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Old 02-03-2017, 07:55 PM   #1
Beasting
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Career: Poker or IT?

Let's assume pay is equal. Which career would you prefer and why, online cash games or IT? By "IT" I mean web developer, software engineer--sorry but I don't know the general umbrella term for this.

I'm at the crossroads and I'm trying to choose which path to pursue. I'm a profitable grinder so I know what poker is like. I don't know what a career in IT would be like in terms of job satisfaction, overall happiness, etc. Does coding all day get monotonous? Is it a grind too?

Another thing that I've always been curious about is the difference in working at a giant like Apple or Google vs a small company. If anyone reading this has any insight on this or actual work experience at a big as well as a small company, which do you prefer and why?

Last edited by Beasting; 02-03-2017 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 02-03-2017, 07:58 PM   #2
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

Is that you son? Seriously, IT or GTFO (of my basement).
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Old 02-03-2017, 10:06 PM   #3
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

First, I find your assumption of equal pay kind of unlikely. I have been reasonably successful in poker but I'd need to be in the highest echelons of the game to make as much as I make programming.

Personally I found poker to be pretty monotonous after a while.

I have never tired of programming. I do it for work, I do it in my spare time, I do it even when I barely have time for anything else. I am always working on at least 2 or 3 side projects.

I have never liked working at large companies. Companies of 100 or so have seemed about right to me, especially if the bulk of those are tech of some kind (not all programmers, but including IT, ops, engineering, engineering management etc). Possibly the most aggravating job I ever had was working for a company that got bought by UnderArmour.

You don't have to leave poker to pursue a job in programming. I played a lot from about 2004 or 2005 until black friday, some live and some online. During that time I developed a lot of poker tools including a HUD and a tracker that worked on any game, holdem or otherwise, along with a lot of analysis tools. I found being able to program extremely useful. In stud games, for example, I was able to scrape the door cards of each individual and tailor the stats shown on the HUD to the card they were showing. This is really crucial because in, for example, razz, someone's VPIP with an A showing is way higher than their VPIP with a K showing. Knowing their average VPIP is not that helpful.

I don't play poker that much now, maybe 2 times a month at a live game with periods of activity where I might play 5 or 6 times a month. I often find it kind of boring.
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Old 02-04-2017, 03:06 AM   #4
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beasting View Post
Let's assume pay is equal. Which career would you prefer and why, online cash games or IT? By "IT" I mean web developer, software engineer--sorry but I don't know the general umbrella term for this.
If it's equal pay and there was no chance of poker being gone, I still would do programming. If you can rake in more in poker and you are young, I would definitely give poker a run. I personally wouldn't play poker. I'm too old to handle the variance.

Quote:

I'm at the crossroads and I'm trying to choose which path to pursue. I'm a profitable grinder so I know what poker is like. I don't know what a career in IT would be like in terms of job satisfaction, overall happiness, etc. Does coding all day get monotonous? Is it a grind too?
Really depends on the product that you will be working on. Could be boring as hell or really interesting. There are way too much variety.

Quote:

Another thing that I've always been curious about is the difference in working at a giant like Apple or Google vs a small company. If anyone reading this has any insight on this or actual work experience at a big as well as a small company, which do you prefer and why?
I never worked at a startup but I can't imagine myself doing so. Again if you are young and want to take risks, it could be fun. You will have more of an impact and get to to wear different hats.

I prefer working at bigger companies. You rarely have to worry about the company going out of business. There are so many projects going on and you could switch around if you get bored.
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:26 AM   #5
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

online cashgames are not a career though right. do you think you'll be able to make the same as an IT guy 20 years from now?

i think playing poker is fine as long as you enjoy it and make more than you otherwise would, so that after poker you can fund yourself for 2-4 years while you learn something different
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Old 02-04-2017, 07:54 AM   #6
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

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online cashgames are not a career though right.
Is poker a career? Idk. I guess that can be debated. It provides a steady income with flexible hours. What that's called is up to the individual I suppose, but it certainly can be considered a profession imo.

Quote:
do you think you'll be able to make the same as an IT guy 20 years from now?
That's a fair point, and it's hard to say. I would think the earning potential is greater in poker actually if you are a top tier player that continues to work on your game and improve. But the poker landscape and politics are difficult to predict, so in that sense who knows. Obviously anyone in IT can strike it rich too with a start up that booms, so there's plenty of potential there as well. But that would require a bit of luck. Money is definitely not a huge motivating factor for me, however, so long as I'm making enough to pay my bills. IT will obviously cover that and then some, as does poker too, atm. I want to love what I do. I don't love poker, but I don't hate it either. The unknown is whether or not I feel the same way in IT after a few years. I just play poker to pay my bills, not because I love playing. The payoff is once I'm offline I get to do a lot of things that I do love--play sports, shoot pool, play guitar in a band, hang with friends and family, etc. I only "work" about 25 hours a week in poker so it opens up a lot of time for all my hobbies. That said I would trade some leisure time for a career that I am geeked about in a heartbeat. If IT is a stimulating, rewarding career, I'll happily accept significantly longer work weeks and less play time. If it's just meh like poker, then I'm not so sure.

