Experiences with Poker as your job

    • TerrorBlade
      TerrorBlade
      Black
      Joined: 16.10.2007 Posts: 1,922
      Hi there guys.

      I'm part way through my BE degree (1.5 years to go) and have been thinking a lot lately about what I'm going to do afterwards and basically trying to find out if I'm really going to enjoy life as much as if I attempted to "go pro" in poker.

      My situation/plan is this:

      -If I decide to put university on hold indefinitely (any amount of time that I can decide later), I would finish this semester which is about 10-12 more weeks, then start my schedule in mid june.

      -If I decide I really want to finish and/or fail terribly @ poker and pursue a career in engineering I can come back later and finish the last 1.5 years. So I would basically be playing from mid Jun '09 -> Late July '10 if I decided to go back to uni after a year.

      -My parents would probably continue "supporting" me (paying rent) for the rest of the year at least, but then I would be expected to front up.

      -I wouldn't be 10 table rakeback grinding on stars, but 4-6 maximum and actually trying to improve my game which is what I'm doing now, far more successfully than my old style of, more tables = better. This way I can climb the limits and have choice to play on basically any table at any site rather than be limited to 5/T and worse.

      Also would it be achievable to reach supernova in half a year @ 5/T or 3/6? This is assuming 4-6 multitabling at least 3-7 hours a day 5 days a week. I ask this because pokerstars rakeback really gets good at this level and would supplement my winrate handsomely.

      The reason why I don't want you guys to just say "well you should finish your education first!" is that

      1. the games will only get tougher (maybe, who knows what opening of new markets & eventual overturning of UIEGA will bring) so why wait 1.5 years which is quite a bit of time in poker years.

      2. My gf said something that really resonated with me, that "you shouldn't do something you aren't really passionate about and actually enjoy doing or else what's the point?" I've always considered this path as a possibility but always thought "yeah after my degree maybe", 1.5 years of my life is significant however so I don't want to waste my time if it's not what I really want.

      3. This time is to discover what I want to do in life and at the same time experience what this particular choice is like.

      I'm making this post because I want to get as much information as I can about what it is like to play poker as your only job. Anyone who is doing so can you please post any helpful information on dealing with discipline/any schedules that work for you?

      I am currently unfit as hell and want to work regular exercise (probably join a gym) into my schedule, i.e. every day if I can.

      Basically my schedule would go something like this:

      7:00: get up and go for a run
      7:30: shower & eat breakfast while watching kobeyards quality tilt-free videos
      8:00: 4-6 table game creation hunting fishes on 5/T for 3 hours (longer if I'm running well, shorter if not). During this period catch 5-10 interesting hands to review at.
      11:00 Review hands
      11:40 lunch time
      12:00 watch a video or 2
      1:00 play some computer games as a break/play tennis with friends (I do this regularly)
      2:30 repeat 3 hour session depending on how I'm feeling shorten or lengthen accordingly

      etc.

      I think sweat sessions are very important and would have a few of these each week instead of playing hands in a particular block of time as they are hugely helpful in finding leaks etc.

      This a very open post and I want anyone that can contribute something about your experience to do so. Please don't hesitate to comment with any ideas even if you aren't a poker pro.
  • 56 replies
    • Atoks
      Atoks
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.06.2008 Posts: 1,354
      For me things were pretty simple. I know one thing and one thing alone: if I want to succeed at something and put my mind to it 110% (and more when needed) I can be successful at anything, regardless of what it is or what constraints there are (be it in my head or otherwise). However the catch is I really have to WANT to succeed at it. Basically if I wouldn't stake all my time, ambition, desire, energy, everything I prolly never would have made it (not quite there yet, even if poker brings in for me more then most ppl get payed in a month, but pro means beating the work grind by a whole lot, for me at least).

      So IMHO if u don't know poker is exactly what u want to do in life u prolly should not stake everything on it. At the same time I fully applaud u for thinking about what path in life u want to follow. In a way I did the same, took 2 years off everything, doing menial jobs just so I could get by every month and in the meantime tried to figure out where I want to go and what I want to do there.

