unless my friends (18-25 range mostly) who actually know about me making my way via cards are lying to me just to be nice, the average person definitely thinks what we do is F'ing awesome and is always at least envious
Of all the people I've told I'm a poker player, almost all have been pretty stoked by it. The few that haven't thought it was just gambling and had no friends that did it.
Regardless, these quasi professional poker players have enhanced the general public's image of poker over the years. Back in the day people knew nothing about it and would say "Oh, you can't be good at that. It's all luck." Now people at least understand it enough to ask questions about it, say that's cool, whatever but the point is they refrain saying ignorant statements like they would in the past. You can thank these $50k a year grinders (which by the way is more than the avg. US salary so LOL at that) for enhancing people's view of the general public.