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Old 03-16-2021, 06:21 AM   #1
CheckRIP
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How to tell my family about poker?

Wasnt sure in which forum to post this but I thought this was the most appropriate.

So Im from a family that I know will have a hard time accepting me taking poker more seriously, especially my mom who comes from a background where gambling is a big nope. Im an adult and obviously dont need any permission, but I value our relationship and was wondering if someone here has been in the same spot and how you approached it?

She doesnt know I play at all and knows next to nothing about the game, just the usual negative prejudice. Im now considering it as a serious source of income and will have to break this to her at some point, the sooner the better.

My thought was to try to expain the game from a mathematical POV, the standard deviation, how variance works and why it is profitable for competent players in the long run. She is somewhat into the stock market and interested in investing so my plan was to take that approach since from a low resolution perspective that is basically exactly what poker is.

Any ideas? Something I should be prepared for?
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Old 03-16-2021, 08:18 AM   #2
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

Honestly, explaining it in great detail probably won't work as well as you hope. In my experience, if they're already negative towards gambling they may never accept it.

They'll be more likely to tolerate it if/when you make some decent money from it. But again, any sign of a downswing and be prepared to hear how "your luck has run out".

That's my anecdotal advice anyway. If you do try to explain it keep it simple. Hourly earnings, not standard deviations.
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Old 03-16-2021, 09:49 PM   #3
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

I don't think you should tell them. If they have a negative bias about poker, they will not care about your edge. They will focus on the fact that any dollar you win is a dollar someone else loses.

I'd say I have pretty open-minded parents, and even mine had a bit of apprehension. Tell them you are in finance doing something like arbitrage.
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Old 03-17-2021, 12:41 PM   #4
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

Tell her you're buying a motorcycle too and when she freaks out, relent and say, okay, no motorcycle.
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Old 03-18-2021, 01:29 PM   #5
CheckRIP
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

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Originally Posted by zica View Post
Tell her you're buying a motorcycle too and when she freaks out, relent and say, okay, no motorcycle.
Haggling level 100

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Originally Posted by VeniceMerchant View Post
I don't think you should tell them. If they have a negative bias about poker, they will not care about your edge. They will focus on the fact that any dollar you win is a dollar someone else loses.

I'd say I have pretty open-minded parents, and even mine had a bit of apprehension. Tell them you are in finance doing something like arbitrage.
Tbh Id rather have it be an issue than lie for mabye a long time, including extended family and family friends. I dont think its viable and not what I want to do

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Originally Posted by The Imp View Post
Honestly, explaining it in great detail probably won't work as well as you hope. In my experience, if they're already negative towards gambling they may never accept it.

They'll be more likely to tolerate it if/when you make some decent money from it. But again, any sign of a downswing and be prepared to hear how "your luck has run out".

That's my anecdotal advice anyway. If you do try to explain it keep it simple. Hourly earnings, not standard deviations.
Yeah I will make sure to focus on that. Thanks
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Old 03-19-2021, 02:24 PM   #6
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

Don’t expect her to accept it no matter how you try to frame it. Anticipate her disappointment and disapproval, don’t be angered by it, and still let her know you love her. Expect it to be a riff between you and her for a long time to come but don’t allow the riff to become a chasm and don’t let it define your relationship with her.

I know it’s hard to believe in this day and age but it really is possible to disagree with someone and still maintain a loving and caring relationship. I think that should be the primary focus of your conversation rather than the intricacies of poker and/or trying to convince each other of the rightness or wrongness of your poker playing.
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Old 03-20-2021, 06:12 AM   #7
CheckRIP
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

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Originally Posted by Dr. Meh View Post
Dont expect her to accept it no matter how you try to frame it. Anticipate her disappointment and disapproval, dont be angered by it, and still let her know you love her. Expect it to be a riff between you and her for a long time to come but dont allow the riff to become a chasm and dont let it define your relationship with her.

I know its hard to believe in this day and age but it really is possible to disagree with someone and still maintain a loving and caring relationship. I think that should be the primary focus of your conversation rather than the intricacies of poker and/or trying to convince each other of the rightness or wrongness of your poker playing.
Great advice, thank you
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Old 03-20-2021, 07:06 AM   #8
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

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Originally Posted by CheckRIP View Post
So Im from a family that I know will have a hard time accepting me taking poker more seriously, especially my mom who comes from a background where gambling is a big nope. Im an adult and obviously dont need any permission, but I value our relationship and was wondering if someone here has been in the same spot and how you approached it?
Same same

