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benping16
10-03-2004, 06:30 PM
I assume this is the same nate that posts here...heres the story (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-0410030372oct03,1,7281080.story)

RAISING THE STAKES
Players place bets on poker as career
Interest in online gaming explodes

By Rob Kaiser
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 3, 2004

Nate Silver quit his $55,000-a-year financial consulting job in April to play poker.

So far it's been a wise career move: The 26-year-old Silver expects to make more than $100,000 this year playing the card game, mainly on the Internet.

Silver belongs to a new generation of poker players who feast on the growing number of novices taking up poker after watching televised contests.

While few players go to the extreme of quitting their jobs, many spend their evenings stalking sites like PartyPoker.com and PokerStars.com, pocketing an extra $20,000 or $30,000 annually on top of their regular salaries.

And as more novices keep appearing, opportunity grows for experienced players.

"You'll see people make terrible plays routinely," said Silver, who lives in Wrigleyville. "For the most part these people call too much and play too aggressively."

Online poker has exploded along with the recent surge of interest in the game.

In January 2003, $11.1 million was wagered on the major poker sites. That number rocketed to $136.1 million last month, according to PokerPulse.com, which tracks activity on 21 of the largest poker sites.

Total gambling at poker sites will easily clear $1 billion this year, based on PokerPulse's figures, which likely undercount total betting since they do not include popular online poker tournaments that charge entry fees.

People trying to bank quick online profits are reminiscent of another recent Internet phenomenon--day traders.

Rather than making rapid-fire stock trades online, these gamblers seek profits by leveraging small advantages with their poker experience, discipline and statistical savvy. While their gains and losses vary widely day to day, experienced players say the odds are heavily in their favor in the long run.

Still, the easy money could quickly disappear if the current poker fad fades.

Mike Kim, who lives in Lincoln Park, said he plays online poker every day, sometimes for a couple of hours and sometimes for 12 hours straight. He said his average winnings are $15,000 a month.

"I had no idea it would become my full-time job," said Kim, who started playing online nearly a year ago while studying mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois. "I didn't find a job when I graduated so I just kept playing for money."

The 23-year-old Kim is no longer looking for a job, although his family is concerned he will lose money.

"At first they didn't like it because they thought I was gambling," Kim said. "When I told them how much money I made, they kind of understood I couldn't go back to a regular job."

Neal Salmen, a 28-year-old Chicago real estate investor who said he has made about $25,000 this year playing online poker, noted the anonymity of Internet games often makes new players more aggressive. In casinos, Salmen said, "You don't want to look too stupid so people play more conservatively."

Internet poker offers experienced players some advantages, particularly the ability to play at multiple tables at the same time. Online games generally go faster than casino games, and by playing three or four tables simultaneously, players can easily participate in more than 200 hands an hour.

The main disadvantage of Internet play for poker pros is the inability to "read" competitors--noticing small ticks and other mannerisms that can reveal if somebody is holding a strong hand or bluffing.

Even at in-person games, pros often have more trouble reading the novices.

"It's hard to read someone if they don't know if they have a good hand," said Jim Karamanis, a Chicago attorney who plays online and in-person poker recreationally.

Nobody tracks how many people play poker for a living, but the number appears to be growing.

"Certainly at this point there are thousands," said Greg Raymer, who left his job as a patent attorney at Pfizer Inc. after winning $5 million this year at poker's biggest event, the World Series of Poker.

The lure of Internet poker has intensified since Raymer and the 2003 World Series winner gained entry into the casino events, which were broadcast on ESPN, by winning online tournaments.

To prosper at Internet poker, players must be technically strong and quickly assess the thousands of scenarios that arise--betting aggressively on strong hands and folding when they're in a weak position.

Signing on to EmpirePoker.com late Tuesday afternoon, Silver put $1,000 into his account and folded most hands before the first round of betting, losing his $15 ante. On the first hand he played, Silver lost $170.

"If I lose $170 on a hand, it's nothing," Silver said. "You can't let it get to you."

Silver usually plays on weekday evenings and sometimes stays up until sunrise so he can play against aggressive Scandinavian players.

"My sleep schedule has been terrible recently," said Silver, who also does work for Baseball Prospectus, which does statistical analysis of baseball games.

Silver said he's done much better financially with online poker than he expected, though he and other players acknowledge their profitable poker days may not be long-lived.

"I'm just trying to ride it out," said Kim. "If poker starts dying down, I'm going to have to get a real job."


