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When I Was A Donk – David Paredes

by Julio Rodriguez |  Published: Feb 17, 2016


David ParedesIn this series, Card Player asks top pros to rewind back to their humble beginnings and provide insights regarding the mistakes, leaks, and deficiencies that they had to overcome in order to improve their games.

David Paredes isn’t an ordinary poker player. The New York native has an eclectic background that includes time as a chess player, child actor, video game prodigy, and fiction writer. He even worked on Wall Street and graduated from Harvard University and New York University Law School.

On the live tournament circuit, Paredes has racked up more than $2.2 million in earnings. Most recently, he won the $3,500 buy-in Borgata Poker Open main event for $723,227 and his first World Poker Tour title.

Here, Paredes talks about his earliest experiences with no-limit games.

I had just started playing in the New York City underground games. Before that, I was playing limit hold’em games at Foxwoods, taking the bus four hours each way. So, even though I didn’t know how to play no-limit games, I was excited to have a game much closer to me. How different could the games be, right?

I remember very vividly during these games, when I really only had a few thousand in my bankroll, that I picked the absolute worst times to bluff. In the span of one month, I somehow managed to go broke three times by bluff-shoving into quads. Had I been playing limit hold’em, it would have only cost me one bet. In no-limit, it cost me my bankroll.

For some reason, I was under the impression that no-limit hold’em was all about aggression. I’m an aggressive player anyway, so I definitely went overboard. In my mind, it didn’t really occur to me that someone could be slow-playing me with a big hand. Going all-in was a strong move and since they hadn’t shown aggression on an earlier street, they won’t be able to call. Clearly I was wrong about that.

What really bugs me is that it took three disasters before I realized my mistake. After that, I toned down the aggression just a little bit, and all of a sudden, I started getting paid off like I hit big at a slot machine. I had inadvertently established a great image.