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Subject:From RGP-- playing professionally
Time:01:52 pm
This is from a discussion on RGP. It was my response to someone who said, "If you were able to make a living playing poker you'd still be doing it."

There are plenty of arguments against playing poker for a living that have nothing to do with income. I went into it with the intention of doing it for a fixed period of time as an experiment, and that's exactly what I did. I learned that I didn't really enjoy playing full-time for long periods of time, and that I was much happier working in the computer industry.

I don't have to go to work every day and deal with drunken abusive assholes. The people around me aren't pissed because they're stuck thousands of dollars. The problems I deal with are ever-changing and far more intellectually challenging than the ones I dealt with at the poker table. Choosing an office because the people around me are bright, educated, and movitavted is an advantage in a startup, but a disadvantage when selecting a poker game. My coworkers never throw punches at each other.

Poker players can be an extremely unpleasant bunch, and surrounding myself with them every day just didn't contribute positively to my overall happiness.
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abostick59
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Time:2009-02-09 10:13 pm (UTC)
People still talk about poker on RGP???
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wordweaverlynn
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Time:2009-02-09 10:49 pm (UTC)
Makes sense to me. One of the things I look for in a job is *not* being in competition with my co-workers.
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whipartist
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Time:2009-02-10 12:18 am (UTC)
I started to say something like that as well, and took it out. One could argue that the job of a poker player is professional entertainer.
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jacqueline1776
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Time:2009-02-10 05:57 am (UTC)
Yes, this. Playing poker professionally is like owning a casino or other gambling-related business -- you are providing entertainment to the losing players. That is value.
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abostick59
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Time:2009-02-10 01:15 am (UTC)
On the other hand, the barriers to entry to the life of a poker pro are pretty low, as compared to the barriers to entry into a rewarding life in one of the professions.
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wordweaverlynn
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Time:2009-02-10 07:48 am (UTC)
I think getting good at poker helps people learn to be a better person (so does success in business).

I think success in business or poker (or medicine or the arts) *can* do so. I know that the improvement is not inevitable.
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scottro
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Time:2009-02-10 12:38 am (UTC)
Good insight.

I don't play professionally because, well, I just don't win anymore.

77
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whitebird
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Time:2009-02-10 05:50 am (UTC)
My father's uncle, a professional poker or blackjack player, had terrible arthritis in his later life because of holding cards. So that's another reason not to do it as a full-time career.
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bldrnrpdx
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Time:2009-02-10 06:27 am (UTC)
You just know there'll be orthopedic cards before long.
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chrishartman
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Time:2009-02-10 06:47 am (UTC)
I don't know what I have to contribute here except myself as an example. I don't think professional poker players contribute much, *especially* at the higher levels where I play. (It's hard to justify winning at 200/400 and up as "being an entertainer". Also, I suspect there aren't many net losers at the high levels - most of the losers have won the money at lower levels already.)

This is why I don't quit my job as a college professor, where I actually contribute to society. On the other hand, I make a hell of a lot more playing poker, so I'm not going to quit that, either, out of pure selfishness. Turns out, I like money...
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walterzuey
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Time:2009-02-10 03:09 pm (UTC)
- Drunken assholes? Fine with me.
- Stuck and steaming? Fine with me.
- Fistfights? Fine with me.

I don't know if they've mentioned this to you in the so-called "computer industry," but some tasks nowadays have been telecommuterized.
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njchick
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Time:2009-02-10 03:30 pm (UTC)
A friend of mine turned pro a few years ago, and while I disagree ALOT with the notion that playing for a living adds value to society this is how he summed it up:

If the majority of professional poker players were 100% honest, when asked the question: "Why do you play poker for a living?" They would answer:"To avoid mediocrity."It is the danger we all try to avoid. To live a life of mediocrity is standard, especially in America. We are raised and taught to aspire to middle management. To be someone else's workhorse. Less then 1% of the American population actually leads. The remaining 99% are followers.To avoid this, we search after a vocation that allows us to be our own boss. We migrate towards opportunity that offers us a glimpse of fame.

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allknight
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Time:2009-02-10 11:11 pm (UTC)
It is one thing to know that you can do it and quite another living that professional gambler life. I certainly don't miss the constant stress to make money that this profession put on me. I also found it not condusive for me as a married man trying to be a good husband.

It was a great job when I was running good but you also need to fade the bad runs which after awhile did wear on me. I also looked around at the long term pros and the kind of lives they led and I wasn't envious of them. What is really funny is coming back to a more traditional job and having to be somewhere at a special time and working for the weekends and holidays again.
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[icon] From RGP-- playing professionally - Patti
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