View Full Version : Looking for some semblance of sanity...(or why I'm going to play poker for a living)

06-19-2005, 05:13 AM
Last weekend, I typed for an hour and a half to explain why I was going to give playing poker for a living, a go. Funny, yet not-so-funny, my computer ran a cleanup scan and cleared my cookies during that time and when I tried to post it, and it said I had to log back in, I lost it all :rant2: :censored:

So I thought I'd give it another go, but Iíve had a TON of things on my mind these last few weeks. I think Iím going to try here, but if I ramble, bear with me. I have not had a good nightís sleep in 3 weeks. I am seriously stressed out. I think I know why, but Iím going to try and write this and see if this doesnít help. My ďtherapyĒ if you will.

Iíve been playing cards for most of my life. I started playing gin with my mom back when I was 5 and have played off and on since then. I have gotten serious into it the last 3 or 4 years, though.

I spent from the age of 18 to 26 in the Marine Corps, working Avionics on F/A-18ís. During that time, weíd have poker games in the barracks, or when we were at sea, and, when we went on deployment to a town that had a casino nearby, I would go play. My first trip to a casino, at least being of legal age (18 on the Indian Reservations), was when I was 19. Paradise Casino in Yuma, Arizona. Got my clock cleaned, but I loved it. Then next time I went, it was 2 years later and I had read books and practiced. I spent 56 hours in the poker room w/i a 2-week period. My biggest night, I took down @$750 profit, playing 4/8 holdíem. It was a good night ;)

Since then, I played mostly in home games, esp. when I got out of the Marine Corps. Now, mind you, it was never anything more than a hobby, or a way to have fun. The times I was able to play, just playing held as much an importance to me as winning money did. I just loved the game. In all its forms: From Holdíem (HE), Omaha Hi, Omaha 8/Better, Stud, everything. Let me give a little backstory here if I may:

My biological father was a textbook model of everything wrong with a man. He was a con man, involved with the mob, beat my mother, ran rackets, was in prison numerous times, and was a big time gambler. My mother (God Bless her soul) stole me away from him back when I was around 7 or 8 and we were on the run from him from then out until someone did me a favor and killed him when I was @16.

To make a long story short, my mom met up with a man when I was 8, who, from then on, would think of as my true father. They married and we were a family. Mike (my step-dad, but I have NEVER thought of him as such) had a son who was 2 years older than me. We moved to Oregon and, while we never were well off, he did what he had to, to make sure we were provided for. I grew up around serious drug use, alcoholism, smoking, the whole bit. But I think I am better off because of it. While most of my family is totally dysfunctional, I think Iíve done well for myself. I have never touched a drug in my life, never smoked, and rarely drink. But I do like to gamble (though using that term for poker is skewed, but most people will see it as such, so I digress). More specifically, I like to play cards. And Iím damn good at it too. But, due to my biologically father having been a serious gambler, it has always had a stigma attached to it, when it comes to me. My only ďviceĒ if you will. Keep in mind, that I do not have a compulsive personality. And Mrs. SC knows this. I do it to have fun and make money. Yet, I do not HAVE to play. I NEVER risk more than I can safely afford to lose. Yet, that stigma has been burned into me. Gambling/Poker is BAD!
Getting back from my tangent, when I was getting ready to get out of the Marine Corps and go on terminal leave, it was Sept. 2001. I had worked in aviation electronics the entire 9-year tour and REALLY wanted to do the same when I got out. I figured I could get a well paying job w/o a problem. Then, 3 days into my terminal leave, 9/11 happened. I spent the next year waiting tables at 2 jobs to provide for my girlfriend and myself (eventually Mrs. SC). Mind you, she had a job as well, but she was also going to school. So I did what I had to, to make ends meet until the aviation sector picked back up.

