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When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here.

03-01-2011 , 08:27 PM
This is a project researched by a little team I've put together, myself, 'Leader' of the statistics forum, and a professonal headhunter and banking hiring expert (and great friend of mine) Adam. Our objective was to look at various outcomes as a poker player, and contrast that with some career scenarios, putting those up against some real numbers from different career choices. Our aim is to get you thinking about your career more critically. Articles selection:

Please enjoy and feel free to initiate discussion.


When Should You Move On From Poker?

Most of us took up poker during university as a way of killing those extras hours at night when no parties, beer pong contests, or Mario Kart battles were taking place. It fit so well into our schedules; play any time we liked, for as long as we wanted, squeezing it in before, after, and even during class (if you count skipping!). If a buddy of yours sends you a text about a party that’s just starting, no problem. ‘Sit out next big blind’, empty you pee bottle, and throw on that dirty shirt that you forgot to wash again, but hey, it’s ok, the games were too good to leave. Somewhere along the line, we started making money. We moved up the stakes, ran hot for a little while, rode some roller coasters, and then became serious – we started optimising our set up with HEM, buddy lists, and our HUD. One day, while fiddling with our HEM stats, we notice something; our hourly, after hundreds of thousands of hands is somewhere around $40 per hour. We open up windows calculator, punch in the figures, and the arithmetic tells the story – that we could make around $70k a year playing poker. You begin to recall conversations you’ve had about careers after university, with the average salary being a mere $35k a year. Thoughts begin to cross your mind. “Why work a 9-5, static, freedom-lacking and soul sucking job when I can work my own hours, make twice as much money doing something I love?” A sense of guilt, however, begins to cloak you. What would your parents think? Your peers? What of your future prospects? You don’t want to play poker forever, after all. So you cut yourself a deal. You’ll finish university, play poker, for a year or two, do some travelling, and quietly blend back into the regular life in another time.

This story is very familiar to many of us. It bears resembles aspiring athlete, other people given a gift that allows them to earn a higher than average salary. Athletes grind too; they train to get better, move up a level, compete in a stronger field. Young athletes have similar decisions to make during school; could I do this? What if you don’t make it? What if you try and fail, and end up wasting years of your life? At what point does the money you make not become worth it? At what point does the grind become too much, with little career progression possibilities ahead? When does your mind stop circling the words ‘move up’, and instead swirl around the frightening idea of ‘retirement’? Many factors influence your thinking, but there's none more confronting than your current winnings (or losses). Like a boxer taking shots to the chin, poker players must overcome the short and medium term lows without taking too much damage to his brain. Absorbing hits is part of the game, but eventually, a seasoned boxer starts to feel the symptoms of his career choice. Over time, he develops a flinch, a pre-emptive reaction to the pain, one which exposes him to his opponents. Eventually, the grind that is boxing, reacting to opponents, randomness, and imposing strategy becomes tainted. Poor decisions begin to creep in from a reactionary fear. Which leads to more hits, which leads to more poor decisions, a vicious cycle at poetic as it is dangerous. Like boxers, poker players begin, at some point, to develop a bitter loathing towards the game. Too many bad beats, lean runs, and shattered expectations lead to a sensitivity that impacts training, strategy, and mindset. At some point, one must throw in the towel. The question is, when, for what, and is it worth it?

Two other researchers and I have been delving into this question; what is the optimal choice a poker player should make? Questions like how to deal with resume gaps, listing poker, getting educating in a specific industry, interview techniques, and even the best strategy for applying to jobs, all of these are difficult. Even more importantly, they are relatively unsolved. It’s no secret that trading institutions are very interested in poker players, with their risk management and analytical skills. But how does one make the jump? What is the best and most optimal way to present yourself? Where do you start looking? What potential careers exist? What can you do in the mean time? These are questions that, until now, have only been speculated on. These guides and articles were written to help guide poker players, giving them a framework to think about their career and how best to approach it.

