PDA

View Full Version : Poker Pros - Do they really make it?


12-09-2005, 01:39 AM
For a while I have been thinking about poker professionals - those who choose to spend their life playing poker for a living. Having seen the industry and the way poker operates, I have begun to think that the number of people who actually make money off playing poker is actually very small.

Keep in mind, in saying this I am EXCLUDING ancillary activities related to poker. I am not talking about royalties from writing poker books, fees for promoting poker sites, etc. I am purely refering to actually playing poker, and poker only. I greatly respect many of the people who have managed to make a name for themselves in this realm. For example, Tom McEvoy, T.J. Cloutier, and Dan Harrington have done excellent jobs cornering the poker book market (along with David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth).

Are there really many people out there that make a good living in the long term by only playing poker? And when I say "good living" I don't mean survival, or $30,000 or even $50,000 a year. I mean something more in the six figure range on a consistent basis from year to year (if you are a professional poker player, $50,000 is actually a lot less than a job paying the same amount because of health care costs). Obviously, today is a better poker environment than ever before. Winning the World Series of Poker Main Event surely gives somebody enough money to live on for years if they choose to use the money wisely and not gamble it away (something that many winners probably cannot do). However, it seems as though, regardless of how talented someone may be, that it would be extremely difficult for a professional to make enough on poker alone to be a winner in the long term.

This is enhanced by the fact that many of the top professionals cannot stop themselves from constantly gambling their winnings (I'd recommend One of A Kind about Stu Ungar as a great way to get an insight into this mentality). Sure, someone may have a good year here and there, but how many professionals make enough money every single year to live comfortably? My guess is that it is not a very high number.

What do you think?

Alex/Mugaaz
12-09-2005, 02:31 AM
In a word, yes. How many people do so, how easy it is, and what it takes are consantly blown u - but yes.

lighterjobs
12-09-2005, 02:36 AM
I don't think most of the limit cash game player have four or five houses in LA and las vegas and drive $100k cars, but I think a lot of them live comfortably.

bernie
12-09-2005, 05:15 AM
[ QUOTE ]
And when I say "good living" I don't mean survival, or $30,000 or even $50,000 a year. I mean something more in the six figure range on a consistent basis from year to year

[/ QUOTE ]

Do you know what the small percentage of people who make 6 figures consistently in any job is? It's pretty small.

Depending on your expenses and monthly nut, $30-50k a year can be a good living.

[ QUOTE ]
Winning the World Series of Poker Main Event surely gives somebody enough money to live on for years if they choose to use the money wisely and not gamble it away

[/ QUOTE ]

Someone wins the world series today, or even makes the final table, should be set for life if they use the money right.

For more perspective, I'd suggest reading "millionaire next door". Along with looking at the average personal income in most cities.

Edit: Ed Miller also has some great articles about this.

b

r3vbr
12-09-2005, 01:00 PM
I estimate that there are over 1000 people that make six figures a year (over 100,000 a year) out of poker simply by playing online.

Top pros like doyle brunson and ted forrest all make over a million a year. Forrest made lots of several-million-dollar years from what I've read, 12M in one year alone.

So yeah I think they do pretty well.

mshalen
12-09-2005, 05:10 PM
$30-50 a good living. This has to be a joke right? I don't know where you live but I spend $30,000 just on elementary school tuition for my two kids.

I get so frustrated when I see dollar amounts talked about in these forums. Most of these post are from people who have no idea. This isn't a slam at the poster just general frustration that comes out every once in a while.

12-09-2005, 05:31 PM
[ QUOTE ]

Do you know what the small percentage of people who make 6 figures consistently in any job is? It's pretty small.

[/ QUOTE ]

It is small, but more than a hanful. As of 2000, there were 12,972,529 households in America with family income higher than $100,000. Granted, the number of individuals making $100,000 is smaller, since that's family income, but it's still a decent amount. It works out to be about 12-13% of households.

[ QUOTE ]

Depending on your expenses and monthly nut, $30-50k a year can be a good living.

[/ QUOTE ]

I agree, that depending on where you live, that this can make for a decent living. But as I said, I am not asking about poker pros who survive, or do alright. I am curious about the people who really make it and do a lot better for themselves than they would otherwise.

For example, almost anybody with a college degree can get a job that pays better than 30,000 if they live in a metropolitan area. And oftentimes, one can get a job that pays even better with only partial college or high school employment. For example, I believe a New York City police officer starts around $40,000 a year, but there is room for improvement, plus they receive pretty good benefits. Therefore, as I said, that $40,000 is worth a LOT more than $40,000 as a poker pro, since you have to pay health expenses, and must take care of retirement yourself.

12-09-2005, 05:35 PM
[ QUOTE ]
$30-50 a good living. This has to be a joke right? I don't know where you live but I spend $30,000 just on elementary school tuition for my two kids.

I get so frustrated when I see dollar amounts talked about in these forums. Most of these post are from people who have no idea. This isn't a slam at the poster just general frustration that comes out every once in a while.

[/ QUOTE ]

Anyone who spends that kind of money on tuition has no idea of reality. The odds are that you either have so much money that $30,000 for tuition is not a significant expense, or you are sacrificing to enable you to do that. In the first case, you are in no position to comprehend how the "commoners" live. In the second case, you have a serious lack of common sense. Either would explain disparaging remarks about people who think that $50k is a decent living.

12-09-2005, 07:43 PM
[ QUOTE ]

Anyone who spends that kind of money on tuition has no idea of reality. The odds are that you either have so much money that $30,000 for tuition is not a significant expense, or you are sacrificing to enable you to do that. In the first case, you are in no position to comprehend how the "commoners" live. In the second case, you have a serious lack of common sense. Either would explain disparaging remarks about people who think that $50k is a decent living.

[/ QUOTE ]

You criticize others for having no common sense, but apparently have not put much thought into your own post. First, you have no idea how many children the poster has in elementary school. Second, it is possible that the school that the poster is paying for will provide his (or her) children with a much better education than the other schools that his children could attend.

