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Old 02-28-2017, 12:21 PM   #1
Contemplating
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Should I go pro again?

Hi 2p2,

I am writing under a new username as I don't want my ideas disclosed to real life connections just yet.

From 2008 through 2010 I played poker professionally, at stakes ranging mostly from NL600-5000. I did very well, running at around 5 evbb/100 over the course of those three years. After a lot of thinking I ended up studying economics, where I finished my master's degree last summer. I am now working a full-time job as an accountant, at a decent firm. I am making around $2800 after tax every month. However, I find the job extremely boring, as it consists of mindless posting of invoices and forwarding of mails most of the time.

Unfortunately, unlike some, I wasn't very smart with my money when I was playing high stakes, so most of it is gone (I have some stuff, like a car etc, and a little bit of savings). If I were to get my hands on similar amounts of cash again, this time would be very different. Like previously stated, I've got a master's degree in economics now, and I'm quite a bit older.

For the last two to three years I've also been grinding NL200-400 on the side, playing about 450k hands where I've ran at 5,5 evbb/100. I recently invested in excellent coaching, after which my game got better, and I forecast my winrate to improve a bit as well (I'm picturing ~7evbb/100 with proper game selecting, at nl200 at least). My only issue is that I'm kind of fried after a whole day of accounting, and I also have to set aside time for my gf, hobbies and also just life in general. Therefore I am currently only playing around 2 hours per day after work, and a lot more on the weekends.

I really like the certainty that the job provides, and the added value to my curriculum. The reason I took the job in the first place was that I wanted some work experience to go with my degree. Before I got the job in september, I had only played poker, apart from some seminar teaching I did at the university while getting my master's (to get work experience, and also put myself out of the comfort zone).

If I do decide to go back to playing full-time, I'll likely make a lot more money than I am at the moment. I don't currently own a house, but I'm renting very cheap from my gf who has her own place. The downside to going pro is that no bank is going to want to give me a loan based on me playing professionally, and so I'd need the whole net amount (~$200k give or take 50) before I could buy a place with my gf. If I stay in the job, I'd only need to win ~$50k, cash that out, and get a loan for the remaining sum to buy a place with her. I know there's a ton of uncertainty in poker, but at 5 bb/100 I'd have the additional $50k by the end of the year, if I continue to put in between 2-3 hours per day on average.

Below I'll try to list some pros and cons, and hopefully you guys can chime in with some more pros and cons, or just general advice.

Cons: The job offers certainty. I have all of my expenses covered, plus I can save ~$500 every month. Future career opportunities. Network. I can play poker without having to cash out for living expenses, thus allowing me to move up in stakes quicker (obviously offset by the fact that I'm playing a lot less). Stress related to having to win, both personally, but also in order to justify the potential decision of leaving the job to friends/family/gf. I'd get more gaps in my CV that I would eventually have to explain to an employer when poker just isn't profitable enough any more. Uncertainty in the job market - if I quit now, it might be much harder to get a job when I decide to leave poker. Poker is drying up. The arrival of AI etc. Probably won't be too many years left of online poker being as profitable as it is now. However, this could also be seen as a pro, since there's not much time left if I'm going to do this.

Pros: Money. Freedom. Travel. Not having to put up with colleagues and bosses. Not having to put up with a job that I find very unsatisfying. I'm currently making ~$25 per hour pre tax, whereas over the last 450k hands at mostly NL200 I have $65/hr excluding RB. If I just put in the hours I feel confident that I'll eventually make it back to at least NL1K, and hopefully above. I'd be playing a game that I love, and this time I'd be motivated by knowing what the real life alternative is. Furthermore, I'd know how to invest my money, should I go on to become a HS reg again. I won't lose my degree, so it shouldn't be impossible to get a job once I leave poker, it would just be much more difficult.

Current plan: Continue working for a few months, while I accumulate a healthy bankroll for NL400 (~30-40k, with a ~$10k buffer on a savings account) and gain work experience, and potentially go pro again once I'm established at NL400.