After a year or so doing that, I finally was able to land a job doing what I did in the Marines, but on civilian aircraft. I thought I really loved it. I really knew that I was not willing to admit to myself that I did not want to make a career out of it. But, I only had a little college and did not want to have spent 9 years in a career and waste that. I would not accept that. So, I persevered. After 2 years there, I was tired of being under appreciated and well under paid. I heard about the V-22 project and was intrigued. A 200% raise helped too ;) So that is how I came to work where I do now. TRF, you know where J

Anyway, the pay is good. The benefits are solid. But you know what? I loathe working on aircraft. I think what finally made me realize this was, that, 2 weeks ago, I turned 30. Not old by any stretch, but it did afford me the opportunity to reflect on where I am in my life and where I want to go. I realized that I do NOT want to continue in the aviation field. I also realized that for any other career that even remotely interests me, I would need to go back and finish school. That, in turn, would require me to continue in a field that I truly have lost the love for. And, to be honest, I am not willing to do that.

Tangent: Funny, we got to talking at work, the other night, about how many people do you think are truly happy in their line of work? I mean, who out there would, if the pay was commiserating with what they are making now, change jobs, if they could? I would venture that a huge percentage would. And that, folks, is sad. Truly sad. Sure, sometimes, people get trapped. I can understand that. But I really think that, more often than that, people get complacent and they are terrified to take a risk and venture out into the unknown. They have a safe career, with safe money, and a safe life. In which they are unhappy I do not want that to be me. I donít want to be unhappy, nay, miserable, in my line of work. Your career is too large a chunk of your life to be unhappy in it, no? Yet many people are ok with that. I have come to that point in my life where I am no longer ok with it. Itís time for a change. I NEED to be happy. /end tangent.

Now, it has nothing to do with the company I work for now. In fact, I have a pretty easy job, esp. for the money Iím getting paid to do it. Itís the line of work itself. So that got me thinkingÖI have always loved math. I took 6 years of it in my 4 years of high school. Also, I have always had a natural ability to excel in every game/sport I have ever tried to play (save for golf :rant: ;) ). This is especially true in billiards, chess, and poker. Those 3, in particular, all are based on math and higher thinking. I went to the state championship in chess, when I was in high school, although I had only started playing it about 3 months prior. Back when I was 19-21, I was good enough, both by others opinions, and the amount of money it was providing to me, to try my hand at being a pool pro. I was playing 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. And it paid very well as a ďside jobĒ. But, I had other priorities and I donít think Uncle Sam would have been all that keen on the idea, so that went by the wayside.

I have always made money playing cards. Early on, I just figured I was lucky, but after reading more, studying and from comparing my play to others, I have come to realize that, well, Iím pretty aíight at the game ;) Esp. Holdíem and Omaha.

So, that, coupled with being miserable in my career, I breeched the idea of trying to make it playing cards for a living to Mrs. SC. To my utter amazement, she thinks I can. And we have come to the agreement to give it a 3-month trial next spring. If after that 3-month experiment, we feel itís a viable income, I will officially quit my job (Iím planning on taking a leave-of-absence from my current job) and play full time. Iíve run the numbers and everything says I should be able to. Thanks to the advent of online poker, there is a LARGE amount of money to be had with very little risk. If you want to know more about that, let me know. ;)

If I do not succeed, I still have my 12 years of aviation experience to fall back on. And even if I canít take a LOA from work, I will have no trouble finding a good paying job in my industry, either direct or as a contractor. So I have my safety net.

Is the idea crazy? Damn right it is. And Iíd be lying if I said I wasnít scared. I am. Very much so. But I also know that I am more scared of not trying it. I donít want to be 70 and have the regret of not trying to live one of my dreams. Iíd much rather try it and fail than to have that regret.

Now, keep in mind, that Iím not doing this willy-nilly. Mrs. SC has a decent job in which she has full benefits, so that is taken care of. We have no children, yet. No mortgage. One car paid off. The other will be next summer. If I donít do it now, I might never get the chance. Yet, Iím still scared. Not scared of failing. Thatís why itís not til next spring. So that we can save up enough to cover in case I do fail. So Iím not ďplaying scaredĒ. Also, I do not plan on doing this, long-term. Itís a means to an end. See, Mrs. SC has a dream of owning and running a wholesale coffee roasting business. She and I helped get one off the ground back when we lived in South Carolina, so we have experience in it. She has been doing that for most of her life. So the 3 year plan, once I get started playing, is to save enough to get her business off of the ground and to quit playing and help run it. Could we do that and have the security of my current job? Sure, but Iím not willing to be that unhappy for that long. So, here we are.