People make decisions for a variety of reasons, and some make sacrifices for their children. My parents went into debt to put me through one of the best colleges in the country, even though I got almost a full scholarship to another school that was definitely good, but not the same caliber. And given where I am right now, that choice has definitely had a major impact on my life. No doubt about that.

You need to keep in mind that where somebody lives makes a tremendous difference too. $50,000 in rural Iowa is probably enough to live comfortably. $50,000 in the New York City area or Los Angeles is worth a lot less. Additionally, sometimes people talk about their lives as a vaccuum. Fine, let's say you are 25 years old and making $50,000 a year paying poker. Do you think that will cut it someday when you have a family, and children? Probably not, considering the high cost of insuring your entire family for their health costs. And as far as marriage, there are not scores of wealthy women waiting around to marry poker pros who make $50,000 a year.

david050173
12-09-2005, 08:15 PM
[ QUOTE ]

[ QUOTE ]

This has to be a joke right? I don't know where you live but I spend $30,000 just on elementary school tuition for my <font color="red"> two </font>kids.


[/ QUOTE ]
You criticize others for having no common sense, but apparently have not put much thought into your own post. First, you have no idea how many children the poster has in elementary school.


[/ QUOTE ]

How much do you want to bet that Jack thinks he has 2 kids? College is different than grade school. It will affect your future income a lot more. Not to mention the student, not the parent should be taking out the loans.

Average family income in the US is under 45k. Spending 30k on grade school is not the normal and means the OP has a quite a bit of income. It is great that he spends it on his kids education but don't make the mistake of taking that a needed expense which most people with familes pay.

12-09-2005, 09:28 PM
[ QUOTE ]

You criticize others for having no common sense, but apparently have not put much thought into your own post. First, you have no idea how many children the poster has in elementary school.

[/ QUOTE ]

I put a lot of thought into my post, I just didn't explain it all. I thought that any rational person would see that spending that much money on school was excessive and elitist. The same kind of elitism that can't comprehend anyone living on $50K.

[ QUOTE ]
My parents went into debt to put me through one of the best colleges in the country, even though I got almost a full scholarship to another school that was definitely good, but not the same caliber.

[/ QUOTE ]

This is equally lacking in common sense, and shows the same illogical attitude that parents can buy happiness, success, etc., for their children. The difference in "quality of education" between, say, an Ivy League school and a major state university, is vastly over-rated, particularly at the undergrad level. A good student can get a great education at either. The whole life experience of college is also important, and a student will learn a lot more about the real world and about life (like that people live on $50k) at a non-elite school. College students should also make a significant effort toward financing their own education. That is educational too.


[ QUOTE ]
it is possible that the school that the poster is paying for will provide his (or her) children with a much better education than the other schools that his children could attend.

[/ QUOTE ]

Highly unlikely. Education consists of more than book learning (although it is doubtful, give that level of income, that the public schools there are anything but top notch). Children should be exposed to the real world, not isolated in a $15K per year resort with the offspring of other rich elitists.

fluff
12-09-2005, 10:00 PM
[ QUOTE ]
The difference in "quality of education" between, say, an Ivy League school and a major state university, is vastly over-rated, particularly at the undergrad level.

[/ QUOTE ]

Education schmeducation...it's WHO you know, not WHAT you know. And chances are at an Ivy League school you'll meet more fat cats than at Podunk State U.

Edit: BTW, I'm a Podunk State U graduate, class of 2000.

Aceshigh7
12-10-2005, 12:35 AM
I completely agree with JackCase. I think mshalen is quite out of touch with economic reality. Saying 50k/year can't be considered a good living is just wrong.

12-10-2005, 01:59 AM
Millions of folks would consider themselves to be in extremely high cotton if they were making $15/hr. That's way more than the minimum wage. If they're getting 40 hrs/wk, that's $31,200.

12-10-2005, 02:28 AM
i know this may throw the thread off topic, so i apologize if it does...but i have a couple personal thoughts on what has been said so far....making x amount of dollars per year is in the eye of the beholder...we all live our lives in different circumstances so it is difficult to say how much money is enough, etc.....secondly, on the whole schooling issue....personally, my mother and father worked extremely hard to send my older brother and i to both private boarding schools and private colleges (i still have five semesters in college after tomorrow)....and there are pro's and con's to going to private institutions such as these just like anything else in life...for me, i am very grateful for the opportunity because very very few kids get these chances in life...additionally, my parents felt so strongly about getting an education, they were willingly to sacrifice expensive cars and lavish vacations to get us educated....without a question, i can say that i will benefit from these experiences.....is a 40k (and now over 40k education) worth the price for academics...no, not really...i would have learned the same things if i went to my state school but it is the connections i have found and continue to find....essentially, these expensive educations buy you into a world with many connections, ones i would not have found if i went to my state school....and i have expressed that to my father because i do sometimes feel guilty when i slack off, etc....but he has never complained about paying as much as he does....before i get off into too much off a digression, those are some of my thoughts on this issue

bernie
12-10-2005, 05:54 AM
[ QUOTE ]
$30-50 a good living. This has to be a joke right?

[/ QUOTE ]

No, it's not. Especially if your single. Some of us don't live high consumption lifestyles.

[ QUOTE ]
This isn't a slam at the poster just general frustration that comes out every once in a while.

[/ QUOTE ]

Maybe your frustrated because you're not managing your money that well. After all, it seems like it would be your own situation in comparison that's frustrating you.


b

bernie
12-10-2005, 06:03 AM
[ QUOTE ]
First, you have no idea how many children the poster has in elementary school.

[/ QUOTE ]

The poster said 2.

What I'm guessing is that the $30k for elementary is for the total package from grades 1-6. Which would be about $5k a year. Which is about what private school costs here. If they are actually paying $30k a year for elementary, they're getting ripped off big time.

[ QUOTE ]
Do you think that will cut it someday when you have a family, and children? Probably not, considering the high cost of insuring your entire family for their health costs

[/ QUOTE ]

With careful planning and both parents working, health care through mom's work, it's very feasible.

