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Secrets of an online poker player

Online gambling's legal status is murky.

By Karen Datko Oct 6, 2009 11:38PM

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). 


Related reading:

Published Aug. 7, 2009
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