As some might remember, when the Samsung Galaxy S2 was released in May this year, I got straight onto the bandwagon and bought myself the much-anticipated phone before it was even launched in Australia.

Other than the mediocre battery life, the phone is indeed as powerful and smart as it is advertised.

But what many of you probably won’t know is how I managed to raise the funds to purchase this $800 intricate device.

I was an unemployed graduate, surviving off my parents’ allowance until I found a day-time job.

My solution revolved around a skillset I learnt to use over a period of many years of practice. A skillset frowned upon by many, yet greeted with envy by most.

A $1 investment, an opportunity cost of 8 hours, and hundreds of repetitive hands later, I broke my financial limits and raised more than half the amount needed to pay for my brand new SGS2.

The rest was history.

Poker has been a background interest of mine ever since I learnt to play the game when I was 15.

Everytime I’d mention the word poker, the general assumption affiliated with the word poker is returned with the pro-negative connotations of gambling.

Don’t get me wrong, many do practice the sport with intentions as such.

They are just dogs in a game of chance

I think I took a very positive approach to the game. For years, I made a promise to stay away from risking my cashflow until I knew I was intuitively well-informed to make intellectual decisions.

For years I practiced online via poker platforms through the free-to-play chip system.

From there I moved onto playing poker at live pub poker leagues around Melbourne with nothing but pride at stake.

Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” track may have probably assisted.

There was so much to learn before I knew I was confident enough to risk more.

It was not until I turned 21 that I took a chance for my own personal greater good.

Risking real money online did play with my head more than I anticipated.

I even wrote a song based on my poker playing experience.

Sometimes my decisions were rewarded with gains. Other times my final decisions resulted in losses.

Every game required continuous reassessment of my strategies.

It was not until September 2010 that I went above and beyond my expectations.

There is a daily competition hosted by poker online called the Daily Dollar.

The rules of the game is simple. Each person invests exactly $1 to join 5000 other players around the world in a run to qualify for a top prize of $500. Each player is given 1,500 chips to start with on a table consisting of 9 players. As soon as a player runs out of chips, he is knocked out of the tournament.

The basis of the game was simple. Play to survive.

Bear Grylls probably isn’t the best example of poker survival.

Now if you think about it, a $1 invesment to a game with a maximum return of 500% is worth it, is it not?

Losing the $1 wasn’t much to be worried about. The tournament was hosted everyday at the same initial cost, with the same amount of players to stat with.

The first four hours of the game is normally met with players throwing most of their chips away to negligent play. Surviving this phase was relatively easy to get by.

I felt like I was playing in the World Series

As the game progressed, determination turned to anticipation; skills turned to a measurement of timing & chance; and aggresive play outwitted the defensive.

Before I knew it, I was sitting in the final table with 8 other players, each already positioned to gain the minimal amount of $50.

I won’t get into much detail. The final table itself lasted for an hour before reaching the final two players.

I did not win the grand prize of $500. Instead, I raked up second place with a reward of $350.

And if you ask me, $350 is pretty sweet deal!