      I'm absolutely sure u will figure out what u want to do to earn ur livelyhood with, be it poker, the thing u are studying now or something completely different. My advice: go with whatever u feel passion for, whatever u find to be thinking the most about, whatever u daydream about being. If u go with that, u won't go wrong :)

      GL and hope it helped :)
    • slikec
      slikec
      Global
      Joined: 04.02.2008 Posts: 1,155
      Originally posted by TerrorBlade
      1. the games will only get tougher (maybe, who knows what opening of new markets & eventual overturning of UIEGA will bring) so why wait 1.5 years which is quite a bit of time in poker years.

      2. My gf said something that really resonated with me, that "you shouldn't do something you aren't really passionate about and actually enjoy doing or else what's the point?" I've always considered this path as a possibility but always thought "yeah after my degree maybe", 1.5 years of my life is significant however so I don't want to waste my time if it's not what I really want.
      I would say those two points are the most important for you in this post right. If i get it right you like poker(actually you are passionate about) and dont really like so much engineering.
      Also i readed between lines gf gives you full suport no matter what you decide which if you are with her at least one year is important for decision.

      What is important for decision and you didnt mention at all i think is also $$$$. I mean plans how to deal with downswings how much money you have atm how much would be nice if you would get per month etc. is also important i think. If you hit bad downswing at start it can f*uck up plans pretty bad.

      But in overall if you really like poker so much ok why not go pro right now otherwise probably studying 1,5 years more to have degree and play along for fun additional money is better idea.

      BUT again if you really beat the game right now have healthy bankroll(i would say at least for one year expenses) and are passionate about the game go for it. I mean who can stop you! And you have suport from persons that mean most to you.

      slikec
    • opal99
      opal99
      Black
      Joined: 05.02.2008 Posts: 8,270
      very interesting thread

      I'm looking forward to hear some good advices too ;)

      To not just spam it, I add some info:
      Yes, you can make supernova in 2 months if you play as much as you said you would.
    • TerrorBlade
      TerrorBlade
      Black
      Joined: 16.10.2007 Posts: 1,922
      Information not included in first post:

      I am passionate about poker, it's just my degree programme is VERY hectic now and I have little time to play which is why I haven't gotten further so far.

      I love games in general and get a thrill out of winning, I get excited even thinking about the idea of doing this for a living, and am in love with the idea of a flexible work schedule.

      To slikec:

      Note that I can get by on merely my pokerstrategy.com coach income due to the fact that my parents will support me till at least the end of the year, so that isn't a problem and I can focus purely on my game + building the bankroll with a few cashouts too. USD -> NZD is very favourable for me and this + my current situation means that I'm not going to be in "trouble" in this respect.

      I basically would want to get to a point after a year where I can play nearly every limit available comfortably skill wise. I can't really say "I want to play 30/60" because I really have no idea how long this would take at a high volume rate and lots of time dedicated to poker, I just want to get better and then the results will be there.
    • mafaz
      mafaz
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.12.2007 Posts: 222
      id say finish the studies and then go pro. If you fail as a poker pro you will always have you qualification as an engineer even if u dont like it :) I'd say its the same advice as bankrol management :)

      And girlfriends.... they always support you when everything is good :)
      I dunno if she would be so supportive if u fail being a poker pro...

      Just my opinion :)

      I would personally would like to become a poker pro myself... but i am trying to combine it with job at the moment.

      If ill be able to go up the limits then maybe ill quit. But at the moment i prefer to choose a safer way.
    • TerrorBlade
      TerrorBlade
      Black
      Joined: 16.10.2007 Posts: 1,922
      Originally posted by mafaz
      id say finish the studies and then go pro. If you fail as a poker pro you will always have you qualification as an engineer even if u dont like it :) I'd say its the same advice as bankrol management :)

      And girlfriends.... they always support you when everything is good :)
      I dunno if she would be so supportive if u fail being a poker pro...

      Just my opinion :)

      I would personally would like to become a poker pro myself... but i am trying to combine it with job at the moment.

      If ill be able to go up the limits then maybe ill quit. But at the moment i prefer to choose a safer way.
      It's good to see someone outline the possible downsides and I will lay it out again.

      I don't "support" my girlfriend financially or anything - we don't live together, she lives with her parents, if I don't succeed then it's not like she'll have to support me and just quit our relationship.

      I'm saying trying poker now for a year is better because if I'm not sure that career is what I want and don't want to waste a year and a half and ~8000$NZD on something like that i.e. ---EV time and money. At least if I don't succeed then I can say I tried that and it didn't work out.