All these posts were really insightful. Hearing stories from people with experience in IT is really helpful. Knowing what it's like to play a lot of poker on a daily basis and having dabbled with a few small IT projects, I can definitely see how and why the consensus is in favor of IT wrt a long term career choice.

Rusty, I sense we have similar personalities. And I too get bored crazy with live poker. Can't do it (unless it's a home game with friends).

Last edited by Beasting; 02-04-2017 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 02-05-2017, 11:33 AM   #7
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

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If IT is a stimulating, rewarding career, I'll happily accept significantly longer work weeks and less play time. If it's just meh like poker, then I'm not so sure
This is partially dependent on the individual. But in general, keep in mind that there are an endless number of directions that you can go in with a tech career. Lots of exciting stuff going on in that world; artificial intelligence, virtual reality, etc. If you have the right tech skills, you have a ton of options. With poker, OTOH, your options are far more limited. In fact, they are often dictated by things completely outside of your control.

After playing poker everyday for ~8 years, I left it behind about 2 years ago. I miss it sometimes but I could never go back. It's one thing when you're in your early 20s, but it really loses its appeal as you grow older and your priorities change. Also, don't underestimate the potential for longterm damage to your health and mental wellbeing that can result from years of gambling. Some people can manage it, but it takes alot of extra effort just to remain somewhat balanced. Other people will get beaten down by it over time no matter how hard they try to counter it.
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Old 02-05-2017, 01:43 PM   #8
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

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After playing poker everyday for ~8 years, I left it behind about 2 years ago. I miss it sometimes but I could never go back. It's one thing when you're in your early 20s, but it really loses its appeal as you grow older and your priorities change.
Same (well, one year), and agree.

Quote:
Also, don't underestimate the potential for longterm damage to your health and mental wellbeing that can result from years of gambling. Some people can manage it, but it takes alot of extra effort just to remain somewhat balanced. Other people will get beaten down by it over time no matter how hard they try to counter it.
I completely disagree with this though. The 25-hours of poker with lots of hobbies/friends/family time lifestyle is much healthier than most people with a fulltime job manage, imo. When I look around me it seems really hard to do all those things, have a fulltime job, and not burn out from the 0 downtime.
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Old 02-05-2017, 03:40 PM   #9
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

I work full time, bike around 12 hours/week, do a lot of recreational programming, have 3 or so active hobbies, read 30-60 minutes/day, spend time with my family, etc. Working 40 hours/week isn't some kind of monastic death sentence.
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Old 02-06-2017, 12:36 PM   #10
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

Vote for IT
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Old 02-06-2017, 12:37 PM   #11
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

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After playing poker everyday for ~8 years, I left it behind about 2 years ago. I miss it sometimes but I could never go back. It's one thing when you're in your early 20s, but it really loses its appeal as you grow older and your priorities change. Also, don't underestimate the potential for longterm damage to your health and mental wellbeing that can result from years of gambling. Some people can manage it, but it takes alot of extra effort just to remain somewhat balanced. Other people will get beaten down by it over time no matter how hard they try to counter it.
True.
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:47 PM   #12
Beasting
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

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Originally Posted by Mossberg View Post
Also, don't underestimate the potential for longterm damage to your health and mental wellbeing that can result from years of gambling. Some people can manage it, but it takes alot of extra effort just to remain somewhat balanced. Other people will get beaten down by it over time no matter how hard they try to counter it.
I definitely hear what you're saying. There are so many pitfalls associated with gambling for a living. I think it depends largely on the individual however. Bad beats and periods of run bad kind of roll off me. I have a very low tilt threshold. I can see how poker can be horrible for mental health if bad beats tilt you, however. As for the exercise, sure there are probably poker players that sit for 12 hours at a time. Probably some programmers that do the same. A 25 hour work week will free up more time for activities, but there's no reason a 40 hour work week shouldn't give you ample time to exercise too. Working a 65+ hour work week might present some problems though.
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:51 PM   #13
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

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I have a very low tilt threshold.
Brainfart. A very high tilt threshold (I don't tilt easily)
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Old 02-07-2017, 03:08 PM   #14
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

the same income without any variance. tough choice.
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:19 AM   #15
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

If you choose poker ahead of IT in 2017 there is a 100% chance you will regret it.
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:10 AM   #16
Beasting
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