Not to mention, not everyone wants to have kids.

b

bernie
12-10-2005, 06:11 AM
[ QUOTE ]
but i have a couple personal thoughts on what has been said so far....making x amount of dollars per year is in the eye of the beholder...we all live our lives in different circumstances so it is difficult to say how much money is enough, etc.....

[/ QUOTE ]

Here's what irks me about people who say $50k isn't enough then bitch and moan to those that do make it on that. I find that most of these people live with too many expenses which is their own fault they are struggling to make it. Usually they're deep in debt with overpriced crap that they get so they can keep up appearances. Boo hoo. It's usually their own fault they are in the financial situation they find themselves in.

b

mshalen
12-10-2005, 12:20 PM
Bernie I just had to respond:

I don't believe that investing $30,000 in my childrens education could be considered a "high consumption" lifestyle. I am thankfull that my parents were able to invest in my education and I would do whatever it takes to give my children a good start in life. I drive a 4 year old Honda and live a suburb of New York City where the property taxes on my house are in excess of $14,000 (and I live in what I would consider to be a tyical middle class dwelling). I believe, from reading many of the posts here, that many posters are young and without a true understanding of personal finances. When I was 23 I too had no real concept of what size of income I would need to support a family and would have thought that $30,000 - $50,000 would be more than adequate. My frustration has nothing to do with my personal finances - I would be happy to match my personal balance sheet and income statement against anyones.

My point, which I admit was poorly written, relates to expectations. As Dr. Schoonmaker discusses in "The Psychology of Poker" playing poker for a living is an incredibly bad idea where at best you could expect to earn a lower middle class lifestyle. While a handfull of professional poker players do gross in excess of $100,000 this is a very small percentage of all players and once you factor in overhead, liefstyle, family and so on playing poker become a lonely, low paying existance. Over my career I have have hired a number of young people to work for me and I explain going in that if they are not earning at least $100,000 within two to three years then I will suggest that they move on to a different career. I guess the point that I am trying to get across is that if you have the dedication and intelligence to earn $100,000 playing poker then you should be able to apply yourself and earn significantly more in business.

mshalen
12-10-2005, 12:27 PM
It is $15,000 per kid per year. The public school spends approx. $11,000 per year to educate each child and I feel that by spending the extra money my children recieve a superior education. But how much I choose to spend on my children's education is not my point. I was only attempting to indicate that the costs of living and raising a family can be significantly higher than you would think.

12-10-2005, 12:30 PM
I think we need to make a clear distinction between 50K as a poker pro and 50K as, say, a Police Officer. The latter in most cases has health benefits, sick pay, vacation pay, a pension plan and a disability plan. While the cop isn't "living large," his livelihood is certainly more stable than the 50K a year poker player.

12-10-2005, 01:01 PM
So, can I get a job?

mshalen
12-10-2005, 01:29 PM
I have been thinking about some of the previous posts and my comments and wanted to take this opportunity to respond to being called elitest and not in touch with "common people". For anyone who cares here is a brief synopsis of my background.

I grew up in a middle class family where both my parents had to work to support the family. I graduated from high school with a class rank at about the 80th percentile - so not a top notch student but slightly above average. Through the generocity of my parents and grandparents I was able to attend a large midwestern public college (Indiana Univ). While I was at IU I started my first company which provided me with walking around money.

After college I got a job, saved my money and then started my own business. Within a year I was bankrupt (oh well **** happens). So I picked my butt up off the floor and went back out and got a job. I worked and saved for a few years and then went back to school and got my MBA.

After MBA school I went to work, got married and had two wonderful kids. I have since opened my own company (third time is a charm) and have become successful. My typical day begins at 5 AM and I drop my wife off at the 6:30 train she takes to her job. I get the kids up and drop them at school on my way to the office. At the end of the day I pick my wife up at about 6:45 and we then eat dinner as a family.

To answer the comments about "common people", elite attitude and spending habits. While our family income and assets probably place us in the top 5% of american families I do not sit around all day clipping coupons and have worked hard for everything that I have. Sure when I was bankrupt I could have sat around all day moaning about my condition and complaining about "rich people" but that episode of my life just forced me to examine my situation and work three times harder next time. I know a large number of sucessfull people and not one of them earned what they have by working at a 9-5 job. Everyone of them worked 70 or 80 hours a week.

Next time I will take more time and review my comments before I hit the "post" button. And perhaps others will too. Maybe the next time you want to use phrases like "elitest" and "you rich people" you will think about this post.

To butcher Winston Churchill: If you are 20 and not a liberal then you have no heart, if you are 40 and not a consevative then you have no brain.

12-10-2005, 01:50 PM
[ QUOTE ]
It is $15,000 per kid per year. The public school spends approx. $11,000 per year to educate each child and I feel that by spending the extra money my children recieve a superior education. But how much I choose to spend on my children's education is not my point. I was only attempting to indicate that the costs of living and raising a family can be significantly higher than you would think.

[/ QUOTE ]

You are in no place to comment on how the average person that makes $30-50,000 / year is able to live. Nevermind that you live in an area that costs a lot more to live in than the average place in the US, but you choose to spend $30,000 / year on an ELEMENTARY school education. There is no way you can convince me that their private school is $15,000/child/year better than a public school. The environment that they are in may even be detrimental to them if they end up with an average job.

What if Alex Rodriguez told you that your salary was nothing and that there is no way you can live on that. His evidence: his car (a luxury, like your children's education) costs your entire salary. Wouldn't you think that his claim is rediculous?

MelchyBeau
12-10-2005, 03:18 PM
[ QUOTE ]

For a while I have been thinking about poker professionals - those who choose to spend their life playing poker for a living. Having seen the industry and the way poker operates, I have begun to think that the number of people who actually make money off playing poker is actually very small.


[/ QUOTE ]

I think someone posted in the zoo that a certain online site has approx 6-7% of its players are winners.

[ QUOTE ]


This is enhanced by the fact that many of the top professionals cannot stop themselves from constantly gambling their winnings (I'd recommend One of A Kind about Stu Ungar as a great way to get an insight into this mentality). Sure, someone may have a good year here and there, but how many professionals make enough money every single year to live comfortably? My guess is that it is not a very high number.

