Are there any Live Poker Pros That Don't Regret Their Decision to Play Professionally?
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Here in SW Ohio the average blue collar wage is $9-$12 an hour. If you were lucky to get into the steel or auto manufacturing industry in the 80's-early 90's or before then you're probably ok. If not...you're boned.
Over the course of my 32 year career, I paid roughly $175k (7% of salary) into the pension plan, so you're right in that for the first two years of my retirement I was basically just getting my money returned to me. However, for the next 30 or so years of my retirement, that $8k/month (about $3 million) is coming from the employer.
I'm mid 30's been gambling for almost 10 years from now. When Black Friday hit I found myself considering other options only to learn that wasn't a better option without being "retrained." Having kids and lots of expenses (mortgage, cars, medical etc) I couldn't afford any break from playing to make money, making going back to school not a viable option at the current time.
Right now I play 2/5 and 10/10 NL for about 30 hours/ week making about 50-60/hr. Will probably make 80-90k by years end. The local casino in just 15 minutes away, I like most of the people at the poker room, dealers and fellow players.
80k cash, no boss, etc sounds great on the surface, lots of players I know wouldn't mind that situation, at the poker room I hear players excitedly setting goals of 40k, $20/hr etc. If they only knew who pathetic those goals really were, they could reach and exceed them and still not live comfortably.
One of the more scary propositions is that after a few years of poker you are probably close to peaking, you will have to work continually to just keep whatever edge you have, which will slowly evaporate. Just thinking about the bigger games at my casino there are some older players in them who do ok, but they aren't the ones killing it or the ones to be afraid of, they are generally nitty and he game has passed them by. Even the more aggro ones who you can tell adjusted over the years aren't as scary as the younger pros... It would be foolish to think that wouldn't happen to you, no matter how good you are or think you are.
The other scary thing when playing the 10/10nl and higher games is just looking around at the table composition. It's usually like three 5 good pros, 2 breakeven regs and two "fish." But these fish, usually have lots of money, they are drinking, relaxing, getting massages, while the good pro's are drinking water, focused on making the best plays. Now who is the real "fish" in life? Making $100/hr being a top reg in those games is certainly a good living, but I'll take being the "fish" who won't bat an eyelash at dropping 10k at the poker tables while having a night out.
I'd trade poker for a decent "real" job starting around $75k/year in a heartbeat. As long as I didn't hate what I was doing, which not everyone in the real world does, especially those with higher paying jobs. Unfortunetely, despite being pretty smart, like I assume most people who player poker professionally are, I just don't have any legit skills to obtain a good job. I even have a 12 year old IT bachelors degree that is useless for the time being until I freshen up and retrain which I just cannot afford right now.
You gotta figure out a way. Especially if you have a family. Otherwise, within a few years you're going to be screwed. JMHO given in a friendly way.
(joking of course, Hollywood CBus is very fun though.)
Not to be confused with a matching 401K, which is a sum of cash that is yours to take once you are done working and hit a certain age.
One is a monthly benefit paid from employer contributions, and the other is a dollar amount put away by the employee, but possible small percentage matches put in by the employer. If you have this match option, and don't use it, you are giving money away every day.
There is one more option in some companies called profit sharing. That is a discresionary amount of dollars a company provides to their employees based on yearly profits. This isn't the norm, but there does happen. Some are paid out yearly, and others are in an account set up for retirement. For 99% of the workforce, the accounts set up for retirement are a savior since most people have the dream, but no plan to back it up..
I wasn't trying to derail the thread over to retirement, but if those younger professionals say under 30 y/o don't have a plan, they will be very unhappy by the time they hit 50/55.. Just because they enjoy playing daily now, doesn't mean that will be the case in 20/25 years. Hopefully this thread will drive some through processes and get a plan behind the dream..
And I say this because the thread has as a subtopic the concept that all of these benefits are supposedly such a fantastic value. Well it turns out that if you actually make $450 an hour, as at least one poster in this thread claims and as some top pros do in fact make, then it would be entirely rational to self insure. Now if you still don't know what I'm getting at try this: take one posters earlier estimate of employer benefits' cash equivalent - $10 an hour times 40 a week times 50 weeks. Now just as a fun exercise take the historical stock market rate of return of roughly 1.1. Now raise that to the 20th power. Thats how much money your one year of benefits would have been worth in 20 years if it would have been earned and invested rather than generously given to you as a gift by the man who owns the fruit of all your labor and creativity. Now do the same with a typical expected return for an insurance policy, say you're healthy and don't smoke, no family history. Ok, take .2 and raise it to the 20th power. Here's how much your one-year-free-insurance-on-the-boss is worth after being reinvested year in and year out on further insurance premiums. What a deal!
These are the costs of lost opportunities which almost no policyholder ever stops to consider and a reason that much of the analysis wrt cash/benefit comparisons seen heretofore itt does not quite hold water.
What are the odds that you'd be living the life that you could drop 10k and not bat an eyelash? I have one cousin who's that rich, and out of thousands of people I know in life, he's the only one. Most people get pissed off if they lose 10$.
And most people who chose professional poker lacked either the social skills, the discipline, or the desire, to obtain consistent 75k/year type jobs.
As someone with a family, as you are, I can see how poker would be a regrettable choice. Especially if the alternatives are as rosy as you think they are.
I can grow my business relatively easily. I want to make good money grinding poker. Most people aren't particularly good at anything so want to prove to myself I can make it playing poker. Maybe I am ****ed in the head, who knows. I don't really care about financial comfort. I save my money though which is all anyone really needs to do. But people think they need benefits of some sort from a job to make it worthwhile, which is funny.
Get the tin foil hat off. Material misrepresentation. LOL, yes I know what that is, I'm not an idiot. By that logic you should just never have insurance for anything. I hope your house never burns down, you never get cancer, you don't die young with dependents who rely upon your income, and you never get in any accident with 6 figures of liability risk. I'll take my chances with insurance for low frequency, high severity life risks.
Let me give you a simple example:
Alternative 1: You get more cash now
Alternative 2: You get a pension later paid for by cash you didn't take now.
That's how benefits work. Period. You had better believe your employer accrued an accounting cost this year for your retirement benefits, with the cost fully accrued at your retirement date.
It's the same for all benefits - health care, disability insurance, etc. It's just income you could be receiving in cash, to the employer it's all the same thing. $1 of cash wages paid isn't different from $1 of health care costs to them.
Another reason that employers offer benefits to employees like 401K matching is that the amount that the owners / higher level execs can put away is directly correlated to employee participation. It's in their interests to get people doing the right thing, and saving.
This thread has completely gone off course. The last umpteen posts in a thread about the like or dislike of a professional poker career have been a group of Internet accountant-wannabes arguing about taxes and pensions. Most of what has been discussed in the last 48 hours in no longer even relatable to the subject of the thread.
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