Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 365: Not Finished Yet

Okay, so this is a little embarrassing.

You start a blog out with A Grand Plan. You state it in public. You do a pretty good job of keeping people informed on your progress.

And then, at the very end, you change the plan.

Boooooo. I call shenanigans! On myself.

Life, and the experience life brings (or leaves in its wake), has a way of interfering with the best laid plans. To wit:
  • My book is not done. Not even close. In fact, the extensive outline that I've been working from has come to seem less and less like the book I want to write. Accordingly, I'm having to reconsider it from the ground up. I fully intend to keep writing, and I definitely think I have a good book to bring forth, but it's not going to be the one I initially thought it would be.

  • I have distinctly NOT succeeded in leading as well-balanced life as I'd intended.

  • My poker results are inconclusive. While I have made a decent profit in the past year, I don't have enough information to make a decision about whether I can survive as a professional. I'm inclined to think I can, but I don't know for sure, and I've determined that I'm unlikely to know for sure in a reasonable timeframe.
So, what to do? what to do?

I'm flying to Las Vegas tonight. I'll be there for 3.5 weeks. I have arbitrarily decided that I will let this short period of time serve as the tie-breaker in my decision-making process. If I make a decent, livable income at the tables on this trip, I'll keep going. If I don't, I'll start looking for a job. You know, actual salaried, every-other-week-a-paycheck, health-benefit-conferring employment.

You say there's a recession on? No kidding. Thank god I live in Washington, DC, where employment opportunities are less awful than in most of the rest of the country. (And nothing stops me from continuing to play poker on the side while I diligently look for work.)

No matter what the outcome of this last lagniappe, this baker's dozenth month of poker, I will never EVER regret having given the past year to my experiment. It has been challenging, fun, heart-breaking, educational, rewarding, and deeply, deeply interesting. I have made wonderful new friends, achieved personal bests, and come to treasure my city and my friends all the more. It has been a spectacular adventure.

I was sitting at Starbucks the other day, having a coffee and catching up on my spreadsheet, as is my wont. The man at the table next to mine leaned over and made a comment about the svelteness of my MacBook Air. We had a brief conversation, during which he asked me: "Are you a lawyer?" I laughed. And then the following sentence emerged unprompted from my mouth for the first time: "Actually, I play poker for a living." And as I said it, it seemed true.

We shall see.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Poker Dreams said...

something tells me your not a quitter.

8/17/09 3:38 PM  
Blogger Crash said...

I hope the poker wins out, so much passion for you. I expect, even if it does not, you will still put out a great blog.

8/17/09 3:57 PM  
Blogger Shrike said...

I see. I need to purchase a MacBook Air (this is a good idea, regardless) and start going to Starbucks (this is not a good idea, because if I respect my palate it will not betray me in turn) in order for random people I encounter in the course of the day to correctly guess my profession. ;)

Best of luck in the coming month, and please keep your readers regularly apprised of your adventures.


8/17/09 4:37 PM  
Blogger FkCoolers said...

It's really hard to lead a balanced life when you play poker as a means of living. And by "hard" I mean "not possible". It's brutal. Like I've said before, in order to play the softest live games you need to give up your social life consisting of your non-poker playing friends. You might take a day off here and there, but during those break even months you won't be able to.

Also, I'm confused why these 3 1/2 weeks in Vegas will act as your tie-breaker when 12 months of full-time playing wasn't enough for you to reach a decision one way or the other.

Would you move to Vegas? If yes, I guess I can see using this as somewhat of a yardstick. If not, it doesn't make much sense at all.

Unless you go on a heater you're going to decide not to play full-time. Or you'll talk yourself into it anyway which means the Vegas trip didn't need to be a factor to begin with. After all, probably more tourists and recreational players in Vegas than you'll run into at the underground clubs if you're sticking around DC.

8/17/09 4:43 PM  
Blogger bastinptc said...

I wouldn't fret the inability to decide within the time period you initially gave yourself. In fact, that is the part of the decision that is arbitrary. The trip to LV is certain to bring you close to the enlightenment you seek.

