and was here to play poker at the WSOP. Poker was the thing that initially connected us and during the course of the next year, he would give me tips and tell me about his wins and losses. We flew back and forth to visit each other, playing at his best friend’s poker game. I’m not gonna lie, I lost a lot of his money, going all in with trash hands like 2, 8 off-suit because I “had a feeling”.. (This is why I don’t drink when I play.) Anyway, we were both very excited to play at the 2010 WSOP, it was the first time I’d actually played in Vegas at a real table. I was about to see how well my year of studying paid off. My goal in my head was to win 1 satelite (10 person sit-n-go) during the entire time of the event. I entered one that cost $125. I was extremely nervous but was trying not to show it. I ended up winning the table, cashing at $1250. That was a very happy moment for me, to say the least. Paul ended up winning his satelite, too. We felt like Rockstars and I must’ve told at least 50 random strangers throughout the next few days about my win.
Since then, I’ve been sharpening my game, playing mostly cash games and some tournaments. I’ve final-tabled a few things but have still yet to cash in a tournament. Hopefully that all will change this year at the 2012 World Series of Poker. I’m playing a few big tournaments and am determined to win my seat into the Main Event. Wish me luck!!
Danielle Ford’s Poker Start