Earning Calculations

Let's look at some basic EV calculations using some hypothetical scenarios. We'll begin by creating 4 hypothetical situations, 2 poker, and 2 job based, all about 10 year earnings.

1) You earn between $30 000 and $80 000 a year, depending on your variance for that year, after rakeback. You also have a 15% of breaking even for the year. Let’s look at the distribution of your total earnings over 10 years:

As we can see, your earnings vary between $275,000 for 10 years and a maximum of $660 000 for 10 years. On the y-axis you can see the probability you will earn less than what it aligns with on the x-axis. For example, there’s a 50% chance that you’ll less than $460,000, given the above assumptions. There’s only a 30% chance of earning more than $500,000 over the 10 years. Let’s compare this to starting a job with a salary of $40,000, with a 10% pay rise each year:

And your total earnings over 10 years:

Under these assumptions, working an entry level position and working your way up the pay scale is superior to playing poker in gross earnings over 10 years, always. This isn’t realistic and no one’s going to follow any of the above examples. A straight 10% raise every year is unlikely; it’ll probably more likely be stagnated for periods of time with bigger jumps (say, for switching companies). But the idea is to see how much variance in poker earnings and subtle appreciations in salary can greatly affect your earnings over a 10 year period. Let’s look at another scenario:

2. A poker player earns between 50k and 100k per year. He has a 25% of having a breakeven year, and a 5% of going bust on his roll.

Although this player earns an extra 20k more, due to playing higher stakes and presumably tougher games, he has a greater chance of having a breakeven year. The graph:

Look at the slide on potential earnings! Although imperfect, when you introduce the possibility of blow ups and break-even years, even strong poker earnings is difficult to maintain over the long run. Its 75% likely you'll earn more than $425 000, but only 10% likely you'll make more than the important $600,000 threshold that you would in a regular pay rise job. Once again, these assumptions may not be realistic, but it's important to understand the hidden variables that exist in poker. The games could become tougher, exposing us to more breakeven periods. We could also lose our way, run very bad, go on mega tilt, and end up busting. 5% chance of busto means that, if we had two players both grinding for 10 years, only one would experience bust. But look how much these assumptions flatten out the fail end of the curve. Poker variance over the long haul is dangerous for your earning potential. Poker success for the average mid-stake grinder is still luck driven. Only 5% in this scenario clear 700k. This seems to relatable to reality. Many seemingly equally skilled mid-stake grinders have very different careers and success levels. We look for reasons of why these differences exist, but in a game of gambling where even future expectations of conditions is a gamble (will the games get too hard? what about legislation?), we must be conservative in our estimates and introduce a dose of realism. Poker, even amongst the top 5%, is only very good for a minority of the minority. The rest get by, but the question is, is this really worthy for sacrificing a long-term career path?

What about a more realistic job example? Here we have a starting salary of $35,000 and 10% pay rises every year, but with a 5% chance of a pay rise of 30%:

Importantly, introducing the chance of substantial pay rises greatly lengthens the pay scale tail. In this scenario, you have about a 20% chance of earning more than $650,000. Someone moving fast up the career ladder can expect to earning $700,000+. This graph contrasts something important with poker; income appreciation is powerful, and to play poker is largely forgoing that possibility.

What about real poker winrates? Are these earnings realistic? Let's use the graphing software at to conduct some analysis.

Here we see someone who earns a reasonably solid winrate of 3.00bb/100. We can assume this is after rakeback. A casual glance at pokertableratings shows that this is an above average winrate for an above average player:

We'll estimate a 10 year poker career as consisting of 6 million hands, which means 50k hands per month, every month (which may be a high expectation, I'll let you be the judge). If this is your average 1/2 grinder, this means that they can expect earnings between 300k and 350k. This may be funded with rakeback and bonuses, but for someone grinding a lower but still good stake, earnings can sometimes be very small. What about downswings and breakeven periods?