I think the main reason Iím scared is because of the stigma of it and my biological fatherís compulsion. While my mother is gone, my dad, I do not think, will look favorably on this, AT ALL. He has always been the ďvoice in my headĒ saying that itís wrong and that I have it in my genesÖthe compulsion to gamble. I truly disagree with him. I donít have any interest at all in any other gambling games. I just love poker. Always have. But, coupled with my dad, I have Mrs. SCís parents in my head telling me how crazy I am and that they cannot believe their daughter married into this. Mind you, no one outside of Mrs. SC, myself, and all of you know about this. But that doesnít stop them from being in my head.

Because of that, the misery that is my job, and not being able to sleep, Iíve been pretty damn miserable the last couple of weeks. I really donít know how to kick this funk Iím in. I guess the reason I wrote all of this and let you all in is because, well, Iím fairly anonymous to most of you, and I guess I need outside input. I understand this is not ďthe normĒ nor what is ďsocially acceptableĒ. But itís something I enjoy. I truly like it. And I really think I can make enough money, consistently, to succeed. Iím not looking to get rich and play in the huge stakes in Vegas. I just want to grind it out and save enough to be my own boss. It just so happens that, along the way, I enjoy my job in the mean time.

At the same time, I have read the odds and I have heard the horror stories. I do not feel that Iím above all of that. But there are 3 rules that I do know about myself: 1) The golden rule of poker ďNever ever play outside of your bankrollĒ i.e. Donít play in stakes in which you cannot afford. 2) I will not gamble. Please keep in mind that poker is not a game of luck. It is a game of skill. And in the end, in the long run, those with greater skill, win. As a full time player, a pro, if you will, I will have the advantage of ďthe long runĒ being on my side. And I have the bankroll to sustain the inevitable losses that I will take in the short term. 3) I will not get into the drug scene, in which so many in that lifestyle fall into.

Well, if youíve read this whole bit, thank you, and Iím sorry to have rambled on like this, but like I said, I needed the therapy of writing it all out. I really would appreciate any and all feedback from you, my anonymous friends. If you think Iím crazy, hey, thatís ok to say. I welcome both sides to this. I just am looking for outside feedback.

May 1st, 2006Ö.The beginning.

06-19-2005, 07:27 AM
Wow! I really don't have any feedback. I just rolled out of bed, with my first cup of coffee. It's good that Mrs. SC is willing to take the risk with you .... that it's something you're planning out together. It sure sounds like you know and have lived the pitfalls. I can understand your trepidation.

(RZ was pretty therapeutic for me a couple summers ago when my sister-in-law was dying. I had to keep a strong front for my nephew and I had no one to talk to. Typing it out here helped me keep my act together.)

06-19-2005, 07:30 AM
It was for me too, a couple of years ago, when I lost my mom.

I know you probably think it's crazy, but again, it's not so much luck as it is a skill game. We'll find out together come next spring. I plan on keeping a journal, if for no other reason, than for my kids to read when they grow older, when I have them, that is ;)

Might have to keep it going on here, if there would be any interest at all.

06-19-2005, 07:32 AM
Might have to keep it going on here, if there would be any interest at all.i would love it if you did. btw, i don't think you're crazy.

06-19-2005, 07:35 AM

When I first read that you were considering doing this, I was worried about you. I think that if all one heard was that you were considering poker as a career, it would be very natural to be worried, and it sounds like you know that and expect it.

But after reading this post, I think I've changed my mind. It doesn't sound to me like you're rationalizing to support a "habit". It sounds very well thought out, and the best part is the "safety net" you have with your ability to get back into your aircraft mechanic career if it didn't work out with poker.

You can't fault your loved ones for being concerned about you. But they aren't the ones living in your skin. One of the worst things in life is looking back on missed opportunities.

Life is for living. Most people would never have the cajones to even consider what you're talking about doing. The fact that you're not just diving in with no thought behind it is the strongest reason that I think you have to go for it. You've got too much passion to put it aside and not try. I'm all about adventures. It keeps you young at heart and alive.