[/ QUOTE ]

I believe this has changed a bit. Malmuth stated in one of his essays that many of the new 'pros' are not as big of gamblers as The old school players. They tend to be introverted and mainly mathematical players, whereas the older players played by feel. Though there are still gamblers out there that are pro poker players, I believe that the amount of pros that gamble away thier winnings is lower now.



As for the 30-50k debate. 50k when you are young is a great salary to start at. even if you didn't have benifits. Think about how much a teacher makes, or many college graduates fresh out of college.

Melch

12-10-2005, 06:01 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I put a lot of thought into my post, I just didn't explain it all. I thought that any rational person would see that spending that much money on school was excessive and elitist. The same kind of elitism that can't comprehend anyone living on $50K.

[/ QUOTE ]

You are missing the point. It is not "irrational" to spend that amount of money on education if you value education that much. You are basically saying that since you individually do not think it should be spent that way, that it is a waste of money. It's the old "You disagree with me, so you are wrong" argument. If someone was making $30,000 a year and spending that amount on education, maybe you could say they are making a mistake. But if they have the means to do it, and they want to, they should have every right to do it. Education is going to get you somewhere in life.

[ QUOTE ]
This is equally lacking in common sense, and shows the same illogical attitude that parents can buy happiness, success, etc., for their children. The difference in "quality of education" between, say, an Ivy League school and a major state university, is vastly over-rated, particularly at the undergrad level. A good student can get a great education at either. The whole life experience of college is also important, and a student will learn a lot more about the real world and about life (like that people live on $50k) at a non-elite school. College students should also make a significant effort toward financing their own education. That is educational too.


[/ QUOTE ]

I can assure you this is not true. While I did not go to an Ivy League undergraduate college, I did go to a very prestigious school, and it has made a huge difference in my life. Also, I assure you that I did not get into the college because of connections or anything like that. My parents are both teachers, and I did not go to elitist elementary schools or high schools. I worked hard, and had the opportunity to go there.

As a result of my education there, I have received great opportunities, that I definitely would not have received elsewhere. I am not saying that state schools are bad, or that you cannot receive a great education there. The University of Virginia and University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) are among the best in the country.

That said, it is ridiculous to say that going to an elite university is a waste of money. For one, I am guessing that you did not go to such an institution, so how do you know? Simply based on cost? It is pretty ridiculous that you are going to tell me that my parents made a mistake in footing the bill for my education. You do not know my circumstances, my goals, and the experiences and opportunities I have had.

As someone said, a large degree of what you are paying for is not only the education, but also the opportunies and doors that are opened in going there. Also, for those interested in going to graduate schools, your chances of getting into them are higher coming from an Ivy League undergraduate school (or a similar pretigious school), than from a state university. I am not saying this to be elitist - it is true, and can be shown through graduate school admissions statistics.

As far as the other issue, I've admitted that $50,000 can be a good living, depending on where you live and your circumstances. If you are in your twenties and living at home or cheaply, then you are definitely doing well for yourself.

But, as stated earlier, it really depends on your circumstances. I live in New York, and the cost of living here is high. Quite frankly, $30,000 is not a lot to live on here. That's why a much higher percentage of 20-30 year olds live at home after college or high school, compared to other areas like the Midwest and South, where rents and real estate are so much cheaper.

I am very thankful for everything I have. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to receive a great education, and that I have great parents who sacrificed a lot for my education. Someday, I hope to be able to provide for my own children in the same way.

12-10-2005, 07:04 PM
[ QUOTE ]

For one, I am guessing that you did not go to such an institution, so how do you know?


[/ QUOTE ]

More elitist snobbery. And on what did you base your incorrect guess? I don't share your views, so I must be trailer trash who didn't go to a proper school?

I speak from personal experience. I even went to private elementary school and to an elite prep school, which are even more absurd than spending beyond your family means for a name college. I got a good education, but I wish my parents had not made the sacrifice. They could have better used the money for themselves, and my perceptions of reality were greatly flawed from my sheltered life in proper schools. My academic education was first rate. My world education was sadly lacking.

[ QUOTE ]
You do not know my circumstances, my goals, and the experiences and opportunities I have had.

[/ QUOTE ]

That didn't stop you from making assumptions about me. And I don't have to know anything about you to know that parents making big sacrifices for over-priced, name-school education is nonsense, both for the parents and for the child.

[ QUOTE ]
You are basically saying that since you individually do not think it should be spent that way, that it is a waste of money. It's the old "You disagree with me, so you are wrong" argument.

[/ QUOTE ]

I am not making a value judgement. I am saying that I have had enough personal experience, and observed enough of others, to state that high-priced education is a waste for anyone who must make significant sacrifices to pay for it. I state that as an empirical observation, based on my training as an economist, not as an emotional observation based on any touchy-feely vibes.

12-10-2005, 08:24 PM
[ QUOTE ]
$30-50 a good living. This has to be a joke right? I don't know where you live but I spend $30,000 just on elementary school tuition for my two kids.

I get so frustrated when I see dollar amounts talked about in these forums. Most of these post are from people who have no idea. This isn't a slam at the poster just general frustration that comes out every once in a while.

[/ QUOTE ]

Please...$50,000 is a step up for me. I teach high school. Yep, I chose it, but $50,000 is not what I make. Playing a game for $50,000...I'd take that. It's not gonig to happen in the near future, but just for awareness sake, my wife and I made that amount (we make more now...I still have the same wage, but my wife makes more...good for me).

We did just fine. We had a house in Florida had two cars and paid all of our bills on time. $50,000 is enough if you choose your lifestyle wisely. I will submit that it does depend on a large degree just WHERE you live.

My frustrations come from statements that if people aren't making 100K they should look for another job. I guess I should take my cardboard box and put it underneath one of our highways because 50k isn't enough.