A breakeven period of roughly a year's worth of hands is the worst case possibility. A downswing of 90 buy ins is within the realm of possibility. These are the extreme of brutal events, but don't confuse this with not going to happens. If we instead take a 2/4 player who plays less hands (presumably less games available with an edge), has a greater standard deviation and a lower winrate, we see a personality take shape:

Ignoring the outlier, $480,000 for maximum career earnings, and $320,000 for the minimum, a different of 120k. But let's look at the brutal reality:

961.k hands of breakeven play. Absolutely brutal, almost two full years of not making money! Remember, this is under consistent circumstances. Consistently using the same edge.

The point of these graphs and calculation isn't to express doubt, or to try and down poker. It's to show that even poker in the optimal circumstances experiences large amounts of variance. We tend to over-estimate our ability as people, which is good for risk taking. Unfortunately, in the case of gamble, we often forgo opportunities by dreaming of ideal circumstances. What you have to ask is, how much do you really know about the future? How much are you discounting the possibility that poker may not have the earning potential you thought it does? How realistic are you about your expectations? Even a solid, stable winner goes through some huge swings over a 10 year career. Are you prepared for that? Is it worth your mental health?

Let's now turn our heads towards professions, a short summary of great post-poker jobs and their pay scales for entry-level positions.

Profession Ideas

The first question you should ask yourself – “What area should I be looking to get into?” It’s a difficult question, with so much relevant information to digest. What education do I need? How much does it pay? Has poker given me relevant skills? Where can I expect to progress? Here we’re going to give a quick rundown of a selection of career paths that we believe could be suited towards a poker player.

The Research

Delving deeper, let's look at some common college graduate careers, the pay scales and future prospects. One of the scariest thoughts that poker players have is how can the skills which they’ve acquired over the course of their career can be used in a future profession. In this section I hope to alleviate fears by talking about some comparisons between poker skills and select professions. Problem solving, logical thinking, and these studying behavioural tendencies are more universal than you probably think.

All of the following data is filtered for major metropolitan areas in the US, and have the pre-requisite of a bachelor degree. Different factors like additional qualifications and the quality of your work experience will affect where you fit into the curve. This should be used as a general guide.

Trading and Finance

Trading for poker players is the obvious choice. Both require on the spot reasoning and deductions, drawing from an understanding of probability with game theory. Trading is also computer-based and can be very fast; like poker, where one has a limited decision time window, trading involves making snappy decisions with sometimes imperfect information. Most importantly, trading also results in real-time profit/loss in small time frames. This reflects poker very closely, where short and long-term fluctuations are part of the game, and a mastery of handling the variance is necessary to be a winner in the long-run. Traders must produce a strong risk-management plan, and use stringent psychology to adhere to it. Trading also involves a zero-sum game where you must outwit competitors and ensure you can stay ahead of the curve, a discipline long-term winning poker players are accustomed to.

One thing to remember while looking over these graphs is that the finance industry tends to be heavily bonus based. This is explained in a more in depth look in this article, but bonuses tend to make up a large portion of your salary once you hit the higher experience levels. Once again, 'it depends' is a key phrase, but keep it in mind.

Securities Trader

See the article: Introduction to Trading Careers for more information.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $44,646

Average Salary by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs

Research Analyst

The jobs in equity research analysis typically involve some statistical skills and an acumen of investment decisions based on the data and trends. The evaluator has to assess all the relevant data and information and recommend investment opportunities to a firm or a single trader. Capital market research jobs require the candidates to assess the risk involved in particular equity transactions and monitor these risks on a constant basis.

A stock analyst or an equity research analyst involving capital market research has to evaluate the financial data available for a sector, company, zone or country. The economic trends and recent developments have to be carefully studied by the responsible person. Based on these studies, he has to offer his recommendations for investing or avoiding particular avenues in the financial market. The clients of for the equity research analyst can be trading organizations, individual customers or even big corporations.