      Also I presume that (maybe) games will get gradually harder, so it's more EV+ for me to try this now. Note that I can go back to my degree later if I so desire.
    • NakiMan
      NakiMan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.12.2008 Posts: 81
      Terrorblade.

      As an older guy (just about retired) in the petrochemical industry I would always suggest get a qualification behind you first. This will always give you something to fall back on.

      I got a degree before leaving UK in the 1960's for my tripping around and because of it got work anywhere in the world, everything from hotel work to driving heavy machinery.

      Poker has always been a hobby for me, and it is only the last 3/4 years I have started playing much again, love it but also like the bit of work I do as well.

      So get a degree then follow your passion (my suggestion anyway). :tongue:

      GL whatever you decide.

      NakiMan.
    • Wytaliba
      Wytaliba
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.10.2007 Posts: 1


      (after finishing your degree - or at least this semester, and then really reevaluate where you want to be in life / heading towards)

      You've already payed for this semester?
    • wallace07
      wallace07
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.03.2007 Posts: 572
      -My parents would probably continue "supporting" me (paying rent) for the rest of the year at least, but then I would be expected to front up.
      stopped reading here, because if you can't afford your living/rent with your poker winnings you should currently not even think about going pro.

      just my 2 cents...
    • PidKoker
      PidKoker
      Global
      Joined: 03.06.2008 Posts: 416
      This is really interesting I have had these same thoughts when I think about what my future is going to be after I finish up my studies.
    • TerrorBlade
      TerrorBlade
      Black
      Joined: 16.10.2007 Posts: 1,922
      Originally posted by wallace07
      -My parents would probably continue "supporting" me (paying rent) for the rest of the year at least, but then I would be expected to front up.
      stopped reading here, because if you can't afford your living/rent with your poker winnings you should currently not even think about going pro.

      just my 2 cents...
      That point meant that I had a full 7-8 months at least of basically free living to earn money. It's not terribly expensive for me to live here, I'd have to win like 7BBs per week on average on 5/T assuming I'm still at that limit by next march?

      I also am not living purely from poker, I do work for pokerstrategy also and earn enough from this to support myself - extra money earnt from PS.com work will be saved in my bank account, and also that output would increase during this timespan.
    • TheLastNail
      TheLastNail
      Black
      Joined: 30.05.2008 Posts: 6,021
      I have interrupted studies after 1st year of Bc, I dont know if I d finish it, I don't know if I want to finish it. It has ntg to do with poker..Ofc my former goals education related were even to get PhD and do some science work etc, but things change and I must say I got struck by unwanted circumstances couple of times and changed my whole life ideals dramtically as a consequence.

      In times I really don't know what to do with my life I try to ask myself where this "drive" can still come from in me.. And it was pretty hard to identify with the answer after all that I ve gone through, but it's still the same: the thrill of a game. It may sound very superficial, but I simply must give up and admit I just love playing games, I ve probably been addicted to gaming even since my first pc games, and everything I ve ever done, I ve done it as a game. This is just my destiny I think, bcs my upbringing was quite strict to say the least, and I was alw demanded to be the best, have best results in everything.. and as years gone by, high school, univ.. i never really knew why i am doing certain things, but I just always got this blood pumping in my veins, when I was preparing for tests, exams, etc.. if it was just another level of quake I must pass to finally face Shub-Niggurath (yes, I am an addict of quake 1 :) .. I had already interrupted studies at high school bcs I was questioning the purpose of my life etc.. hardcore stuff :D ..

      anyway.. to the point> I know so many ppl that have even 27-30 years and still not finished their studies, bcs of various more or less severe reasons.. and I dont find them living their lives less actively or being anyhow inferior... quite the contrary.. what I often recognize is that ppl who are pushed towards doing things are just becoming blank slaves of their existences and puppets of surrounding society living in absolutely harmonic hypocracy.. Hence> I dont know who I am, I ve tried to find out so many times, lost so much time, but I want to follow whoever I might be, bcs if I ever find out, I am sure there will be doors still open, and finishing anything as a univ later is no problem at all. /+u delay the time of entering the tedious time schedule of an employee, which i consider a benefit /