What do you guys think?

Thanks for reading.
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Old 02-28-2017, 12:34 PM   #2
ORANGEFAN
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Re: Should I go pro again?

OP,

I can relate to your situation. Actually, a few friends of mine in poker are in the same spot. I'm at a job making $3300 a month net and it's extremely unsatisfying. Have been playing 1/2 and 2/5 regularly and have been winning at an unsustainable long term rate. I have expressed to my boss the level of dissatisfaction I have here and I have probably waited too long for a reason to move on. Anyway...

I don't have much to offer other than to say the job market is very difficult. Many people I know have degrees and are rock solid people, but cannot find jobs for > $50k/annually. Stay patient and make sure you're 100% committed (and rolled). Choosing an occupation with more flexible hours also could work if you're winning at 5-7bb/hour and are enjoying your 40 hours/week on the felt.

GL!
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Old 03-01-2017, 12:01 PM   #3
niceguy22
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Re: Should I go pro again?

You were pro, but obviously decided not to do it anymore because it wasnt fulfilling enough, or whatever the reason. Seems like a "grass is greener" type of situation. Think of why you changed paths earlier and go from there.
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Old 03-01-2017, 12:20 PM   #4
Contemplating
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Re: Should I go pro again?

The reason I changed paths earlier was largely related to fear of tax repercussions, based on ancient laws that hadn't been revised for >100 years. To sum it up, I was paying ~28% tax, but if I had kept winning ~$200k per year they could potentially have bumped me up to 50%, and demand the missing 22% from the previous years as well. Lately that changed, and now the tax government is a lot more lenient towards poker players, and I wouldn't run the same risks now that I did back then. Another concern was that I wanted a plan B in case poker didn't work out. Before I started studying, my plan was actually to return to the grind once I had something to fall back on.
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Old 03-01-2017, 07:50 PM   #5
adam001
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Almost anything beats slaving away 9-5 in an unsatisfying job saving 500$ a month until u retire and are too old/lazy to do anything or die. Remember, time is the most valuable currency, and happiness is the only logical end goal. Whoever has more happy minutes "wins". Dont waste 2/3 of your life doing something you dont enjoy just for security.

That said, id say ur in the top 1% of people who can objectively among intelligent people give it a shot.
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Old 03-01-2017, 08:36 PM   #6
hitman4hire
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Here is the reality:

You need!

Custom software to even compete,
Cheating and colluding is now rampant,
No holiday pay,
Tax,
No sick pay,
No pay when the site goes down with the Titanic and bankroll is gone,
No fish online live poker is were they live in 2017,
Limited player pools that curtail earnings,
Hope for run good and EV runs correct downswings break the rich.
No need to make a buck from poker make sure you have enough subscribers and click bait the **** out of your brand,

You will have better EV playing the Markets if you are intelligent enough,

I will never play pro again.

Oh and BTW I know brokers who make more than most HS pros and fund managers who make even more poker is not the place anymore to try an make a buck.

Good example look at this Hasseb Quresh cheats the **** outta anyone and is now paid $250k PA I **** you not.

Last edited by hitman4hire; 03-01-2017 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 03-02-2017, 08:26 AM   #7
Contemplating
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hitman4hire View Post
Here is the reality:

You need!

Custom software to even compete,
Cheating and colluding is now rampant,
No holiday pay,
Tax,
No sick pay,
No pay when the site goes down with the Titanic and bankroll is gone,
No fish online live poker is were they live in 2017,
Limited player pools that curtail earnings,
Hope for run good and EV runs correct downswings break the rich.
No need to make a buck from poker make sure you have enough subscribers and click bait the **** out of your brand,

You will have better EV playing the Markets if you are intelligent enough,

I will never play pro again.

Oh and BTW I know brokers who make more than most HS pros and fund managers who make even more poker is not the place anymore to try an make a buck.

