Tuesday, October 19, 2004

To Pro or not to Pro .. that is the question

You MUST go over to Riding the F Train and read his article on turning Pro. It is dedicated to Iggy the latest lucky dog to jump off the employment bandwagon and do something he loves. I have posted a few times about my desire to go Pro. I definitely have the dream. Here is how I think I measure up in his assessment of a professional player:

Skill: You must consistently be able to beat the 2/4 game. At this point in my career I have just started playing the 2/4 game so the jury is still out. I have won at 2/4 and I have lost. I think my skill level needs some (alot?) improvement before I feel like I am really beating the 2/4 games. Once I have 10-20K hands under my belt at this level I should have a better feel for where I am.

Bankroll: I think you need more bankroll than asphnxma mentions. He probably just assumes you are going to take into account your daily bills. Since I have a family and everything affects four people now, my minimum bankroll requirements are very high. I want a year’s salary to live off of before I even start. I then want a large bankroll to ride out the variance. Possibly another years salary or at the very least a half year. I figure this more than cushions me from any financial repercussions from failing at this endeavor. It gives me a solid year to really assess the merits of the lifestyle and decide if I can continue. Having said this it might take me many years to save this up. Playing 2/4 part time I suppose I could make 24K a year towards this which puts my goal a good 5-10 years off. Heh. I am willing to wait though. I assume if I continue to progress and can beat 5/10+ online then the goal will come quicker.

Discipline: The jury is still out on this one. I am MUCH more disciplined than I used to be. I do not go up higher levels and try to bankrupt myself. I do find myself wanting to end on a winning note. I also am sure I put extra BBs in the pot and all those amateur things. I hope once I have more time playing and have improved my game I will get more and more discipline. I think I can be disciplined. It does take some effort on my part.

Understanding: I do not think you can truly understand until you have tried it. However I do have some advantages in this area. Is the game going to become just another job? I think it would have to eventually. The choice for me is between “just another job” in IT where I am at the mercy of a company’s decision, and one where I am the boss. I generate all the income for the company. If the company does bad it is my fault, if it does good I get a bonus. I like this idea. It is really much more appealing than being replaced by someone from Bangladesh.

The benefits issue is moot. I do not get benefits as an IT contractor. I understand the financial impact. It can be quantified at somewhere between $700 and $1000 a month for a family of four.

Not contributing anything of social worth to the world. This one is a no-brainer also. Cmon! I do freaking business applications that read data and make pretty things for CEOs, or help someone sell something purely for profit. I do not feel I am making any social impact as is. Hell, maybe I will have more time to do something worthwhile for the world.

The days when you lose how will you feel? I think I touched on this under discipline, but again, the jury is out and I have a lot of growing to do before I can tackle this one. I also think it takes on an added dimension when you don’t eat if you don’t win. Having a large bankroll and backup money should alleviate this somewhat. Growing up in my Poker game will also.

Reducing day-to-day contact with HUUUMAAANS! YES! It is my dream come true! I am the Borg! I will assimilate you! Heh. Ok. I am not that bad. However a computer nerd connects with humans on a totally different level. It is a very solitary life for the most part and I am willing to continue that way. If I want some human contact I will take some classes, meet some people, play at Foxwoods or AC. Meet some Bloggers even. I think it will work out. I do think I am uniquely qualified for this part as a computer nerd. I am also hoping that I can make my hours different. For instance play 9-3 while the kids are in school, play with the kids and socialize with the wife from 3-8, and then hit the tables again 9-12. That would give me a nine hour day if need be. I would spend a lot more time with the kids during the weekdays and probably be more social than I am now.

I liked the way asphnxma laid out the criteria and presented the content. It was fun taking the test. Although I am not ready yet in most categories I think I have some potential. Everyone has to have dreams and who knows maybe I can get laid off like him! Heh. Just kidding dude. Best luck to him and Iggy and anyone else who has taken a serious look at being a Pro and decided to take the leap.


Blogger F-Train said...

Wow, thanks for your kind words on my post. I had one further thought about bankrolls while reading your own very eloquent post:

By $10,000 bankroll, I meant you should have a *poker* bankroll of $10,000. Obviously, if you're going to try this out, you need to have more money saved up in a *non-poker* bankroll beyond that. I think your suggestion of a year's salary is excellent, and that was sort of what I was driving at when I said "you'd better be able to lose every penny of that $10,000" -- the implication being that you'd have money saved up beyond the $10,000 so losing the $10,000 would be "no big deal".

I feel that a poker bankroll of $10,000 would give you 333 BBs at the 15/30 level, which should be enough to ride out the variance as long as you have adequate skill, and a non-poker bankroll of one year's salary would give you cushion in case turning pro was a mistake.

1:52 PM


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