I've never worried at all about accumulating material wealth. That's probably why I don't have any. :)

But I've had a lifetime of adventure chasing a career I love. You have to follow a path with heart. It sounds to me like your heart has told you what you need to know.

06-19-2005, 08:28 AM
But I've had a lifetime of adventure chasing a career I love. You have to follow a path with heart.

I, on the other hand, have been one of the folks that SC speaks of. Staying in a career and worrying about job security. I like my career, but it chose me, not the other way around. I have my mother's work ethic, but she had to. She was single with two kids to raise. I have no kids, but I still have that mentality. I'm not a risk taker at all. (and that frustrates me).

06-19-2005, 08:29 AM
Might have to keep it going on here, if there would be any interest at all.

Definitely want updates. :)

06-19-2005, 09:26 AM
A couple of questions/comments:

Why are you waiting almost a year to get started?

What will you do if you start off with a losing streak? Or start losing a couple of weeks into it?

If you start to show signs of obsession, will you stop? Your wife can be your watchdog for that. Personally, I think we're all prone to obsession with the right triggers, so even if you don't feel it now, it could show up. (I'm not saying you will, just saying it's something to watch for.)

From what I gather, this is just a means to an end. You're not talking about becoming a professional poker player for life. The ultimate goal is to run a wholesale coffee roasting business, right?

Can you accomplish that goal more quickly in another way?

Not saying you're on the wrong path, just raising issues. And I don't think you're crazy at all.

06-19-2005, 10:27 AM
Frankly, SC... you sound very far from crazy.

I'd say go for it. If it doesn't work, you always have experience in the labor market to fall back on. You don't have kids and you wife earns a living. It's not much different as if you were laid off.

Just one recommendation: LAY DOWN your PLAN and follow it. Write it down if you have to. Consider EVERY possible angle and contingency BEFORE it comes up. Then EXECUTE the PLAN. Exactly...to the letter.
There has to be a point where you cut your losses and if you get there, that's it...experiment over.

I quit my job at 30 to start a business. Also a leap of faith. It actually turned out to be a so-so business financially, but it put me on a path and in an area I wanted to be in. Now I'm doing what I like doing and making good money at it... (and sounding like an infomercial).

You want it...your wife supports you. Forget her folks and the demons in your head (visit a shrink if you want)...

Good Luck (although luck has NOTHING to do with this).

06-19-2005, 10:40 AM
You probably already know this, but bonus ***** SC. I never play unless there's a bonus attached, although I'm probably not as good as you. With your background in chess I think you'll be fine.

You probably already know about these, but just in case you don't:



This guy has a pretty solid guide to bonuses, and also to casino bonuses:


Online casinos are actually +EV if you're playing with a bonus, and you stick to playing by the book blackjack. I built quite a bit of my bankroll with blackjack, because it's even less risky than poker bonuses.

I play extremely ABC poker, unless I'm playing in a tournament, and I do okay. It sounds to me like you'll do great, you're approaching it the right way imo.

There are threads on 2+2 (the second link above) about playing for a living that are very interesting, with some great advice. Do some digging and you'll find them.

I do kind of agree with SandyD. Why are you waiting almost a year? If you've decided to give it a go, then I'd say start today.

Good luck, I hope you keep this thread alive.

Mrs SC Reds Fan
06-19-2005, 11:37 AM
hi all, Mrs SC here.

when he came to bed last night, he told me about this post. and i am really pleased by the support you all are giving him. because sometimes you need to hear it from someone whos not SO close to you. i'm biased, but at the same time, i'm very much a part of this. my life is very involved in this. and sure, it's going to be hard on us both but it will be fun too. we have put a budget in place and have looked at what his goals should be in order to make it work, and in order for it to make our income work. and that's why we are waiting a year. we are going to save up enough money for him to go and play with and be ABLE to play for a while, and we are saving to have extra money for incidentals while he is gone. in case he loses a great deal in 2 weeks, i don't have to worry about rent being paid, etc.