Good example look at this Hasseb Quresh cheats the **** outta anyone and is now paid $250k PA I **** you not.
Read through some of your previous posts regarding Stars and Unibet being rigged. Poker is, and probably will stay beatable for a couple more years at least. "Playing the markets" require a healthy bankroll to begin with, so it doesn't really present an option for me at the moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam001 View Post
Almost anything beats slaving away 9-5 in an unsatisfying job saving 500$ a month until u retire and are too old/lazy to do anything or die. Remember, time is the most valuable currency, and happiness is the only logical end goal. Whoever has more happy minutes "wins". Dont waste 2/3 of your life doing something you dont enjoy just for security.

That said, id say ur in the top 1% of people who can objectively among intelligent people give it a shot.
Thank you for your input, and the compliment.

If I somehow knew that I would be able get a decent job once I decided to leave poker (again), it'd be a no-brainer.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:00 PM   #8
Yeti
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Re: Should I go pro again?

absolutely terrible idea imo. continue playing in your spare time and actively try to further your career in your work time.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:06 PM   #9
whitemares
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Given that you were once a mid/high stakes pro, I think you probably have a better idea than many about how much longer it will be possible to make a living playing online poker.

If you truly believe that it's not going to be possible to make a living playing online poker within the next ~5 years, I'd do it as soon as you can. Enjoy the time you have left with it and find another low-level accounting job when it's time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hitman4hire View Post
Here is the reality:

You need!

Custom software to even compete,
Cheating and colluding is now rampant,
No holiday pay,
Tax,
No sick pay,
No pay when the site goes down with the Titanic and bankroll is gone,
No fish online live poker is were they live in 2017,
Limited player pools that curtail earnings,
Hope for run good and EV runs correct downswings break the rich.
No need to make a buck from poker make sure you have enough subscribers and click bait the **** out of your brand,
Really? You need custom software to have a positive winrate in mid stakes online? And lol at no fish online.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:40 AM   #10
JonIrenicus
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam001 View Post
Almost anything beats slaving away 9-5 in an unsatisfying job saving 500$ a month until u retire and are too old/lazy to do anything or die. Remember, time is the most valuable currency, and happiness is the only logical end goal. Whoever has more happy minutes "wins". Dont waste 2/3 of your life doing something you dont enjoy just for security.

That said, id say ur in the top 1% of people who can objectively among intelligent people give it a shot.
Pretty much this.
However hitman has some good points as well.

Still, the regular job clearly doesn't make you happy. Sounds like you view it as some kind of prison so pretty much anything is better than that.

You're still young and you should aim to do something on your own instead, it can be poker at first and after it dies online you could try for live or for some other type of "freelance" work.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:53 PM   #11
IneedpaidFF
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Re: Should I go pro again?

My problem with being a pro poker player is I've had over 250 grand i've won not paid out to me by 3 poker sites that owed me a ton and closed and screwed us all over
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:24 PM   #12
ArtPlay
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Gonna go slightly out of the scope of your question sorry.

First, there's more to professional life than basic 5-9 or gambling for a living.

Accounting skills in particular are extremely useful to any entrepreneurial venture.

Most people would tell you "eh grind some money from poker then start your company" but miss the whole point that a poker player is generally not suited to run a company. Having this specific accounting skillset though, you're much better equipped than most and I would urge you to consider it.

(I personally started my own business and being unable to do my own accounting was one of the main reason why I lost motivation in it. And "accounting" goes a longer way than just crunching number, but should also often prepare you to manage legal and contractual aspects)

It's a skill that makes you very valueable as an associate, even if you don't want to go on your own.


Commenting on another one of your points, and again in my personal opinion, I see something quite incoherent in your post :

Quote:
The downside to going pro is that no bank is going to want to give me a loan based on me playing professionally, and so I'd need the whole net amount (~$200k give or take 50) before I could buy a place with my gf
vs

Quote:
Pros: Freedom. Travel.
Seriously, if you value your freedom and the ability to travel (which I also understand as you entertaining the possibility of living abroad), don't buy a flat. Buying a flat is opposite to any ideal you may have as a poker player.

