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
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.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.
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!
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 ). 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.