I wonder how people become broke when they win one million or more - that's the sick part for me. If anyone out there has that kind of money and they are thinking on blowing it on drugs or the crap table, send me a message. Just give me the money...I'll take good care of it. /images/graemlins/smile.gif

MicroBob
12-10-2005, 08:41 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I think we need to make a clear distinction between 50K as a poker pro and 50K as, say, a Police Officer. The latter in most cases has health benefits, sick pay, vacation pay, a pension plan and a disability plan. While the cop isn't "living large," his livelihood is certainly more stable than the 50K a year poker player.

[/ QUOTE ]


While the poker-player gets to work whenever the hell they want and has virtually total freedom and flexibility.
While the policeman (or many other occupations) are spending money and time making the commute back and forth from work to home, don't get to take their job with them on a quick vacation if they like, and may have a prick for a boss.

I'm in a monster downswing right now so I'm roughly at the peak of what most would consider the most negative aspect of playing poker full-time for income...and I still think this is so much less stressful than many other 'real' jobs that it's not even close.

One can also consider that the $50k/yr poker-player, while not AS stable currently, has a lot of potential to become a $100k or $150k per year poker-player in the future if they continue to work at it and improve there game.
The police-officer likely has a decent pension that they working towards in the long-run...but they certainly aren't terribly likely to get a promotion where their $50k salary will suddenly become $100k simply because they are continuing to get better and better at their job.



Poker playing isn't for everyone.
Dr. Al makes some valid points. But they don't apply equally to all situations.
The dangers are more a product of self-discipline. Yes, you are sitting around a lot. So it's up TO YOU to make sure that your social-life and physical well-being don't suffer.
Have friends and join a health-club or something.


I get to spend more time with my GF and get to play in 2 different recreational soccer leagues. I won't get to do either in almost any other job.
Nor would I get the chance to win a trip to the WSOP (which I did) or other major events/vacations.


Even when I'm losing it doesn't feel THAT much like work.



My biggest issue with poker is that I don't feel lik eI'm contributing ANYTHING productive. I'm just sitting at home playing a game I kind of like and trying to make money.


Conversing with a friend of mine from college days and he's doing a lot with his career and is really making a difference. I tell him that I'm kind of jealous of him for that reason.
But he's over-worked and he's tired all the freaking time.
Lots of people with 'regular' job put in way more than 40 hours per week.
He tells me that he's probably more jealous of me because I can just get on a computer and 'make money' (although he knows it isn't exactly that easy).

12-10-2005, 10:09 PM
[ QUOTE ]

More elitist snobbery. And on what did you base your incorrect guess? I don't share your views, so I must be trailer trash who didn't go to a proper school...My academic education was first rate. My world education was sadly lacking.

[/ QUOTE ]

I acknowledge that the way I stated that could sound elitist, and I apologize for that. However, the content of what I said rings true. I never said you were trailer trash. I never said anything of the sort, and you are making quite a few leaps in logic to get to that point. In fact, I commented with respect about the very institutions you say are the best deal - state run universities.

I am sorry your world education was lacking, but it would be ridiculous to say that anybody who goes to an expensive/prestigious school lacks the same education.

[ QUOTE ]
That didn't stop you from making assumptions about me. And I don't have to know anything about you to know that parents making big sacrifices for over-priced, name-school education is nonsense, both for the parents and for the child.

[/ QUOTE ]

I think that everyone should get a good education, regardless of where they go to school. Contrary to your assumption, I don't think that the Ivy League is all there is to getting an education. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Neither of my parents went to "elitist" schools, and nobody in my immediate family beyond my parents even went to college. I don't appreciate your attempts to cast me as some rich elitist who is out of touch with reality. It is certainly nothing of the sort.

[ QUOTE ]
I am not making a value judgement. I am saying that I have had enough personal experience, and observed enough of others, to state that high-priced education is a waste for anyone who must make significant sacrifices to pay for it. I state that as an empirical observation, based on my training as an economist, not as an emotional observation based on any touchy-feely vibes.

[/ QUOTE ]

What you are doing is stating your opinion, and I respect that. After all, that's what these forums are intended to be. However, to say that your statements are "empirical observations" that somehow carry the weight of science is highly debatable. I have no doubt that in your experience, you have seen things that have lead you to form the opinions that you have expressed here.

However, given the broad generalization that you made (quoted above), you really are making a value judgment. You are saying that it is not worth it to make that sacrifice for a daughter or son to go to a well known university. Perhaps in your opinion, it is a waste. However, for you to imply that it is a waste for the legions of parents who have sacrificed wordly pleasures for their children's education, is belittling the choices and decisions that many people are forced into making throughout their life.

What I am saying would equally apply to a parent who struggles to put their child through a state school. Tuition at state schools may be lower, but for some families, spending any amount of money on tuition can be extremely taxing on the budget. Spending money on education is never a waste, because it is the one thing that you will always have for a lifetime.

flair1239
12-11-2005, 12:01 AM
[ QUOTE ]
$30-50 a good living. This has to be a joke right? I don't know where you live but I spend $30,000 just on elementary school tuition for my two kids.

I get so frustrated when I see dollar amounts talked about in these forums. Most of these post are from people who have no idea. This isn't a slam at the poster just general frustration that comes out every once in a while.

[/ QUOTE ]

Alot of these guys are kids still in their early 20's. They are single and don't have kids. So $30,000 to $50,000 goes a long way for them.

After some of themn settle down and have a kid or so, they will realise just how little money pre-tax $50,000 a year is.


Edit: Wow just read the rest of the thread. Here is the deal. If it was just me I could live very well on 30K a year and 50K I would have no worries.

But playing poker say you win 50K and you have a family. Well you don't want your kids growing up in a ghetto so... your getting a house. From what I have seen $200,000 in a lot of areas will just barely get you in a nice 1200SQFT unit; so say a mortgage of 1500 a month minimum depending how much you put down.

Then you and your wife will need at least (1) if not (2) cars. You want your kids to have health insurance... blah, blah, blah.

I am not saying $50,000 is not a living wage. But if that was the sole source of income for your family and came with no benefits... well it can get tight. With just yourself it is not a problem... but with a wife and kids.. it might get a little tighter than you would like.

