Secrets of an online poker player
Online gambling's legal status is murky.
What's life like for professional poker players, particularly those who earn their living online? An anonymous pro sheds some light on the occupation in a guest post at Budgets are Sexy.
It's a fascinating read, and enough to convince us we'd rather work at Wal-Mart than embark on multi-table tournament play. Too much stress. Too many possibilities to go broke going for broke.
Oh, and did we mention that while the legal status of online poker appears to be somewhat murky, the people who really count -- those at the U.S. Justice Department -- insist it's a crime?
According to The Associated Press, the Poker Players Alliance is lobbying Congress to pass a bill to license and regulate online poker, and return $30 million in poker winnings the government recently froze in the accounts of payment processors.
Here are some of the highlights from "Confessions of an online poker player":
You can set your own schedule, but it will cost you. "Playing from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday nights, and (midnight) to 5 a.m. on Saturday nights is as profitable as playing eight hours a day Monday-Thursday," he writes.
The value of money becomes blurred. What's $100 when you can win -- or lose -- $5,000 in a day? He says that "$100 is nothing at the poker table, but when you return to the real world, $100 should be the same to you as anyone else making $50,000 to $100,000 annual income."
If you want to get famous, go with multi-table or MTT. But you won't be doing much else. "The problem is six-hour days turn into 14-hour or even 20-hour days, without breaks for meals or even using the bathroom, without taking a laptop with you," he says. We'll pass.
It's a job. The anonymous player says, "The chance of winning
big is the fun of poker; otherwise it becomes the same grind of any
other job, without the guaranteed income and health insurance."
Another fascinating and much longer read about the poker profession is a profile of Chris Ferguson in The New Yorker (registration required).
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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