8/17/09 4:51 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

GL during the next 3.5 weeks. I know which path I am rooting for you to turn to.

8/17/09 5:31 PM  
Blogger Philly said...

Seems like you've really learned a lot about poker in the past year and also about yourself. This may have started out as material for a book, and ended up as a new life. Wouldn't that be okay?

8/17/09 6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Followed you for most of the year, hoping all turns out well in Vegas.

But have to question the 3 1/2 weeks also. Seems your mind is really already made up. A month more of up, down, or sideways is unlikely to tell you anything you don't already know. (save the fresh fish in Vegas, as opposed to the regulars in DC)

Here's a thought; Professional Poker Player/Part-time author.

8/17/09 7:56 PM  
Blogger Forrest Gump said...

From a mathematical viewpoint (first time I've ever said that!), making a decision based on a short period in Vegas versus the result for the year seems a little odd...?

I think for some, and hopefully myself - becoming a professional occurs by default when the incoming poker winnings comfortably surpasses the salaried income. My hope is that I'll keep moving up in stakes until my salary becomes less significant.


8/18/09 12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart says no to you becoming a professional player as I would miss you terribly but we both know what your heart wants. I say go for it!!!

8/18/09 12:49 PM  
Anonymous joxum said...

For what it's worth, I tend to agree with some of the other commenters, that three and a half week is probably not the way to make a proper decision.

If you stop and listen to yourself (maybe re-read some of your latest posts), I'm sure you know by now, that you've passed the point of no return.


8/18/09 2:24 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Happy Birthday! I hope it's a good one.

8/18/09 6:45 PM  
Blogger diverjoules said...

Happy Birthday CardGirl. As for the 3 weeks tie breaker I have to say I agree with the others. Seems a bit odd.

I have a friend who plays for a living and went on such a cooler/bad beat run, that even he could not believe it. He lost tens of thousands of dollars over a 6 month period. And NOTHING he did could change it. It was his first time having such losses and hopefully his last. But it happens. So regardless of whether you are up or down monetarily in the coming 3.5 weeks, I would step back and ask yourself were/are you happy? You know the old adage, do what you love and the money will follow. Happiness can be highly underrated. If you are meeting your financial responsibilities while trying to better game then so be it. You are succeeding. I think all who have followed you over this year realize that you are HAPPY when you are playing. Of course none of us are happy to lose. But most all of us are still happy to have another day, another game, another time to give it another whirl.

Again. HAPPY Birthday.. HAPPY being the key word there. GL.

8/19/09 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Happy birthday, and I agree with the others, don't base your decision on 3.5 weeks of play. You will be playing for a long long time.

Best luck!


8/19/09 8:54 PM  
Blogger TheDeuce said...

Hope things work out for you, have a great trip in LV. I agree, it sounds as though you have your mind/heart already made up.

Btw, Happy belated Birthday!


8/19/09 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Old Timer said...

If you were absolutely prohibited from telling anyone (including family, friends, acquaintances, Internet personas, and even total strangers) that you were a professional poker player, would you still want to become one? And would you then indeed devote ~90% of your waking attention to actually being a professional poker player?

If you can't immediately and honestly answer yes to both questions, I would urge you to do something else for a living.

And belated happy birthday wishes from another Leo!

8/20/09 6:02 AM  
Anonymous Mr P said...

Good luck with it. I find that procrastination is my worst enemy. It is a real problem with me.

8/20/09 7:43 AM  
Anonymous astrobel said...

Hello !

I am semipro from London. I will be in Vegas for 3 and a half weeks in October. Same time frame !
At the moment I'm quietly increasing my bankroll and who knows, maybe one day I'll feel comfy about giving up my day job.

Last time I went to Vegas , in May , it was hard to keep up the concentration levels the whole time. Do you intend to grind it 24/7 following a tight schedule or you are meaning to have a proper holiday as well ???

Best of luck !!!

8/20/09 11:34 AM  
Blogger Abe said...


Thanks Cardgrrl! You sent me to the dictionary. "A word worth travelling to New Orleans to get."

gl at the tables.

8/21/09 11:41 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home