12-11-2005, 04:38 AM
mman710...simply put, great posts...although many may not recognize your down to earth opinions, yet keen insight into secondary education, i do...and i commend you for it, because i categorically agree with you

bernie
12-11-2005, 07:03 AM
[ QUOTE ]
It is $15,000 per kid per year. The public school spends approx. $11,000 per year to educate each child and I feel that by spending the extra money my children recieve a superior education. But how much I choose to spend on my children's education is not my point. I was only attempting to indicate that the costs of living and raising a family can be significantly higher than you would think.

[/ QUOTE ]

Your cost of living is well above the average cost of living for most people. It is not the norm. Not even close. I don't know of anyone that spends $15k a year for a kid in elementary school. To me, that's overkill. But to each his own. Imo, it's not a cost of living but now in the 'luxury' zone.

Sorry, but you choose to do that so yes, you likely wouldn't make it on $50k a year. But this isn't even close to the norm as part of a factor in how much it costs to raise a family. That's part of your cost to raise 'your' family. Hence, your consumption rate is higher in that regard compared to probably 95% of everyone else in the nation.

Put it this way, anyone spending only $5k a year on private school already saves $25k a year that they don't need to make ends meet. (just using the money as the example)

Just as someone who has to buy a new car every 3 years when they could buy a much lesser car and keep it for much longer. So after they pay $300 + $100insurance a month for 3 years, they redo it all over again to where if they actually own a car, they save 3-5k a year. This is like someone saying they 'have' to have a car for the job. Fine, but it doesn't mean you have to have a brand new one when an older, more practical car will do the job just as adequetly. You don't just buy a new one, then say that that's the benchmark one has to have to do the job.

After a certain point, above basic bills/living costs, the cost of living is what you make it. Family or not.

b

flair1239
12-11-2005, 11:33 AM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
It is $15,000 per kid per year. The public school spends approx. $11,000 per year to educate each child and I feel that by spending the extra money my children recieve a superior education. But how much I choose to spend on my children's education is not my point. I was only attempting to indicate that the costs of living and raising a family can be significantly higher than you would think.

[/ QUOTE ]

Your cost of living is well above the average cost of living for most people. It is not the norm. Not even close. I don't know of anyone that spends $15k a year for a kid in elementary school. To me, that's overkill. But to each his own. Imo, it's not a cost of living but now in the 'luxury' zone.

Sorry, but you choose to do that so yes, you likely wouldn't make it on $50k a year. But this isn't even close to the norm as part of a factor in how much it costs to raise a family. That's part of your cost to raise 'your' family. Hence, your consumption rate is higher in that regard compared to probably 95% of everyone else in the nation.

Put it this way, anyone spending only $5k a year on private school already saves $25k a year that they don't need to make ends meet. (just using the money as the example)

Just as someone who has to buy a new car every 3 years when they could buy a much lesser car and keep it for much longer. So after they pay $300 + $100insurance a month for 3 years, they redo it all over again to where if they actually own a car, they save 3-5k a year. This is like someone saying they 'have' to have a car for the job. Fine, but it doesn't mean you have to have a brand new one when an older, more practical car will do the job just as adequetly. You don't just buy a new one, then say that that's the benchmark one has to have to do the job.

After a certain point, above basic bills/living costs, the cost of living is what you make it. Family or not.

b

[/ QUOTE ]

Bernie,

I think you are underestimating the impact of providing health insurance for a family. This bill could easily hit $1,000 a month by itself for a decent plan.

Add to that you are dealing with pre-tax figures and 50K goes away pretty quickly.

bernie
12-11-2005, 12:58 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I think you are underestimating the impact of providing health insurance for a family. This bill could easily hit $1,000 a month by itself for a decent plan.

[/ QUOTE ]

Being self employed for 15 years, I know very well the cost of health insurance. It's a joke how much they charge. It can be the price of a house payment.

If you're single, or married with no kids, $50k can stretch pretty far and you can live decently. Even after taxes.

Btw...The initial response to my post in this thread implied that everyone was in their situation with kids. Which is wrong. In fact, I've recommended in other threads that people with families not play as their sole (family)income. But for someone to tell me that the cost of living for the average family includes having to pay $30k a year for elementary school is ridiculous.

b

bernie
12-11-2005, 01:00 PM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
$30-50 a good living. This has to be a joke right? I don't know where you live but I spend $30,000 just on elementary school tuition for my two kids.

I get so frustrated when I see dollar amounts talked about in these forums. Most of these post are from people who have no idea. This isn't a slam at the poster just general frustration that comes out every once in a while.

[/ QUOTE ]

Alot of these guys are kids still in their early 20's. They are single and don't have kids. So $30,000 to $50,000 goes a long way for them.

After some of themn settle down and have a kid or so, they will realise just how little money pre-tax $50,000 a year is.


Edit: Wow just read the rest of the thread. Here is the deal. If it was just me I could live very well on 30K a year and 50K I would have no worries.

But playing poker say you win 50K and you have a family. Well you don't want your kids growing up in a ghetto so... your getting a house. From what I have seen $200,000 in a lot of areas will just barely get you in a nice 1200SQFT unit; so say a mortgage of 1500 a month minimum depending how much you put down.

Then you and your wife will need at least (1) if not (2) cars. You want your kids to have health insurance... blah, blah, blah.

I am not saying $50,000 is not a living wage. But if that was the sole source of income for your family and came with no benefits... well it can get tight. With just yourself it is not a problem... but with a wife and kids.. it might get a little tighter than you would like.

[/ QUOTE ]

I agree with this.

b

bernie
12-11-2005, 01:14 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I believe, from reading many of the posts here, that many posters are young and without a true understanding of personal finances. When I was 23 I too had no real concept of what size of income I would need to support a family and would have thought that $30,000 - $50,000 would be more than adequate.

[/ QUOTE ]

Not everyone wants to have kids.

Many people much older than 23 have no clue about finances. One of the many reasons why the US is so high as far as outstanding credit.

I will agree that if money is that much a factor in your life as far as living a happy life, longterm poker as a sole income probably isn't for you.