      Btw.. u re a very very lucky man that u have a support from your family. I didnt. It s only the 2nd month I do.. and the difference is drastic.. in beg Jan i ve been playing still mostly NL10..as a hobby player, now I am moving to NL200, and I ve decided to give poker a serious try. I want to impove much more, I only started analyzing my game sth like 2-3weeks ago, never done that before, and it was ofc a major mistake.. My profits are from my perspective, very good already, and what is NL100?!? I want to get to fight Shub! :D

      I play 2-6h/d now & analyze 2-3h/d, apart from it, yes.. doing some physical activity abs pivotal here!! (i visit gym and swim, will be running and speedskating in summer also) bcs i had series of days playing like 12-14h, and I was feeling it had some mental impacts as well :D and if i dont feel well physically I cannot stay focused mentally either, which is very needed during prime time longer sessions when u have good positions on fish fe, and u just cannot leave the tables..

      my honest advice> if u feel like wanting sth very much, just go for it, dont waste your deepest reservoirs of energy on sth u d have to do, only bcs its normal, or ordinary, or bcs most ppl do it so.. if u have your own drive, u can understand it yourself, and u ll excel at anything & have gr8 life as a result and be content with what u do.. again, if anything changes, u ll adapt.. it's no big deal..u have your whole life in front of u

      take care, gl!
    • andyb43
      andyb43
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.07.2008 Posts: 903
      FINISH YOUR EDUCATION

      This was not the answer you wanted but.............Advice from an (much) older dude

      I do not remember off hand the % of students who drop out with the intention to go back later, but the majority never do:-

      Pregancy
      Marriage
      Death of parent/s who will pay?
      Change of sylabus, previous courses/credits obsolete
      Doing well at e.g. poker, for a fair amount of time before failure (to old to go back)
      It is difficult being a student again after earning an income (even a small one) because suddenly you have other finacial commitments that need to be met e.g. car payments, insurances, subscriptions, loan repayments, rent,
      utilities, credit card payments. Are your parents that wealthy?

      You want to cut 1.5 years of study for poker to potentially screw up the next 60? Poker will still be there in 1.5
    • davodka
      davodka
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.10.2008 Posts: 61
      Have you considered doing uni part time instead?

      advantage: more time for poker during the week and hence more chance to see if you could turn pro. You can still do ur degree and have it as a plan B, I dont think you should defer altogether, I'm a uni student, and quite a few of my friends have deferred and then withdrawn from uni after doing something else for a year.

      downside: Still need to focus on uni, multitasking blah... i play both sport and uni, but my sport is affected because I'm thinking about uni while playing sport and cant fully concentrate while playing.

      might be a different point of view for you...
    • viewer88
      viewer88
      Bronze
      Joined: 19.04.2008 Posts: 5,545
      Originally posted by andyb43
      You want to cut 1.5 years of study for poker to potentially screw up the next 60? Poker will still be there in 1.5
      pretty much agree with this, although I have the same desires you do. Starting to get real bored at school, missing the "drive" I need to really be passionate about it.

      I'm also sick of living at home with my folks, wonna get out there and live my own life. I recognise alot of things OP en thelastnail posted in here.

      Problem is: going back to school after your "poker run" will be hell, I know alot of people who set out to work a few years to go to university afterwards: none of those finished his education. It's just hard, and I can imagine going back to school sucks. School is a strange pseudo-world where you spend your days doing useless crap and can't even get excited about it.

      BTW I don't think the games will get alot tougher in 1.5 years: there will always be alot of fish, and the pokermarket will boom in other country's/continents aswell. I'm only worried about the crazy chinese grinders who stop playing WOW and start mass-grinding the microlimits ^^

      It's your decision: it's your life. Alot of people here (including me) must have the same hopes and plans here, because you can make more money playing poker then doing regular job obviously. It looks like a dream job because you're independant, it's a game and you can expect a nice profit. The grind might get boring, I don't know ^^

      Perhaps a well outlined plan is best: quit university X months (like 6 months) to try it the poker lifestyle, afterwards: re-evaluate and make the good decision
    • opal99
      opal99
      Black
      Joined: 05.02.2008 Posts: 8,270
      Originally posted by davodka
      Have you considered doing uni part time instead?

      advantage: more time for poker during the week and hence more chance to see if you could turn pro. You can still do ur degree and have it as a plan B, I dont think you should defer altogether, I'm a uni student, and quite a few of my friends have deferred and then withdrawn from uni after doing something else for a year.
      I agree with this!

