Archive for February, 2011

The Future of Poker Players

I’ve been thinking alot about the dynamics of the poker world and how it relates to the ‘real’ world. Part of this is due to me thinking about my own future. How are we poker players going to end up in life? What are we all going to look like in 5 years? 10 years? Longer?

The life span for most (serious)online professional players is fairly small. I say that with a small sample size in mind, but given that I’ve seen most everything from the online poker boom to now, it’s the only sample we have. With each passing year, more and more of my friends decide to give up the game (at least in a professional sense). There are many factors in this decision, some of which can be highlighted HERE. So with that in mind, I thought about what the future holds for us. After re-reading some of this, alot of this is unorganized and rambling, but hopefully you can find something of use in it.

The poker world is (obviously) very different than a majority of other professions. Perhaps the last comparable instance was the tech boom in the 90s. Taken from the pool of (successful) poker players, you have people that are (obviously not all of these are going to be absolutes, but in a general sense):

-(Generally) fairly intelligent. Gifted in psychology, statistics, risk management.
-Young and successful for their age in terms of money.
-The ability to make alot of money in a short amount of time. Hourly wages are astronomical when compared to most other jobs. This, in turn, will be a problem (more on this later).
-Many have a “I don’t give a F*** attitude”

The U.S. has a fairly standard model for most college graduates: Finish college, get a job in corporate America, get married, buy a house, retire, good game. And there are many other countries that have the same mindset. This path is deemed ‘normal’ and the vast majority of college graduates will do this.

But poker players are different. Due to our early monetary success and insane hourly wages, ‘normal’ work seems different and foreign. It’s something that is very hard to relate to. My friends were conversing the other night, discussing different pay. Different pay scales of $10 an hour compared to $13.50 an hour and such. All I could think about was “it’s only a few bucks more, who cares?” This wasn’t arrogance by any means, it’s just the way I think. And I think this is probably a problem that alot of poker players have- little regard for money. Obviously I can see the value of $3.50x 8 hours x 5 days a week/etc etc etc…but whatever.

Poker playing is a strange lifestyle. Even some of my poker friends who don’t make a ton of money like they used to still spend frivolously, with a sort of ‘whatever’ mentality. It’s something that is very different than the penny pinching mentality that some college kids have. Sometimes that mentality stays with a person their entire life. Unfortunately, that’s not something that alot of poker players have, is good spending mentalities. It’s just another one of those ‘whatever’ attitudes that makes poker players different than others.

I myself have had a few jobs in my life, none of which were full time. I’m sure there are many poker players who haven’t had any jobs in their life (and why should they?). I’m not so sure it’s something we can truly relate to. Many of my friends who work real jobs continually complain about ‘corporate bullshit’ and what have you. The idea is foreign to me. Working a general job and being stuck there doesn’t seem like a very good idea for me. I’d rather have a chance to make some real money (ie. broke or millionaire) and I’m willing to take that risk.

But hey, what do I know? I haven’t had a ‘real’ job yet. So maybe these are just some false delusions. What I don’t want to be is 45 years old in corporate America sucking my boss’s dick day in and out, wishing I could do something better. I’d rather make jack shit as a cave touring guide or something of that nature for less money.

I think that alot of poker players have a false sense of reality in that they think they aren’t ever going to work a real job in their life. A friend who I exchanged some emails with wrote: “Furthermore, I would never have that 40 hour a week job; not because of the money but because I rather have total freedom and sleep in a hammock between two trees on a beach in Hawaii then spend my time working in corporate america.” Now, he does much, much better than I do at poker…but I’m not so sure his ideas are so close to reality. I’m sure ANYONE would rather sit on a hammock in Hawaii than work in corporate. That being said, it’s not always something we can control.

I’m positive I’ll be doing a job sometime in my life. I just hope it is doing something I love.

Where are we all going to be in the not so distant future? I can see many of us going into semi related fields, such as finance. There are alot of comparable skills between the two professions. I have some friends that are in (or finished) law school and medical school. Others are trying the gaming industry. As many of us knew from the start, poker was never going to be a permanent thing (unless you’re Tom Dwan or Patrick Antonious). It is simply a small step that aided us ahead of our peers for a short time period.

I wonder how many of us will get back on track to that American dream though? How many of us will end up in Corporate? Finance? Medicine? I guess only the future will tell. If this blog is still running in 5 years, hopefully I can remember to check back on it to update it.

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2-27-11 workout

did nothing yesterday.


Workout: 2 hours climbing

What I learned: really need to keep my mental focus, especially when my arms/muscles are getting tired. today i could have gotten a route clean but was too rash with my decision and went for the hold without being steady. breath/relax/focus.

Diet today: 3 eggs for breakfast. chinese food for lunch. going to heat up some chicken strips for dinner. diet this week has been ****ing abysmal and i’m hoping i get better next week.

Notes: realized that a local BJJ tourney in 2 weeks is going on the same time i’ll be out of town, so that is disappointing. i was heavily considering going to it.

i’m also figuring out my trips coming this spring, i have some climbing and skiing opportunities here. so we’ll see.

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workout log 2-26-11

didnt do **** yesterday.


Workout: 1 hour bjj skills and 2 hours climbing

What I learned:we are still working our butterfly guard. sweeps, movements, etc…it’s been really helpful. just getting the movements and what you want to accomplish down is great,as i didn’t know much about butterfly guard before.

climbing was good as well, went to a diff gym than i normally go to and had a fun time.

Diet today: banana and peanut butter for breakfast. huge sandwich for lunch. half of an 18 inch pizza that is supposed to serve 4 people (but me and my friend just split it). just ate late night taco bell too. **** my life.

Notes: planning on climbing saturday and sunday.

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workout log 2-23-11

yesterday i climbed for a few hours. climbed decently but lost my focus at times, causing me to fall. i need to really control my breathing and not make such brash movements.


Workout: 1hour bjj skills

What I learned: we are still working our butterfly guard stuff this week.


standard picture of a butterfly guard there. you have your hooks in and you’re very close to your opponent, with your head in.

Diet today: chinese food for lunch, probably going to eat stir fry for dinner. banana and peanut butter for breakfast.

Notes: arm still is not 100%…pretty discouraging. it’s been about 2 full weeks since the accident. it’s getting a little better…but still not there. also thinking about entering my first BJJ tourney in march, but my arm will be the deciding factor in that.

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2-21-11 workout

basically was a pile of **** on friday and saturday. planned on climbing on sunday at my old rock gym at my old university but it was closed. so 3 day hiatuses for the loss.


Workout: 1 hour BJJ no gi skills

What I learned: essentially like a wrestling class. we worked on some basic shooting and other techniques in a butterfly guard. very very different than my gi classes.

Diet today: not the best. sandwich for lunch and philly/fries for dinner. mmmmm.

Notes: shooting for 7 hours a week of mixed climbing/martial arts.

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