I'm a perfectionist by nature. I find fault in things and ways to improve features in almost every app I use, as well as in my iPhone. Because of this I would think that a QA testing role would be right up my alley. But I'm not sure if these jobs are still around. Are they, and if so what path would I have to take to go from where I am now (basically no skills) to getting a job? Is it essentially the same path as web dev/software engineers would take? Perhaps wanting to perfect a pre-existing product is more of a management thing than a QA thing?? I really don't know much about the hierarchy in tech companies and how PMs get to be PMs and who pushes what buttons. It's a fascinating field from the eyes of an outsider like myself. Fascinating but very grand and confusing. Pardon my ignorance.
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Old 02-09-2017, 01:30 PM   #17
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

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Originally Posted by Beasting View Post
I'm a perfectionist by nature. I find fault in things and ways to improve features in almost every app I use, as well as in my iPhone. Because of this I would think that a QA testing role would be right up my alley. But I'm not sure if these jobs are still around. Are they, and if so what path would I have to take to go from where I am now (basically no skills) to getting a job? Is it essentially the same path as web dev/software engineers would take? Perhaps wanting to perfect a pre-existing product is more of a management thing than a QA thing?? I really don't know much about the hierarchy in tech companies and how PMs get to be PMs and who pushes what buttons. It's a fascinating field from the eyes of an outsider like myself. Fascinating but very grand and confusing. Pardon my ignorance.
I've never done it before but my understanding of QA testing is more tedious than what you're describing. My understanding is you make sure that other people's code works. You don't create features or program new stuff. You make sure the software runs and if it doesn't you simply report that it doesn't.

Also being a perfectionist can be good for some parts of the coding process and can be a detriment when coding for business where time constraints and demands from management force you to push out code that works but may not be "perfect" if there is such a thing in code. As long as you can be OK with that it's not a problem.
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Old 02-09-2017, 06:01 PM   #18
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

These days I think a lot of QA jobs are programming jobs, you're writing tests or writing testing infrastructure. I haven't worked anywhere in at least 10 years that had people doing any significant amount of manual testing.
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Old 02-09-2017, 06:31 PM   #19
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

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Originally Posted by RustyBrooks View Post
These days I think a lot of QA jobs are programming jobs, you're writing tests or writing testing infrastructure. I haven't worked anywhere in at least 10 years that had people doing any significant amount of manual testing.


Unless you're talking about testing procedures and controls, but that falls outside of the IT realm.

If you're unsure which what to choose look for a consulting gig and negotiate your contract to be part time. Play poker the other half.

If you're looking for the best career advice, and what it best for your 5 year plan, go with IT.


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Old 02-09-2017, 06:44 PM   #20
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

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Originally Posted by RustyBrooks View Post
These days I think a lot of QA jobs are programming jobs, you're writing tests or writing testing infrastructure. I haven't worked anywhere in at least 10 years that had people doing any significant amount of manual testing.
Yeah I guess that was my understanding as well. I guess by create I meant in terms of the application/system your testing for. You're not a part of creating features for the application. I could be totally off on that too just my impression from the outside looking in.

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Old 02-09-2017, 10:27 PM   #21
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

No, I think you're right about that. But creating features for your company's product is not the only thing your company needs to do. A company with 10 programmers might have a staff of 100 other people doing stuff. All that stuff has got to be done too. As programmers we tend to think our part is the most important part but we don't get paid without the rest.

However, I also have not really seen much in the way of dedicated QA departments in my last few jobs. What is much more common is a focus on unit testing, functional testing and integration testing, written by the people writing the features. This has it's good and bad sides.

Something interesting that I've seen some recently is that if "you" are in charge of a project, people can request features in the form of unit tests. That is, they write some unit tests of how they want the feature to perform. You accept the feature request by merging their test branch into your dev branch. You code until the tests pass, and then the feature is considered complete.

This assumes, of course, that the test writer can get his test "right" on first go - there is usually some back and forth. But I have found that it leads to a lot fewer misunderstanding and missed expectations. If the code passes the test, then both parties ought to be satisfied.
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:54 AM   #22
Beasting
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

I really appreciate all the feedback. I'm going to take the plunge. Don't know really where to start. Probably go through Odin or something. There's so many rabbit holes I really don't know what path to follow but I guess all that will work itself out in due time.
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Old 02-10-2017, 07:12 AM   #23
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

If you want to stay on the fence a bit longer, Will Tipton has a great video series that has you building a river solver in Python (assuming no prior coding knowledge). Would strongly recommend.
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Old 02-10-2017, 08:12 AM   #24
Beasting
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

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If you want to stay on the fence a bit longer, Will Tipton has a great video series that has you building a river solver in Python (assuming no prior coding knowledge). Would strongly recommend.
Sweat. Thanks.
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:50 AM   #25
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Re: Career: Poker or IT?

I've been considering artificial intelligence personally.
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