Edit: I would also agree that many would benefit from a money/personal finance management class.

b

12-11-2005, 04:12 PM
7 years ago my girlfriend (who is now my wife) and her two teenage daughters moved in with me. Previously I was loose and single so being aggressive in the business world wasn't a focus. My bring home pay was $2000 a month, plus my girlfriend was getting $500 a month from child support. I was able to keep a roof over the head, everyone went to school, clothes on their back and food on the table and this was substantially less than $50k a year. We were also located in Southern California which is not the cheapest place to live. It sucked, and previous personal choices put us in that situation, but we did survive.

One of the parts of the OP was "better than what they could do otherwise". A lot of how people do depends upon the work environment. I'm stiffled and claustophobic (sp?) in a standard 9 to 5 work environment. I do much better in a private contractor/consultant type role. I'm sure a large number of "pro" players would get fired in a week (ok, maybe two) if forced to grind out $100K-a-year stuck in a cubicle listening to some drone boss who drives a mini-van and considers the company christmas party to most exciting event of the year. /images/graemlins/shocked.gif

smoore
12-11-2005, 06:31 PM
$50k/yr is a step up for me.

I make about $30k after expenses and my wife is currently pulling down about $28k. Promotion possiblities abound for her but I have a dead end job (I'm a carpet installer) unless I "move up" and open a store. I have no interest in working 80+ hours a week so that's not an option. I'm a good network and system administrator but can't handle a corporate environment. I can't program a computer beyond basic applications, I have no vision in that area. I cannot sell icewater to people in hell nor do I have a lick of business sense. My skills lie solely in the physical world... except for poker.

Assuming I don't invent the next pet rock, poker is a viable course of action. 60yr old ruggers are sad sacks indeed. Most never make it that far physically and end up selling carpet in some crappy retail store until retirement. Yuk.

My dream is to take down a major score in a large tournament and become a "fix-n-flip" real estate investor, possibly an absentee landlord if I found the right properties such as ski-area condos. I could build a frickin' empire if you gave me $350,000. Right now I'm happy to grind out a second income, build my 'roll and take shots via satellites at my dream... hey, it's better than trying to win the lottery /images/graemlins/wink.gif

As a side note, one home I worked in last week had an invoice from an exclusive mail-order liquor store for more than my monthly mortgage payment. I guess if you want to drink port wine from 1835 you've gotta pay for it. He gave us a couple bottles of good California wine as a tip from his wine room of over 500 bottles. He couldn't have been over 35. Nice guy to boot /images/graemlins/laugh.gif I really wouldn't know what to do with the kind of money that guy makes... I wonder if I'd still drink PBR. Probably not.

DesertCat
12-11-2005, 06:56 PM
[ QUOTE ]

I think you are underestimating the impact of providing health insurance for a family. This bill could easily hit $1,000 a month by itself for a decent plan.


[/ QUOTE ]

If you are self employed you shouldn't be paying this much (that's $12k per year!). I have a family plan that is costing about $2,000 a year. The trick is that it's an HSA, and has a $5,000 deductible. So my maximum cost is effectively $7k per year, and much less if we are all healthy for the year. I'm guessing our total costs are on average between $4k &amp; $5k per year including the monthly premiums.

Corporations spend $12k on family coverage, but that's typically just a way of funneling extra tax free income to it's employees. The company has a choice between a bare bones $5k plan and paying the employee the other $7k in wages at their highest marginal tax rates ($2-3k or so depending upon the state &amp; bracket), or giving them the "cadillac health plan" at the same total cost but greater after tax benefits.

When you are spending your own money, you shouldn't choose a cadillac plan. Why pay extra for insurance companies to process every minor health charge and meddle in your health choices? You are better off controlling your own spending and using insurance as little as possible, i.e. only to protect you from catastrophic costs.

Oblivious
12-12-2005, 09:49 AM
Most of this thread makes me sick.

The point:
1. A reasonable living differs from person to person.
2. If you can't make what you consider to be a reasonable living playing poker, then get a job.

Two answer OP's question; poker, like any other profession, pays proportional to effort. If you want to make 100,000 per year, and were gifted with the raw intellect to do it, you could, provided you learned the skills necessary and put in enough quality hours. If you so desperately need someone to tell you that "its impossible to make a decent living at cards," it's probably because you're not a winning player.

And shame on mshalen for suggesting "business" as a reasonable one-size-fits-all alternative to poker. Entrepreneurs in the 'real world' are the same small minded opportunist slackers that they were when they were students in the b-school. Business school is where students typically go when they want a degree, but canít stand intellectual pursuits. There are plenty of chemists, lawyers, researchers, artists, and authors that make very nice livings, even though they arenít business people.

sternroolz
12-12-2005, 12:32 PM
A few things people are forgetting:

1.) As others have pointed out, cost of living is drastically different in varying areas of the United States. They have not pointed out how much different.

-There are many areas of the country where a new house will cost $70-100K and a HUD repo will be $40-60k. I'm pretty sure many people in Los Angeles are fully unaware of this.

-Gas is cheaper by $0.50-0.80/gallon in many parts of the nation than in Los Angeles.

- Medical expenses, car insurance, taxes, government fees, etc. are also lower in some areas than in others.

2.) Public schools in Southern California stink and many are dangerous. I grew up in a middle class area, albeit in a minority community. I just found out that several high schools in that area, including the one I attended, now have metal detectors and full time police officers on campus. Someone going to private school has some degree of inherent advantage simply due to the fact that their surroundings are not constantly dangerous.

3.) Poker changes. California poker was awesome when I first played. Commerce ran 30 $6-12 LHE games a night. At least one player at each table would have 5-6 racks. Jackpots were regularly $50-80K(aces full beaten). Games were loose and wild. Then jackpots got killed. And smoking was ended. And all of the sudden, there were games that were constantly shorthanded(not good considering the mandatory drop). Drop amount increased by $1. All of the sudden, you had to be playing $9-18 or $15-30 or higher to be making any decent kind of money. Poker will change online as well. It may become tougher to beat. More players will become better. They may not become winning players, but they may give up very little.

phish
12-12-2005, 01:02 PM
To butcher Winston Churchill: If you are 20 and not a liberal then you have no heart, if you are 40 and not a consevative then you have no brain.