and someone touched on that as well, "what if he has a losing streak that lasts a few weeks?" first off, SC has discipline to know when the cards aren't coming to get up from the table. he says it's something he feels, and knows what it means and acts on it. he is not the type to spend an unecessary hour at a table in hopes of it working. he will take his ball and play elsewhere. he is also disciplined and experienced enough to not give other people his money. those are to 2 things i tell him when he leaves for poker on some weekend nights, i say "triple up and come home, and don't give other people your money". so he knows that when he has made a substantial amount and he can leave a table, he does. and when he sits back down, it's not with the whole amount that he won. it's with a third of it, usually. he is so smart anyway, but to hear him talk about this or when we watch the WSOP or a movie with poker in it, i am just amazed at not only the knowledge he has about the game, but the smarts he has about it as well.

when he approached me about this a few weeks ago, he was VERY nervous. nervous about whether i would be "on board" (as he likes to say) or if i thought he could really DO it, or i was supportive of him, or if i thought he was totally crazy.

and i thought to myself, if we can make it work, then who am I to tell him he can't go live his dream? so i stand behind him 100% in this. and if it doesn't work, then it doesn't work and what have we lost?
money? so. we'll make more.
time? but look at what he DID during that time.

the bottom line is my husband has but some time and energy and sweat (the blood and tears come when he's AT the tables ;) ) and he has been way stressed about this. partially because he is fighting his own inner demons, partly because he's still rubik's cubing it and trying to put all the pieces in place, and partly because even though "mom" said you can go to "disneyland", its STILL a year away. a year he has to go to his job everyday and spend those 8 hours thinking about where he could be. and thats the part i'm most worried about. i wish he could go sooner. you KNOW he wants to go sooner, but right now, it's not feasible.

so, i am here for him each day when he leaves for work and spends a little extra time putting his shoes on because he really doesnt want to go. i am here for him when he comes home at night and wants to run far far away. and i will. and i am so glad he has friends like you that he can talk to about this. it really means a lot to both of us.

Mrs SC.

06-19-2005, 11:37 AM
Isn't it harder to play online, because you can't read the player's habits/expressions?

06-19-2005, 12:06 PM
Good to see you, Mrs. SC. And seriously, good luck with this.

It's natural for your family members to be a little concerned about this, and I don't really have advice for how to deal with them. Other than don't let them get to you. Together, you two make the decision, and stick to it.

Seriously, good luck to you both.

06-19-2005, 01:31 PM
Good luck, to both of you..I really hope you do well and we can say "we used to post with that guy!" :)

06-19-2005, 02:12 PM
SC and Mrs. SC, I just want to chime in and wish you both good luck. :) Add me to the list of people who doesn't think this is crazy. If you can make a living doing something you love, go for it. In my opinion, the only regret you could have is NOT trying it.

Also, we missed you guys at the gathering this year!

06-19-2005, 03:19 PM
Thanks for all the kind words, friends. Let me take these one at a time...:

RFS, thank you. Like I said, better to have tried and failed than not tried at all.

TC, thank you for proving my point. Please, do not take that the wrong way. It's just that being stuck in a job I hate scares me a whole helluva lot more than failing in one that I love. And, yes, I will post my journal up on here.

Sandy, thanks for the concern. Why am I waiting a year? Well, to summarize what Mrs. SC said, I need to build up my bankroll and savings enough to withstand the inevitable downswings that I will sustain. They say you want 200BB (big bets...the larger number in the limit you play), but I will not feel safe with anything less than 500BB. Plus, I want a couple of months living expenses saved up ON TOP OF MY BANKROLL, so that I can play my game and not play with scared money. Scared money is lost money. You asked if I showed signs of obsession, will I stop? I guess it would depend on the deifinition of obsession. Keep in mind that this is going to be my "career". Therefore, to ever REALLY be good at anything, you must immerse yourself in it. I'm going to be playing a lot, esp. early on. But if you are asking if poker will lead to blackjack, will lead to sports betting, etc etc. No, it won't Those things do not appeal to me. Also, Mrs. SC agrees that I do not have an obsessive personality. But, at the same time, if I start seeing signs of it controlling me, or is Mrs. SC does, then yes, I will take a break and see if that "cools things off" and go from there. Lastly, is there another way to get to the end result quicker? Well, to be perfectly honest, I think that I can make a whole lot more playing cards than I could in my current position. Plus, I'd much rather make a little less doing something I love than make more and be miserable. Funny, the point in which I started to seriously consider this idea was the day I asked myself, if I was paid DOUBLE what I currently make, would that make me any happier? When I answered no, I knew it was time to move on.

