Thursday, January 26, 2006

Playing Poker For a Living

As many of you know, six months ago I decided to put my company on hold and play poker for a living. I am now taking a break from poker and have had a little time to reflect on the last six months and thought I'd do a post on my prognosis for what the life has to offer, at least from my perspective:

As the now cliché saying goes, it is a hard way to make an easy living. Playing poker for a living has been the most emotionally and mentally taxing thing I have ever done. It has also been the most financially rewarding endeavor I have ever undertaken, especially from a $/hour perspective.

There are giant perks and sometimes even greater drawbacks. These perks I think I have done my best to take advantage of, namely that the job can be done on any schedule you select and from any geographic location, provided a stable internet connection. The financial rewards can also allow you to live your life to the fullest as you may not need to work too many hours to make a strong income.

There are some personality traits that you either must have, or must work very hard to improve upon, or you are almost surely destined for failure. You must be good with money. This means at saving it at regular intervals, managing your bankroll as well as your personal money and never ever going on tilt and jeopardizing your poker bankroll. You must be emotionally stable and be able to handle the swings of the game. It has been pointed out to me by a few people that I may not be fully up to par in this respect, and when I do return to playing full-time I think I will definitely need to monitor this more. Losing and winning thousands of dollars per day can do some weird things to your emotions and internal compass, no matter how stable you previously were.

You must have a true passion and love for this game, and be after more than just money. It takes a constant desire to learn more and improve your game to succeed in the long run. You must also have a good support system in place and an acceptance of your trade from those close to you. The friends I've made through online poker have been amazing in this capacity and I consider myself truly blessed.

You absolutely positively must have rakeback! This can pay all of your bills at months end when you have had a losing or break even month, and prevent you from having to dip into savings or your bankroll, or worse...GET A JOB!

I'd also recommend getting at least one or two other streams of income. I've been lucky to have a few of these before and during poker and they are what I am now focusing my time on. Poker has gotten to be a drag on my psyche and I really need this vacation from the game I love. If I didn't have my side work I'd be lost for how to spend my time and energy now.

And the single biggest piece of advice I can give to any prospective professional player is to keep a balanced life! The first couple of weeks were miserable because I was either playing or studying for like 90% of my waking hours. Go out with friends! Get a girlfriend! Get some other hobbies! Once I started doing these things I really began to enjoy all of the things that the life has to offer. It is not for everybody, but done right it can be a truly amazing and rewarding job.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading,

Wild Bill