Copyright 2004, Chicago Tribune

James282
10-03-2004, 09:36 PM
Wow - this is probably the most factually correct and well written article on the poker boom that I have read.
-James

Nate tha' Great
10-03-2004, 10:23 PM
Yeah, this is me. There's also a picture of me on the front page of the Sunday Business section. It's all pretty embarassing.

The guy wrote a good article. I'm glad that it was written as a legimitate business story and there wasn't some angle about "the hidden perils of online gambling" or something typical like that. He was also non-specific about certain things that I asked him to be non-specific about, which I appreciated.

I blatantly misplayed the hand that he refers to where I lost $170 (he came over and watched me play the other afternoon). I defended my blind with AJo and check-raised an uncoordinated, J-high flop. The turn was a K; I bet out and was raised. "I'm sure I'm beat here, I'm sure she has a K", I told the reporter, then called down anyway, paying 60 bucks for the privilege of showing off my hand-reading abilities and seeing her AK.

It's probably a little bit misleading to say that I quit my job to play poker. I quit my job for a number of reasons, the most important of which were that I was sick of it and it wasn't something I wanted to make a career out of doing. I knew that I liked playing poker and I knew that I also liked working for Baseball Prospectus. I knew that doing both of those things was impossible on a serious basis while I was also working a 9-to-5, at least if I wanted to maintain some sort of a social life or get more than four hours of sleep a night (about what I was averaging in November - March of this year). I'm fortunate that one of my favorite diversions happens to be relatively lucrative at the time being.

-Nate

sfer
10-03-2004, 11:30 PM
Hey Nate, congratulations on the article, career change, success, and your hand reading. /images/graemlins/tongue.gif

nolanfan34
10-03-2004, 11:54 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I knew that I liked playing poker and I knew that I also liked working for Baseball Prospectus.

[/ QUOTE ]

So, now that your BP identity is public, does this mean I get to start making Wily Mo Pena jokes? /images/graemlins/blush.gif

Nate tha' Great
10-04-2004, 12:05 AM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I knew that I liked playing poker and I knew that I also liked working for Baseball Prospectus.

[/ QUOTE ]

So, now that your BP identity is public, does this mean I get to start making Wily Mo Pena jokes? /images/graemlins/blush.gif

[/ QUOTE ]

.259/.316/.527, baby!!!

nolanfan34
10-04-2004, 12:13 AM
[ QUOTE ]
.259/.316/.527, baby!!!

[/ QUOTE ]

Following his line this year was EASILY one of my favorite parts of the 2004 regular season. Talk about validating a "questionable" output from your system (OK, sample size of one season post-prediction, but still).

I guess that's a topic for another web site... /images/graemlins/grin.gif

Schneids
10-04-2004, 01:18 AM
Nate congratulations on being featured in a very well-written poker article.

You forgot to mention that you also played early into the morning to argue with some crazy guy about the Timberwolves.

balkii
10-04-2004, 01:19 AM
Silver usually plays on weekday evenings and sometimes stays up until sunrise so he can play against aggressive Scandinavian players.

LMFAO is this true? Are these guys that bad?

Schneids
10-04-2004, 01:23 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Silver usually plays on weekday evenings and sometimes stays up until sunrise so he can play against aggressive Scandinavian players.

LMFAO is this true? Are these guys that bad?

[/ QUOTE ]

Some of the best games I've ever played have been at around 6am. It is very true IMO.

bugstud
10-04-2004, 02:30 AM
well damn, it makes sense now...

go PECOTA go /images/graemlins/grin.gif

is it easy to get involved in this online baseball writing/analysis business?

Nate tha' Great
10-04-2004, 02:49 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Silver usually plays on weekday evenings and sometimes stays up until sunrise so he can play against aggressive Scandinavian players.

LMFAO is this true? Are these guys that bad?

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm amused that the writer mentioned the Scandinavian thing, but yeah, you usually see these guys start signing on at like 4 or 5 in the morning central time, and they generally play very aggressively. If I see somebody from Trondheim or Flekkefjord or something, I'm usually going to put a few extra value bets in.

Nate tha' Great
10-04-2004, 03:08 AM
[ QUOTE ]
well damn, it makes sense now...

go PECOTA go /images/graemlins/grin.gif

is it easy to get involved in this online baseball writing/analysis business?

[/ QUOTE ]

Hey we've got a best-selling book out there too. /images/graemlins/smirk.gif Not just online.

