I’m Gabriel and as most of you probably know, I’m Crush Poker’s exclusive poker coach (you can find me under Coaching/Gabriel Rocheleau coach). I’ve been thinking about writing a blog for quite a while now and I’m guessing many of you guys want to know more about the site’s coach; here it is!
I suppose I should start with my background history:
I started to play poker when I was about 13 with a bunch of friends. Back then, we all had our “hand strength chart” printed and always had to check it to answer ridiculous questions like “Does 3-of-a-kind beat a straight?” or even better “Is a 4-card straight any good?” Needless to say we weren’t very strong players back then; we did have a tremendous amount of fun though!
After a little while, one of us discovered online poker sites and we all created an online account. Obviously, we only played with fake chips and none of us really had any intent of every playing with real money. As we saw it, playing real money online was definitely a “scam”. We used to watch the 25$/50$ tables, discussing about how crazy those guys were or developing theories about how the players must have been employed by the poker site “to make it look like it was not a scam”. Haha!
Next, after what must have been 1 or 2 years (I think I was 15 by then), we eventually got better and two of us managed to get up to a million fake chips. (In case you guys are familiar with play money games, we used to play “40k or fold” or “1 million chips races”, those were pretty fun & variance heavy games!) The cool thing about being a fake-millionaire was that we were able to sell our play chips for 10$/million to a guy on the Internet. There I was, with 10$ in my account. That's where the "real money" journey really began.
Although you would expect me to have lost it all on my first few hands, I actually ran pretty hot and got it up to 50$. Only then, after losing what was probably an 8$ pot, did I lose it all, obviously. The good thing about having to grind a million play chips to play again is that it is so god damn long and frustrating that it makes you want to play your very best when you actually get to play real money with your hard-earned 10$. Clearly, I was not able not deposit back then (I was underage but I don't think I would have deposited had I been over 18).
A few 10$ after my first attempt, I got up to 100$ and cashed out my first 50$ check. To be honest, I was fairly skeptical about receiving it but eventually, it did arrive. When it did, I felt pretty damn awesome. I had just made good money from something I was actually doing for fun! (Although it probably amounted to a few pennies an hour, haha). I then lost the other 50$, by the way!
Several grinds later, I got better and learned some bankroll management strategies off some random site. One night, I got up to 600$. I think I cashed out a few hundred dollars then tilted the rest on a fixed-limit HU table! I didn't have much self-control back then! I got back to grinding and eventually, I got back to 600$. By that time, an other year had passed since my first "real-money" experience, so I was 16. I started to take the game more seriously and watched a few instructional videos. Clearly, I still had huge leaks in my game but at least, I was improving. Luckily, the games were much softer in those days (2007-2008) than right now, so that definitely helped me. I got up to 1200$ and final tabled a donkament so that got me up to a little over 2000$. This is the point where I really started to realize that poker could make me quite a bit of money on the side.
I started playing 100nl and (pretty adventurously) 24-tabled it. The funny thing is that I was pretty damn successful the first day I tried it and made a little less than 1000$. Wow! That had never happened to me before. My "peak" was at about 3.2k. I started taking shots at 200nl but didn't do that well, so I cashed a few thousand bucks (good decision) and grinded my way back up.
In that period, I watched quite a lot of instructional videos, read a few books and discussed poker in several study groups/forums. I also eventually started coaching micro-stakes players with great success. I actually was pretty impressed at the results some of them achieved. I have always loved teaching people stuff and I felt like teaching poker was a pretty awesome thing. I also felt like it improved my game tremendously, forcing me to develop coherent and rigorous thought processes that I most likely wouldn't have been able to develop otherwise. I got coached by a guy named "fenderjaguar" (I think he's a high stakes player now and coach for deucescracked). And yeah, I was still 16. Pretty sick, huh?!
Needless to say that from that point, I basically improved, moved up stakes, and made more money. One of the cool things is that I have never had to deposit money from my own pocket to play. All my "poker money" comes from those millions of play chips.
I guess that pretty much sums it up for my poker background! I'll post a new blog entry in a short while where I'll talk more about me personally! (Life's not all about poker hehe!)
Feel free to ask any questions or send me suggestions for future blog posts if you'd like to hear about any particular subject!