Baby steps net cool profit

We spend a lot of time here talking about the people who routinely play every Sunday major event every week. They're all great stories and deserve to be told. Every once in a while, though, it's nice to take a look at how folks get started.

Recently, we received an e-mail from chill823 about his first run at the Sunday Million, something he could only try using a ticket he earned in the PokerStars Steps tournaments.

Here's his account of his first dip into the big waters.

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by chillin823

I started playing poker when I was 22 for play money, and I played for play money for about a year online. Before I was 22, I didn't know anything about poker, but I started watching it on TV and thought it looked interesting.

I ended up on Pokerstars when I started playing online for real money, around October 2007. I looked at a few of the major sites and decided that Pokerstars was the online room I wanted to join. Since then, I have played in mainly low buy in MTTs and sit and gos. Over the last year I have done pretty well, consistently making a profit, however small.

I turned 24 in July. I'm in my senior year of college and am majoring in Education. I plan to graduate in May 2009. Since I didn't start playing until I was 22 I'm a few years older than a lot of the really young online players.

When I played in the Sunday Million this past Sunday it was by far the biggest prize pool tourney that I have played in. I got in to the event using a step 4 EPT ticket, which I had built up to from an EPT Step 1 tournament I entered with 500 FPPs.

My chips were pretty steady during the event. I was nervous at the start, but since I got in using my Step 4 ticket I was a little less nervous than I would have been if I bought in. Towards the end of the first hour I was down to about 5,000 chips having lost a few small pots. I was starting to think that it was just not my day but I picked up AA towards the end of the first hour. I got the chips in against one other player and the aces held so I had about 10,000 at the end of the first hour. The second hour started well for me, I had won a few pots and was up to about 17k. Right before the second hour break I had slipped down to around 12k. It was folded around to me in the small blind and I had A-4, suited. I raised 2.5x the big blind. The big blind player reraised me back and I felt that they were making a move, so I re-raised all in. We both had about 12k. He called and had A-6 off suit. I hit a 4 on the flop and another 4 on the river.

After that hand I was feeling good and had about 25k. Throughout the third hour I was doing well and had my stack up to about 47k, but lost a good size pot when I had Q-J. After the queen high flop I bet, then got re-raised my a big stack so I let it go, down to about 23k. A few hands later I had AK suited, I shoved all in for around 23k, 1 call, they had A-10 offsuit. My A-K held up, and I was back to near 50k. It was close to the money bubble at that time, and I didn't have another big hand before the money.

Once the money came I was really excited to cash, before that my biggest cash online was around $50 where I came in 9th in a $2 mtt, and the Sunday Million cash was $300 minimum. After the bubble I had about 22k I think, and I picked up J-J. I shoved it and got called with a player having A-A.
No miracle for me and I was out in 1,022th I think. Even though I wish I could have gone a little further I was very excited to cash and it was one of my most exciting poker sessions.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Sunday Million