      I spent 1 year out of uni (before I tried poker) and it was really hard to come back, but it is possible. I came back and change it to combined study (part time in other words) and there's no problem with playing poker during semester. Sure, there are 2 months in year when you won't find enough time to open tables, but you have 10 regular months with just some side tasks for few hours each.

      Leaving school is risky imo, but I agree that it might be worth it and if you believe you can do what you aim for, it should be done. School is not everything and if someone wants to finish, he can no matter what anytime later.

      I agree the games will be only tougher on midstakes, so getting there as fast as possible will give you advantage over "next generation" players.
    • shivas80
      shivas80
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.12.2008 Posts: 573
      Terror, i have to say only one thing, if u leave university now... pretty much u not gonna finish it..

      Why?

      4-5 years ago i was in quite same situation, not becoz of poker, but becoz of job, i left university when i had only 1.5 years left to finish it... and guess what, 5 years passed and i can't find motivation to go back and finish it. I will find any excuse to say "ill do it next year" and this is for 5 years straight.

      In your case and with my experiences, i would finish university, then make more output for PS to gain aditional income (safety first), and then try to make a pro career.

      my 2 cents.
    • TwiceT
      TwiceT
      Black
      Joined: 15.07.2007 Posts: 4,796
      my thoughts in short:

      1) read AND UNDERSTAND "The Poker Mindset" by Ian Taylor and Matthew Hilger

      2) i personally like the approach of doing something besides poker. it doesnt matter if u have a part-time job, are studying or are just active in any club or union. the advantage with a great job (which u obv. dont do because of the $$ but because of other reasons) or a study is, that u can always deal with poker as what it is: a card game. and since its just a card game and your life consists of many other stuff, there is really no need to tilt or to feel bad when losing. (dont underestimate variance, especially on higher limits!!!!)

      3) it is definitely possible to play on a high level AND study at uni. i finish my business master this year, my business informatics master in 2011. sure, there are times, where you really have to plan your study and playing times well. however, u definitely do things more concentrated if u know there is no time to waste which is good. and in the end, if u earned more in a month then all your profs earn and passed all exams, u feel proud and can enjoy parties on the weekend the most :D

      4) as a matter of fact, poker is not the best thing to put in your CV as primary job for some years. (but: i really think its legitimate to put in in as hobby: i wrote something like:"interested in card games, game theory and stochastics"). thats why i always try to enhance my CV by doing internships and finishing (!!) my studies. i even have an official job (though im not working a lot for it, but nevertheless its nice for the cv)

      5) that said, i think if u are working for ps.com as a coach and if u have the right poker mindset, then go for it and let poker be your profession for a while. and if u just dont like studying, which is ok, it might not be too bad to go for a half time job or to officially be self employed as programmer, translater or whatever.

      6) if i were in your shoes, i would finish my study and play poker prof. there is one more reason for this: the biggest developments as a player are oftentimes made off the poker tables. i could write a book about development of one's skills when doing something totally different (this is not only true for poker). however, this would go too far. having a broader level of thinking is crucial, also in poker. but its hard to broaden your mind if poker is the only thing u do.

      6) life is short: do what u like to do and do it better than the others. and its not a shame to give it a try for a year and then give up because u just cant stand the swings or whatever. the university will still be there in 1 year i guess.
    • STR82ACE
      STR82ACE
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.10.2008 Posts: 389
      Engineering????

      Oh God...quit school now and get a REAL life!!!!

      j/k...well maybe

      think I'll read the rest of the thread now :tongue:

      After reading the rest, I'll say this. Life is short, and one should allows give their dreams a chance to bear fruit. But life is also very hard and cruel, and without something to fall back on for insurance against the unknown factors ahead, you're dream could quickly become a living nightmare.

      You say the games will only get tougher in 1.5yrs, but then again, you will be a stronger opponent as well if you continue to study the game theory as you are now. Its ONLY 1.5 years after all, a drop in the bucket really, especially when you get to be my age (I'll only say 45+). I WISH I finished my education when I was a lot younger rather than wait until I was over 30 to do it, my earlier life would have been much different, but I didn't.

      The biggest risk is that you could fail miserably and end up hating the game for it, because you rushed into a lifestyle you thought you could handle.

      Either way, whichever you decide, good luck!