It anchors you down to one place, it's much more hassle than just renting your place, and god forbid you ever want to live far away and rent it, the ****storm of hassle and incompetence you'll have to face will be gut-wrenching. At least, again, it's my personal experience, for it's a mistake I have myself made, buying in France before moving away to Australia 2 years later, wp genius.

Now you may think, like most people "yeah but renting is basically lighting money on fire !!!". This is generally not true, you can easily check online that the benefits of buying vs renting are not all that obvious economically speaking.

This is most especially not true if you don't plan on living in the place you're buying for a LONG period of time. So if you want it to make any economical sense, do no even consider living abroad.

Usually the girlfriend would be pressuring the boyfriend into that (personal experience again, sigh), talk some sense into her .
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:16 PM   #13
Contemplating
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Thank you for your reply, ArtPlay, and to everyone else who has replied.

I agree that accounting is very valuable to have on the résumé. Studying economics, you're not really exposed to accounting much, so it should make me eligible for some jobs in the future that would otherwise have been off limits. Also, as you mentioned, it's good to have in the toolbox if you're starting up something.

Regarding the "Freedom. Travel." part of the pros I listed, I wasn't really referring to moving abroad. I picture myself living here for the foreseeable future. To be honest I'd like to own something in my hometown as long as I'm alive, starting asap.

I was more referring to the freedom of deciding my own hours, and not having to tell my boss several months in advance if I want to go somewhere. Being spontaneous doesn't really mix well with having a full-time job.

In other news, I'm up a bit over 50 buyins from NL200 since the 1st of february (I didn't play in january), running at 12 evbb/100. At one third of that winrate I'd still be able to move up to NL400 in a few months. I also consulted a law firm that specializes in poker cases, to help guide me. From our initial talks, I got the impression that I likely won't have to tax on my poker winnings at all if I keep the job.

On the other hand, it sounds like I might have to pay ~25-40% if I start playing full-time again. We scheduled a meeting this week, and I'll have them draw up a plan for both scenarios (professional/side hustle). We'll just have to wait and see what they say, but from what I could gather that's where it's at for the moment. This time around, regardless of whether I'm going pro or just hustling on the side, I want to get a jump start on everything related to taxes. I remember vividly how much thought and concern was wasted on the subject back in 08 and 09. I also think this is a good piece of advice for aspiring up-and-comers.
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:27 PM   #14
Johnnyreno
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Here is an additional thought. Can you get a part time job you like - how about 30 hours a week at Costco, Trader Joe's, Or Home Depot.
You get benefits and the flexibility of being part time while getting a base salary.

Than you can work and play poker until you have a house paid for somewhere....

A $100k house in vegas or wherever can be rented out for cash flow!

Just saying.
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Old 03-15-2017, 04:49 AM   #15
Contemplating
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnyreno View Post
Here is an additional thought. Can you get a part time job you like - how about 30 hours a week at Costco, Trader Joe's, Or Home Depot.
You get benefits and the flexibility of being part time while getting a base salary.

Than you can work and play poker until you have a house paid for somewhere....

A $100k house in vegas or wherever can be rented out for cash flow!

Just saying.
I'm Scandinavian, and wouldn't want a house in LV. My economic plan is quite simple, first I want to buy a place with my girlfriend, then I want to invest as much as I can in low-cost index funds.

