The start of a new dawn


I am very pleased to be writing articles for you and in this first piece then I want to begin by telling you something of my history both as a poker player and as a professional gambler. It all started in 1990 when I first got a job as a trainee croupier inside one of my local casinos. From there I steadily built up my gaming knowledge and in 1994 I learned how to play poker. However it was blackjack that was my first love and I became more and more involved with the game after I befriended a card counter.


I left the gaming industry in 1998 and undertook the role of a financial consultant while also playing blackjack more seriously. By early 1999, I had formed a blackjack team which I wrote about in my first book “The Princes of Darkness: The World of High-stakes Blackjack”. I found a wealthy backer and we did well over a four year period without making anything that could be defined as good money. By 2000 then we were having problems and I was already contemplating starting my second team. I also began playing online poker as well in 2000-2001 and I began an intense study of limit hold’em at that time.


After my second and final blackjack team broke up for good in 2002 then I switched to playing poker full time. By 2004 I was playing 50-60 hour working weeks playing limits from $3-$6 limit hold’em to $10-$20. It was in 2005 that I began writing for poker magazines and began with Bluff Europe followed by the WPT and Poker Pro Europe. I also spent over two years writing theory for the 2+2 online poker magazine as well. In 2008, I switched to playing no limit hold’em and after a bad run at high-stakes games dropped down to lower stake levels where I have remained until this day.


I currently play at NL50 and NL100 full ring games but have done well at all of the games that I have played. I also played a lot of PLO in 2009-2010 at the $2-$4 levels where I did really well using a short stack strategy. However it was clear that my systematic approach to poker and my own handicaps were more suited to multi-tabling lower stake levels than playing against the very best at mid-stakes and high stakes levels.


I don’t ever envisage seeing myself moving above NL100 and in this blog then I will be looking at some of the strategies that I use in these games to gain me an edge. Hopefully this will prove very interesting reading for everyone as I will not just be talking about the games that I have played in but how I play as well. I will be writing weekly and so I hopefully will get to see you every week where you may just find many useful little titbits on how I play. Although I play full ring and many of you will play six max and tournaments, I still think that my overall attitude to poker may rub off.


Carl Sampson