I've been playing card games as long as I can remember. I was introduced to 5 card draw on a family holiday ironically by my Mum. The poor woman always tried her best to steer me clear of any form of gambling, little did she know teaching me these hand rankings play a big part in me eventually choosing poker as a career.
When I was around the age of 16 in 2007 I discovered Texas Holdem. I would play every lunch time in school with different groups of friends. I absolutely loved the competition. Once I started to regularly beat them I wanted to test myself in a 'real' game. I entered a local pub tournament, run by tournament director extraordinaire Nick O'Hara. I would eventually get knocked out by another young chap, one I recognised as the older brother of a girl from my class. Kev Killeen. I feel it was this encounter that has probably had the biggest influence on my life over the course of the past 7 years.
We both were completely obsessed with the game. If we weren't playing, we were watching videos on training sites (bond18 on pokersavy being our hero), reading every single book we could get our hands on and most importantly in my opinion, running spots past each other. We've always played the differently over the years, but back in the day when we were terrible but inevitable thought we were the top dogs our arguments over hands would get heated at times. These days we're more likely to hear the other person out whether we agree with each other or not and use it to help our game somehow. It would ultimately lead to Kev leaving his job as an electrician and my school grades suffering from a lack of attendance (COD modern warfare 2 may or may not have influenced this also). The first summer where we started to get any sort of decent results online was 2010. I distinctly remember the first time I had a decent four figure score. I decided to mix it up from my usually $5 to $50 heads up SNGs depending on how far I could spin it up. I won an afternoon $26 MTT on FTP for just shy of $5k. I felt on top of the world sitting in Kev's apartment in Galway, I just wanted to go celebrate. Problem. Neither of us had any cash to go out. We ended up chopping a pizza to celebrate. Ballin'. At the time we had an agreement where we swapped in the region of 10% to 20%. I can't remember the figure exactly.
A few days later, Kev using classic Killeen bankroll management used his share of the winnings to ship two tournaments for a combined $12k or something. We felt like we had arrived. Deluded much? I somehow managed to pass all my exams in my first year of University. A four year computing and business degree in DCU. Four years though. It just sounded so long. I couldn't do it. I decided I was going to defer for a year and keep my poker dealing job I had picked up, all whilst trying to mainly support myself from poker in my spare time. Kev at this point, a few months shy of 'Black Friday' had got himself a backing from an American gentleman. I was living in Dublin city at this point. Kev would come in and grind every Sunday. I was extremely envious. However, I didn't have the money there to support myself if I wasn't good enough without the guaranteed income of the job. I did manage to pick up a few backing small deals via TwoPlustwo before 'Black Friday'. It helped me gain references that would lead to the most important backing deal I ever got.
Shortly after 'Black Friday' I found myself in a 'strategy' Skype group. It was formed via TwoPlustwo again. I managed to get myself a new backing deal once more, I would have to prove myself by playing $2.50 180s before I could move up. Not exactly the most glamorous thing in the world. However, it was the lure of coaching that sucked me in. My coach happened to be a gentleman called Marc, aka 'Rowniwn'. For anyone who knows me, you all know he's turned out to be one of my best friends and the single biggest reason I'm playing poker for a living these days. It was through Marc I would meet the core of my 'poker' friends. The two Skype chats that have helped me the most are easily 'Bandit' and 'Team Risky Box'. However the most fun has always been 'Skype After Dark'. I've always been lucky enough to be surrounded by poker players a lot better than me, who also happen to be good friends. Long may it continue.
Under Marcs guidance I managed to have some decent success. I wasn't going to become a millionaire, but I'd convinced myself I would earn enough to give up my job as a poker dealer. So technically from around November 2011 I've been a poker pro, but I never considered myself one until I moved into my first 'Grind' house. We had just been to EPT Berlin in March 2012, where Marc had a deep run and I had spontaneously flew over for day 4 with Kev. It was here I would meet Parker for the first time. I think it's easy to say it was love at first sight. The man has also helped me greatly with poker to put it lightly. Once the trip was over and we were back to Ireland, this was it. I was a 'pro'.
We moved into a 3 bedroom house in Skerries, Dublin in May 2012. Kev, Marc and myself. The staking group that myself and Kev were playing under had fallen apart. Marc decided to take the two of us on. Looking back it probably wasn't a great idea. Having your house mate back you for MTTs, where swings can be volatile meant for some very rough days, especially when Marc had faith in us to play much higher than maybe other backers would have. Unfortunately, after many many crossbars for the two of us, Marc decided to sell us to Parker as the make up was piling up. I don't think it helped that this was the first time Kev and I lived together, we were a bit off the walls. I've never come close to drinking as regularly and heavily as I did that summer. Zero regrets however, great times. The swing I went on however, (around $15k+) put me off MTTs. Kev the dreamer, was of course undeterred. I decided after we left the house in mid December that I was going to clear my make up and get on the SNG grind. Luckily for me, and obviously annoyingly unluckily for Marc, within a couple of weeks I had a $35k week, clearing my make up and setting me up for the SNG grind.
So January 2013, I was make up free. I was a small bit deluded about how many VPPs I could get. I knew SNE would be out of reach. But when I was starting at $15 18 mans I was still talking about minimum 500k. I moved to Malta in February, to live with three great lads, Josh, Tim and Franz. There was also another apartment in our building with poker players, Paudie, John, Eldon, Chris and a flying visit from Jono that made the whole Maltese experience insanely fun. I fell in love with the little island. I ended the year with a little bit over 300k and finally unbacked. I went home for the winter of 2013 before moving back out to Malta in May 2014 with Chris and Paudie who I had become closest with out of all the lads. Nothing spectacular happened in 2014. Ran above in EV in the small sample of MTTs I did play, yet again achieving 300k VPPs on stars and continuing for 95% of my volume to be 18 mans.
Chris decided he wasn't hanging around in Malta any longer, so myself and Paudie ended up moving in with two good Nordic friends of ours. Mimmi and Sandra. I was skeptical about moving in with girls for the first time in my life, afraid of the potential drama, tears and random boys. However, it's been a breeze with the occasional home made dinner provided to make it all worth while <3 It was around the end of 2014 I started to hear Jaime Staples talk about Twitch. He was convinced it was going to get huge. I had my heart set on other things, ignored his advice to get involved. I decided I was going to get SNE. With all the rumors that Pokerstars may part with the program for 2016 I wanted to achieve it was once. Just to prove I could. Well, come the first week of February, 350 hours and 100k vpps later, the introduction of $60 Spin&Gos made me decide the towel was going in. To be honest, even without the intorduction of higher Spins, it would have been close to impossible for me to keep up that volume. I briefly flirted with the idea of playing Spins to attain SNE, but I decided I just wasn't good enough and the potential variance was incredibly scary.
That brings us to now. I started 'Twitching' in the last week of February a few months after Jaime had strongly recommended it. I decided to do a challenge starting with $350, so I would be somewhat different and the viewers could relate to me. After two months and not the progress I had hoped for I decided the opportunity cost was too high. So since April 24th, I've been streaming MTTs with some success so far. You can check out all this progress in my previous blog posts. For the most part I'm really enjoying streaming, so hopefully you can continue to follow my progress and even if it's not something I do forever, at least we'll have had had some fun along the way and be able to look back on it