That being said, the idea of getting a part-time job related to economics could be interesting. I'll have the lawyers look into that scenario as well.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:21 AM   #16
ohmyrage
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Either get a part time job or start your own small business doing tax preparation or whatever skills you have and play poker on the side
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Old 03-17-2017, 01:51 PM   #17
nick619
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Don't forget that you may eventually want to retire. It's not like Pokerstars is going to cut you a paycheck for the rest of your life after playing with them for 20 years. For example, I'm about to retire from the military after 20 years. The second I do, I will get a paycheck for the rest of my life for an amount that exceeds what your current job is paying you. I have the option to go pro after I retire because I know I have that steady income coming no matter what. Only thing you can do when you retire from poker while having no other source of income is hope to God you have a ton of savings in your bank account.

Lets not forget health insurance. When you're young, most people really don't think about it....but they should. The cancer bug can get anyone and if you don't have good health insurance, you're screwed (speaking from the American perspective. I know some countries have free health insurance for all.).

Just two big reasons that a typical career is better than going pro in poker. Sounds like you simply need a career field change, buddy.
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Old 03-17-2017, 10:01 PM   #18
Contemplating
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nick619 View Post
Don't forget that you may eventually want to retire. It's not like Pokerstars is going to cut you a paycheck for the rest of your life after playing with them for 20 years. For example, I'm about to retire from the military after 20 years. The second I do, I will get a paycheck for the rest of my life for an amount that exceeds what your current job is paying you.
Thank you for your reply and congratulations on what I assume to have been a successful career.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick619 View Post
Only thing you can do when you retire from poker while having no other source of income is hope to God you have a ton of savings in your bank account.
As I’ve mentioned I don't plan on returning to poker for good, regardless of taxes and all other factors. I predict that online poker only has a few years left of being as profitable as the situation is now. I am therefore contemplating a return to playing full-time in order to try and maximize my share of what is left. Our situations are vastly different seeing as I'm 29 years old. I still think there is time enough to have a successful working career even if I should choose to leave the job market for 2-5 years. The problem would be getting back in. Furthermore, investments made early on in life can go a long way in securing a good retirement, given that you can acquire enough capital, due to compounding.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick619 View Post
Lets not forget health insurance. When you're young, most people really don't think about it....but they should. The cancer bug can get anyone and if you don't have good health insurance, you're screwed (speaking from the American perspective. I know some countries have free health insurance for all.).
Luckily everyone is covered where I'm from.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick619 View Post
Just two big reasons that a typical career is better than going pro in poker. Sounds like you simply need a career field change, buddy.
I’ll await further counseling from the lawyers before drawing any conclusions, but what I can say now is that I won’t be staying in accounting for the rest of my working life.
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Old 03-20-2017, 02:32 AM   #19
Rapidesh123
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Re: Should I go pro again?

don't get in debt to buy a house if you're paying pretty small for the rent, try to get the cash and then try to bargain it vs someone who is desperate, liquidity helps a lot when you want to get an edge when buying a house.

have you thought about looking for a better job? One which you enjoy, so you can move higher in the company and make more $$$?

poker is a good side income, remember that you will be making more/hour playing poker when you have stability than when you don't have, the pressure makes it harder to play well.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:35 PM   #20
Contemplating
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Re: Should I go pro again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rapidesh123 View Post
don't get in debt to buy a house if you're paying pretty small for the rent, try to get the cash and then try to bargain it vs someone who is desperate, liquidity helps a lot when you want to get an edge when buying a house.
Good advice in theory. In practice, saving up ~$200k at a normal 9-5 with MSNL on the side is going to take a while.
Additionally, interest rates are at an all time low.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rapidesh123 View Post
have you thought about looking for a better job? One which you enjoy, so you can move higher in the company and make more $$$?
I'm actively checking listings, but I don't live in a very big city, so there's not much available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rapidesh123 View Post
poker is a good side income, remember that you will be making more/hour playing poker when you have stability than when you don't have, the pressure makes it harder to play well.
This statement assumes that I'd be scared money/start playing differently if I didn't have the additional $2800 coming in every month. It also fails to take into account the extra time I'd have to study and improve my game, the increased average stakes I'd be playing and the increased amount of experience I'd acquire.
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