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by Shirley Rosario

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Shirley RosarioFor eight years, I have shared my poker experiences in this journal. Along the way, I have also shared many of my personal journeys. The time has finally come for me to move on, but not before I reflect on what this website and journal have done for me.

When I first started writing in my journal, my website had already been established as a poker player profile site. At the time,  the only information you could find on the web about poker players were their player's statistics. Since I knew many players from working/playing in the casino, I decided to share my stories. Although my site was getting plenty of traffic through search engines, I wanted to additionally promote it by writing about my journeys in the poker world. There were only a handful of people writing about poker on a regular basis (blogging), but most of them weren't focusing very much on their own personal adventures.

In January of 2004, when I made my first entry, I was a low limit prop at the Bicycle Casino. It was during that time that I learned the most about poker. In addition to learning how to play a wide variety of games, I also learned about discipline, the importance of game selection, table etiquette, bankroll management, and a whole lot more. All of the lessons I learned gave me plenty of subject material for this blog. That, of course, translated into more revenue from the online card rooms that were advertising with me. Propping wasn't an easy job, but I was able to make a living from it especially when I combined it with my income from my website and with the additional money I was making playing online poker.

In 2005, I was able to cut my hours at the casino to be one of the commentators for Live at the Bike. The concept was exciting because we were the first people to stream live poker on the internet. After one year of commentating and propping, I was ready to move on to my next poker adventure, focusing on tournament poker. In January of 2006, I was scheduled to play in a lot of the tournaments at the LA Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino, but those plans were halted because I found out I had breast cancer.

Fighting cancer was the toughest thing I have had to do in my life, but having this journal helped me tremendously. I received a huge amount of support from my readers and from the poker community which meant a lot to me. In addition to that, the journal helped me "escape" cancer by focusing and writing about poker. I also escaped by playing online poker which was kind of ridiculous. 2006 was my only losing year in my online poker career and was also the year that I learned another valuable lesson...Do not play poker while undergoing chemotherapy.

In 2007, I started to head back out into the casinos on a more regular basis to play tournaments or live action NL games, but a lot of my time was still spent playing poker online. Over the next couple of years, I continued to spend most of my poker hours at the online tables and I also worked on my website more. Because of the work I was putting in, my site grew and so did the deals I made with the online card rooms. Some of my best deals were in 2008 and 2009 when in addition to being paid, I was sent to four PokerStars tournaments a year. During those two years, I traveled to Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, Italy, Bahamas (twice), Costa Rica (twice) and New Zealand. I have had some of my most memorable experiences during those trips and am so grateful to poker and my website for providing me with those opportunities. *To read more about my travel adventures, see my other website Poker Journeys.

In early 2010, my website had grown into over 800 pages of content translated into ten different languages. The site was ranked high in the google search engines and also had a lot of valuable page rank. In addition to that, I was sending a LOT of players to the online card rooms. It was during that year, that I received an offer from PokerStars that would change my life. They offered to buy my website and keep me on as a consultant for two years. Because of that deal, I was able to buy a new house in the neighborhood I grew up in and also have a "regular" job while continuing to do something I love, play online poker.

In April of 2011, the walls came tumbling down on the poker world when Black Friday hit. The players in the U.S. were no longer able to play online poker and many of my friends had to completely change their life around. Half of those people were players who had to make adjustments to their lives by relocating to other countries or by getting different types of jobs. The other half of the people were writers in the industry who either lost their jobs or had a severe cut in job offers and pay. I was one of the fortunate ones because of my two year consulting deal. My life was still turned upside down, but mostly because I had to change my way of life. I had spent so many hours and years during the day playing online poker that I didn't know how to occupy my time without it. I have since made the adjustment by taking an interest in hiking, tennis, and by going back into the casinos.

While the above generally summarizes what has happened with me and my blog over the past eight years, it doesn't accurately describe how grateful I am for the opportunities I have been given and for all the experiences I have had because of poker and this website. For a writer (loosely defined), it is very difficult to come to the realization that there are no words to accurately express the gratitude I feel. Just know that I feel very lucky.

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