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Originally Posted by CheckRIP View Post
She doesnt know I play at all and knows next to nothing about the game, just the usual negative prejudice. Im now considering it as a serious source of income and will have to break this to her at some point, the sooner the better.
very, very wrong, i'll go into this further but the key word is "considering" as in it's theoretical and requires a leap of faith that your family clearly won't jump on

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Originally Posted by CheckRIP View Post
My thought was to try to expain the game from a mathematical POV, the standard deviation, how variance works and why it is profitable for competent players in the long run. She is somewhat into the stock market and interested in investing so my plan was to take that approach since from a low resolution perspective that is basically exactly what poker is.
terrible idea, this is like telling your mom how much you love oxycontin as a morning pick-me-up and then showing her some charts or even academic journals discussing its responsible applications

doesn't matter what data you feed her telling her it's totally cool and safe, she's not going to suddenly do a 180 and change her mind on opoids and sign off on you becoming a functional junkie based on a single chart

if her mind is made up on poker then theory is only going to have her lose respect for someone who drank the koolaid

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Any ideas? Something I should be prepared for?
they won't take you seriously, especially at a theoretical stage and it's possible you'll keep them up at night worrying about what they did wrong as parents to lead you to this kind of flawed decision making

wait until you have irrefutable evidence that you're not only able to play but able to earn a living from it - one thing i've seen mentioned in a bunch of interviews with well known pros was that it wasn't until they were on tv that their family finally conceded there could be a genuine career there. for me my family didn't accept poker was a possible route until they put two and two together and realized that's how i was paying for a lifestyle where i was traveling the world - even then i still got relentless pressure to get some kind of respectable work, even if part time just so if i wanted to quit poker in my 30s i wouldn't have a black hole on my resume - after a few years i saw enough old and washed up pros who were miserable in their lives and started looking for work outside poker before it was too late - to this day I'm incredibly grateful they did this

not saying to grind the pokergo circuit or live irresponsibly, just that the only way to convince them you can do this is to have already done it and for a lengthy period of time, not just that, but living demonstratably better off than if you chose a path more to their liking, this should be at least 2x-3x earnings because they'll know things like you aren't getting employer matching 401k contributions nor medical insurance, paid vacation and most importantly a career ladder that will pay you much more going forward that it will now

for eample, if you join an insurance company at an entry level position and stick with it and succeed, in 20 years time you'll be earning 3x+ what you are earning now - poker won't offer this, your income will be flat and very likely decrease as the games tend to get harder each year and this current pandemic economy is a unique situation temporarily making the games easier

while some progress and move up in stakes, for every one of them there are 100 who went busto and another hundred who plateued and never progressed - 2p2 is full of people who had strong reputations and then went busto and scammed the community on their way out, it's also full of people playing 2/5 professionally for over a decade with little other options in life

this isn't a knock on those people, just pointing out that even if you crush 2/5 this year, chances are far more likely you'll still be playing 2/5 or bust out within 10 years rather than move on up to 5/10 etc

i don't know if you're doing live or online, it doesn't matter, the path is the same

prove it by doing it, then show them you did instead of trying to convince them you can because until you actually do it, they'll never believe

but honestly, the honeymoon period will wear off after a few years and then you'll be no more personally satisfied with playing than the starbucks barista is clocking into his job

unlike most people who become pros, you seem to have options, you should strongly consider them, the best thing about a poker grind is you can still put in a lot of hours while holding down a regular job

Last edited by rickroll; 03-20-2021 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 03-21-2021, 04:54 PM   #9
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

Tough situation. Good on you for not wanting to lie and for valuing your relationships.

It's hard to answer without knowing more. You seem to focus mainly on your mom being opposed to gambling. What is the root of her opposition? Is it based on religion? Did she have an uncle who lost his house shooting craps? Does she think it will lead you into a life of crime by associating with unsavory characters? Has she had a gambling problem herself? Figuring out exactly what worries her is key to figuring out how to approach the situation.

How strongly is your mom likely to react? Are we talking about her disowning you and never allowing your name to be spoken in her house again or are we talking about her just feeling disappointed but willing to trust you to live your own life? How sure are you about this?

How about the other members of your family? Will they object as strongly and for the same reasons as your mom or will they mostly be objecting just to go along with her?