In some sense the analytical baseball writing (er... sabermetric) community is a meritocracy. I had a pilot of PECOTA done before I ever contacted the BP guys ... Keith Woolner was building awesome stats like VORP on his own website long before BP found him ... Will Carroll had built his own newsletter with quite a substantial subscription base before we recruited him, and so forth. There aren't a lot of barriers to entry and it's very easy to create your own blog, produce your own studies, and so forth.

The flip side is that there are an awful lot of voices out there, and sometimes the more eloquent and intelligent among them get lost amidst the din. I'm fairly certain that there is a lot of great work out there that isn't known or appreciated because its creators have not had much success at (or much concern with) promoting themselves.

I'm also fairly certain that there are a couple of dozen people on 2+2 who could do some really good work if they set their mind to it. A LOT of the BP guys are pretty good poker players, and there are a LOT of overlaps between the two fields.

balkii
10-04-2004, 03:21 AM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Silver usually plays on weekday evenings and sometimes stays up until sunrise so he can play against aggressive Scandinavian players.

LMFAO is this true? Are these guys that bad?

[/ QUOTE ]

Some of the best games I've ever played have been at around 6am. It is very true IMO.

[/ QUOTE ]

I am aware the games are great late nights/early morning but I thought this was because of drunk americans...not aggro scandinavians...lol

Blarg
10-04-2004, 03:38 AM
Is there anything more scary than an aggro Scandinavian???

Michael Davis
10-04-2004, 03:39 AM
Flesh-eating bacteria.

-Michael

Schneids
10-04-2004, 03:50 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Is there anything more scary than an aggro Scandinavian???

[/ QUOTE ]

Does anyone notice the irony of Minnesota having a strong Scandinavian background and people generally referring to Minnesotan poker players (and midwesterners on the overall whole) as being amongst the most loose-passive?

Michael Davis
10-04-2004, 03:54 AM
If ever China gets on board, this will also apply to the West Coast.

-Michael

Losing all
10-04-2004, 04:00 AM
Good article. The baseball stat folks are really drawn to poker, and many do very well.

curious, Do you play CDM? How about whatif?

Mammux
10-04-2004, 05:45 AM
[ QUOTE ]
I'm amused that the writer mentioned the Scandinavian thing, but yeah, you usually see these guys start signing on at like 4 or 5 in the morning central time, and they generally play very aggressively. If I see somebody from Trondheim or Flekkefjord or something, I'm usually going to put a few extra value bets in.

[/ QUOTE ]
The scandinavian countries are wealthy and a lot of people have broadband connections at home. I'm not surprised we supply our share of the fish, however I wonder why we are aggressive. Do you see more LAGs or TAGs from the -heims and -fjords?

-Magnus

TheGrifter
10-04-2004, 10:45 AM
Mammux,

Some of the craziest, most aggressive players I have ever seen are from Bergen.

I have also played with good players from Bergen.

Percentage wise, if someone is from Bergen rather than say, london, I will assume he is more aggressive.

turnipmonster
10-04-2004, 11:47 AM
is it me or is there a ton of chicago area twentysomethings playing pro poker?

cool article, nate. glad things are working out well for you.

--turnipmonster

ChicagoTroy
10-05-2004, 04:54 PM
Locals who get the Trib will notice Nate is way overdue for a monitor upgrade. Dude, WTH? I have a guy with 20.3" Dell LCD refurbs below manufacturer's cost. You don't have to live like that.

Unless this is designed to throw off other online players, much like live chip (mis)handling...

eric5148
10-06-2004, 01:15 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Locals who get the Trib will notice Nate is way overdue for a monitor upgrade. Dude, WTH? I have a guy with 20.3" Dell LCD refurbs below manufacturer's cost. You don't have to live like that.

Unless this is designed to throw off other online players, much like live chip (mis)handling...

[/ QUOTE ]

LOL, when I saw the picture, I was saying to myself: that can't be Nate from 2+2, cuz he's got an ancient monitor!

P.S. - How much are those monitors? I'm very interested in buying one (or two).

eric5148
10-06-2004, 01:17 AM
[ QUOTE ]
is it me or is there a ton of chicago area twentysomethings playing pro poker?


[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, and I'm next. Muahahahahaha!

Lucky
10-06-2004, 03:19 AM
Cool to see the article. Just curious if the reporter asked about the whole illegality (of net gambling in IL) thing and just didn't include it in the article, or didn't ask about it altogether. I know it's not a big deal as illegal acts go, but reporters are paid to address (and blow out of proportion) those kinds of things.