[/ QUOTE ]

I think the quote is: "If you're not a revolutionary by the age of 20, then you have no heart. But if you're still a revolutionary by the age of 40, then you have no head."

To be 40 and not conservative is not indicative of a weak head. (Tho to be 40 and a revolutionary in America may be.)

But to get back to the question of how much is a good income: I would say that if you're only making 50K a year playing poker, you almost certainly have the brains to make more in another line of work, without the stress and burn out that playing full-time small stakes would induce.

In my opinion, the truly successful pro poker player should not need to play more than 20-30 hours a week (lower end for online players, higher end for live players) to make their nut comfortably and build their bankroll (save), whether this is 50K for a kid just out of college and living with friends, 100K for a person with a modest lifestyle, or 200K+ for someone with family and upper middle class aspirations.

There are simply way too many marginal players miserably squeezing out a subsistence income. Those guys have 'not made it'.

WichitaDM
12-12-2005, 02:16 PM
I have no idea about live pros but i can tell you quite a few people "make it" playing online. I have made in the low six figures the last several years playing maybe 30 hrs or so a week and let me tell you it is awesome compared to the jobs i have had. I have a bachelors and am currently working on a masters and have not decided what i am going to do after i get my graduate degree. I was also a moron who didnt get rakeback until the last few months and so could have probably been making another 40-50k a year just in rakeback at my level of play pushing me up into the 200k+ range. It is possible, and it is a comfortable lifestyle. Sure its stressful sometimes, but its rarely that boring as you can watch tv, listen to music, read 2+2 etc while you are playing 2-3 tables rather easily. Additionally i have a lot of friends that will get together and play poker together which makes it a lot more sane experience than sitting in a room all by urself. (Dont even think collusion lol, we all play diff limits/games).

Basically before poker i was broke, had tons of debt, little free time and no freedom to do what i want. Now i live in a 2500 sq ft house that i bought, have little debt, and the freedom to travel whenever and wherever i want. For me it has been a huge blessing and made my life 100x easier and better so far than a lot of my other 25yr old friends grinding out 25-40k at entry level corporate jobs.

12-12-2005, 02:49 PM
Median household income in the U.S. is $44500, so how can $50k be a 'good' wage? It's basically an average wage.

benfranklin
12-12-2005, 03:43 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Median household income in the U.S. is $44500, so how can $50k be a 'good' wage? It's basically an average wage.

[/ QUOTE ]

The average household is probably a couple, with maybe a kid or two. I think that the assumption in this thread is that we are talking about a young single person making 50K.

In any case, a good wage is in the eye of the beholder. If you like what you are doing and are happy with the money, than you are making a good wage. Much of this thread is pointlessly hung up with judging other people by one's own standards or situation.

12-12-2005, 04:27 PM
[ QUOTE ]

Two answer OP's question; poker, like any other profession, pays proportional to effort. If you want to make 100,000 per year, and were gifted with the raw intellect to do it, you could, provided you learned the skills necessary and put in enough quality hours. If you so desperately need someone to tell you that "its impossible to make a decent living at cards," it's probably because you're not a winning player.

[/ QUOTE ]

I am not desperately trying to find somebody to tell me it's impossible to make a decent living playing poker. If you read the original thread, my basic hypothesis was merely that I thought that there were probably fewer people "making it" than many people assume, and that a lot of the big names don't win as much in poker as you might think (since almost all the big names supplement their income with tangential things like books, etc.).

Also, I never said I wanted to become a poker professional. In fact, I can guarantee you that the chances of that ever happening are almost zero, considering that I definitely can make more in other pursuits than I would make in poker. I merely wanted people's opinions about how many people out there actually made a good living playing poker. I know I could not do it (nor would I want to), that's never been at issue.

12-12-2005, 08:07 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Much of this thread is pointlessly hung up with judging other people by one's own standards or situation.

[/ QUOTE ]

I guess, but I suspect there's also an undercurrent of vastly underestimating how much it costs to raise a family.

12-12-2005, 09:13 PM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Much of this thread is pointlessly hung up with judging other people by one's own standards or situation.

[/ QUOTE ]

I guess, but I suspect there's also an undercurrent of vastly underestimating how much it costs to raise a family.

[/ QUOTE ]

If so, it's surely because many of the people who post here regularly are too young to have a family, or appreciate how much things can cost.

12-12-2005, 10:08 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I am not desperately trying to find somebody to tell me it's impossible to make a decent living playing poker. If you read the original thread, my basic hypothesis was merely that I thought that there were probably fewer people "making it" than many people assume, and that a lot of the big names don't win as much in poker as you might think (since almost all the big names supplement their income with tangential things like books, etc.).

[/ QUOTE ]

I think in your post above you could replace "poker" with just about any small business owner label. Many "mom and pop" shops find themselves in the situation of running a store/business (think of the neighborhood hardware store vs home depot as an example) that in reality they have the intellect and drive to make the same if not better employed for someoneelse. They trade some of the financial success for either non-monetary benefits (freedom of schedule, etc) or for the chance to "make it big" (the big score where they discover some niche and get purchase by a microsoft-type corporation).

Of the number of small business owners I talk with, a large number of the financially successful ones have a diversified portfolios. For example they may have made their original "nut" in making/selling widgets but then have taken that money and invested in the real estate market to build a large recurring income base.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that while you can make $X doing something for 4-8 hours per day it's smart to make $1/8x by signing your name to something and letting the recurring royalties roll in without applying much time/effort to it.

Your observation about people "making it" in poker, could be applied to just about any business/living field.

TheArtist
12-13-2005, 10:02 AM
I think poker players can make a difference.
I think you can make a difference by giving some money to charity when it's needed. Even donating like $100 to $200 to a hurricane disater fund somewhere like the red cross, can make a huge difference. I mean what's $100 bucks when were making thousands right?

Also by playing poker we are helping increasing the poker industry which in turn creating more jobs, and thus lead to more money spend in the economy. Don't forget, how much poker pros are contributing to economy by spending their excess earnings.

Richard