Oneupper- What you did is the same thing I'm doing. Starting your own business is what I'm going to do. I'm going to be an independant businessman. I have to be. So I can completely relate. Thank you for the advice on how to proceed. I very much plan on it ;)

RF- Oh, don't you worry. I know quite well about bonus whoring and rakeback. In fact, I'm counting on that money to be the anchor to my plan. While I MUCH prefer playing live in a B&M, and my winrate is higher, I do realize that playing online is going to be my bread and butter. Funny, I crossposted this on 2+2 ;) What do you think I was referring to as far as lots of money available with little risk? Bonus whoring, or as Mrs. SC refers to it "bonus fishing" :) If I had the bankroll and savings already, I'd have started back on June 8th....

Mrs SC - See...I got me a good one :) And not just because she's on my side on this...but because she backs me...no matter what. And I love you for it. Thank you :x

TC- Is it harder to read online? In a sense, yes. You don't have body language, can't see your opponents eyes, breathing, etc. But there are some things that you can pick up on...such as betting patterns and such. Also there is a program, called Poker Tracker, that is an absolute must for serious online players. It records every hand you play and also, it records your opponents play. Great for improving your own game and for knowing more about the players you are up against. If anyone plays online and does not have this, you're just losing money. Go get it!

Krono and Rosie...thanks guys. Trust us, we missed being there too. I appreciate the kind words and while you may never see me on TV, if I can make it as a "pro" I'll be happy as can be, because that means that it has opened the doors I wanted it to ;)

06-19-2005, 03:42 PM
PokerTracker is great.

You're going to do fine SC.

06-19-2005, 04:12 PM
TC, thank you for proving my point. Please, do not take that the wrong way. It's just that being stuck in a job I hate scares me a whole helluva lot more than failing in one that I love.

Not at all. That's why I said it.

I often think about what I want to be when I grow up. My fear is that I'll be dead before I ever figure it out.

wally post
06-19-2005, 05:17 PM
Wonderful - GO FOR IT!

06-19-2005, 08:09 PM
Eddie, you have one hell of a woman there. Good luck with this. :thumbup:

06-19-2005, 10:18 PM
Eddie, you have one hell of a woman there. Good luck with this. :thumbup:

Yeah, no way this is even an option without her support.

You married well, Eddie.

06-19-2005, 10:40 PM
Good luck SC!

06-20-2005, 01:18 AM
Well. I don't mean to be the wet blanket here, but let me ask some questions:

Is your current job "hell" because of the boss, because you're bored, or why?
If it's the boss, would you be happier at a different place? If it's the type of work, would it be possible to get a transfer to work doing slightly different work? Explore exactly why you hate your job now.

It's perfectly natural to start to hate your job at this age, perfectly natural to look at your career choices and hate them, natural to want a change. I went through the same thing, I even went halfway into a second master's degree for a new job which would've paid considerably less. I ended up not finishing, because I have kids, and it was taking a toll on the family.. In short, I figured it was better off doing something dull and having more family time than spending all that time doing homework. IMO, you shouldn't be searching for satisfaction out of a job. Again, that's totally my opinion. Some people do get a lot of satisfaction out of work, but (again IMO) most of us show up for work to get paid. Think about the stress levels. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be after losing a big hand (you know, those times you have a flush and the other dude has a full house :lol: ).. Anyhow, you lose a hand like that when it's your job, and it might take several hours to recover. That's several more hours working.

You realize that even if you can make a living off cards, it's going to get very boring fast.. Any hobby gets boring/no fun after it becomes a job. I play Poker occasionally as well (just nickels, small stakes).. but man, if I couldn't go home when I felt like it, and had to play all day, it would get pretty boring..

Well, at least the good news is that you have a year to do some soul searching and make sure you REALLY want to do this. AGain, think about why you hate your current job, and see if anything there can be tweaked.