Is there anyone that your mom respects that might be willing to intercede if things get bad?
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Old 03-21-2021, 05:06 PM   #10
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

this one is easy, and it's all about how you frame it.

first explain how modern day successful people usually have multiple revenue streams. share poker as a serious hobby that you are gifted at. do not glamorize it, or get into how important it is to you. talk about it as an investment. it wouldn't hurt to buy a few shares of stock and open a retirement account, showing how it's tied together. tell them your options are still open to doing other things, and this may be temporary.

if this doesn't work, there is no hope at all in bringing it up.
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Old 03-23-2021, 09:50 AM   #11
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

most likely they won't support you but they might accept the fact and avoid the subject in the future
which is the right way to think about it actually as far as they're concerned seeing as the majority don't make it in poker
I wouldn't have high hopes if I were you, talking to some people about this stuff is like having a conversation about religion or politics. pointless.
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Old 03-23-2021, 12:58 PM   #12
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

I really appreciate you guys taking the time to answer, Im reading everything carefully

So more in depth...

Poker situation:

I lost about 50% of my job volume due to covid and have had more time for poker, have spent a lot of time studying and playing and taking it seriously. Ive had good results over a good sample and while it would not be a fantastic salary playing full time it has been a huge boost to my income the past 6 months. The plan isnt to do poker only but at least for some time I want to do it professionally, or semi-professionally if you will.

Family situation:

My parents are divorced and my relationship with my dad is not great, neither are my younger siblings relationships with him, so he is not a big factor here. My siblings will be fine with it I think, my sister knows I play a little, but mainly micros just for fun from a while back. My brother is a programmer and math nerd and will get it (hed be a great poker player). I think at first they will doubt the viability of it as a source of income but theyll get it and accept it. Mabye with some amount of worrying though.

My mom was brought up by religious parents in a place where gambling was connected to alcohol abuse and gambling away your life, the church was very active against this in those small town communities. She is not very religious anymore but some things stick and I think that is one of them. She did not have a deck of cards in her house growing up (although me and my siblings did).
She wont go crazy and not want to see me again or anything like that, it will just be difficult - mabye impossible - for her to accept
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Old 03-23-2021, 07:06 PM   #13
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

hopefully Netflix comes up with a poker series and brings some traffic our way like they did for Chess with that Queen's Gambit POS
right now poker = slots in most people's minds
betcha if you were a GM ,you'd be psyched to tell your parents about it
while high level poker player = degenerate loser about to go busto
I don't even tell anybody but close friends what I do, as far as anyone's concerned, I'm in IT. they don't need to know I make 10x what they do
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Old 03-23-2021, 09:28 PM   #14
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

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hopefully Netflix comes up with a poker series and brings some traffic our way like they did for Chess with that Queen's Gambit POS
right now poker = slots in most people's minds
betcha if you were a GM ,you'd be psyched to tell your parents about it
while high level poker player = degenerate loser about to go busto
I don't even tell anybody but close friends what I do, as far as anyone's concerned, I'm in IT. they don't need to know I make 10x what they do
Really? 10x? If they average $50k/year, youre saying your poker income is $500k/year?
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Old 03-24-2021, 05:56 AM   #15
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

average salary is <1k a month in good old East Europe
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Old 03-24-2021, 06:54 AM   #16
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

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average salary is <1k a month in good old East Europe
i always assumed you were german for some reason
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Old 04-27-2021, 10:22 PM   #17
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

anything else than the pure truth will be bad in the near future, just be yourself and let the things take their way
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Old 06-16-2021, 11:43 PM   #18
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Re: How to tell my family about poker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CheckRIP View Post
Wasnt sure in which forum to post this but I thought this was the most appropriate.

So Im from a family that I know will have a hard time accepting me taking poker more seriously, especially my mom who comes from a background where gambling is a big nope. Im an adult and obviously dont need any permission, but I value our relationship and was wondering if someone here has been in the same spot and how you approached it?

She doesnt know I play at all and knows next to nothing about the game, just the usual negative prejudice. Im now considering it as a serious source of income and will have to break this to her at some point, the sooner the better.

My thought was to try to expain the game from a mathematical POV, the standard deviation, how variance works and why it is profitable for competent players in the long run. She is somewhat into the stock market and interested in investing so my plan was to take that approach since from a low resolution perspective that is basically exactly what poker is.

Any ideas? Something I should be prepared for?
Poker players are swimming in murky waters, that is the reality, not prejudice. All parents want three things for their children: to be healthy, happy, and safe. Poker doesn't work well in any of those areas. It is not healthy to sit for hours in front of the computer or on a casino chair, it's not a path to happiness, and is not safe, at least financially.

So telling parents that you are a poker player is going to be bad news. Even parents who are poker players themselves cringe at the idea of their children going on the same path, because they are parents first.

I would not insult my parents with gimmicks about poker being a science, I would just tell them straight and accept their disappointment.

As time goes by, if you play with your own money and managing your finances well, if you take good care of your health, and they see you happy, poker will become a non-issue. Hopefully they will ask you for poker stories. But if at any time you fail in any of those areas, poker will be the first thing they'll blame.
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