Distributions of Salaries

Average = $60,414

Average Salary by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs:

Quantitative Analyst

Quantitative Analysts, sometimes referred to as Financial Engineers, analyse historical data, statistics, and theoretical relationships between assets in order to develop and implement quantitative models. These models are used for a variety of purposes, with a popular one being HFTs, but can also be used for more traditional buying/selling. Hedge funds, i-banks, and some smaller shops all employ Quantitative Analysts to create complex algorithms that trade for profit. Quantitative Analysts require an advanced degree, such as a master's or a Ph.D. in engineering, math or a related field from a highly competitive college or university. They're almost always well versed in computer science and programming languages such as C++. Huge pay and bonus structure, and also the biggest growing specialisation on Wall Street.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $93 547

Average Salary by Experience

Financial Planner

Advises clients on financial plans utilising knowledge of tax and investment strategies, securities, insurance, pension plans, and real estate. Time is spent assessing client's assets, liabilities, cash flow, insurance coverage, tax status, and financial objectives to establish investment strategies. Mostly a sales job in the early years, with opportunities to move into portfolio management and asset acquisition. Beware of MLM-style jobs at low-tier financial planning firms; they use you to sign up your family/friends, then leave you stranded in career development.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $38,421

Average Pay by Experience

Future Careers

Related qualifications: CFA, Series etc, CISI, and CFP


Usually regarded to as a boring profession for uninteresting people, accounting is not high on the list of glamorous careers. In truth, accounting is, as a categorisation, very vague. There are many branches of accounting, and many accountants spend more time outside the office than in a stuffy cubicle. Accounting, like poker, requires one to make decisions in accordance to the rules, but also encourages out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to deciding things like pricing, asset values, and potential liabilities. Accounting is driven by standardised equations, but involves applying them to the right situations and correctly dealing with grey areas. Auditors, financial analysts, project accountants etc, frequently perform new and interesting tasks, and although the core logic stays the same, unique situations requiring discretion and sound logic are common. Like poker, your ability to read the subtlety of a situation and applying theory, while taking into account future considerations of your decisions (like meta-game and image) is important to becoming a top-tier accountant. Another great part about being an accountant is the options it gives you; a Chartered Accountant not only fetches large salaries, but can also work across the globe in many interesting countries, like a poker player.


Auditors are responsible for carefully analysing reports, statements, and accounting software of an internal or external facility to ensure accurate calculations. They must have thorough knowledge of all laws and regulations relating to accounting and practices, because their job is to detect and report any discrepancies within a company’s financial records. Auditors must make decisions about value and relevance of certain recordings.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $49,211

Average Salary by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs

Financial Analyst

Making future predictions and untangling the web of information to provide valuable numbers is the job of a Financial Analyst. They spend time compiling data, ensuring accuracy, analysing information, and creating reports. They monitor all documents and report any trends to management.

Distribution of Salaries

Average: 46,849

Average Salary by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs

Tax Specialist

Maintain tax information, but not only preparing tax returns and reports, but also evaluating expenditures and keeping tabs on transactions for tax benefit reasons. Many stable government jobs, and lucrative consulting roles.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $45,313

Average Salary by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs

Business and Sales

When we think of sales, our first thoughts are movies like 'Glengary Glenross', the play 'A death of a Salesmen', and 60 minutes specials on the inner-workings of Used Car Salesmen. Although these portray the swings and the sometimes emotional downfall of what can be a cut-throat industry, the truth is a majority of sales and marketing is in areas like account management, product and regional sales manager, brand management, sales administrator, and supply chain consultant. Understanding specific edges in the marketplace, establishing positive relationships, monitoring the marketplace for trends and changes are all poker-related identifiers. Social skills is almost always a must, but if you enjoy being around people and have a good eye for trends in numbers, why not a career in sales and marketing? Like poker, commission based industries have swings, but once again, good practice at dealing with variance can help you to have an edge over sometimes desperate competition. Making small adjustments on the fly, realising where the biggest edges (and thus commissions/bonuses) are, and capitalising off presented opportunities.

Account Manager

Concerning themselves with the day-to-day support of customer accounts, Account Managers act as the primary points of contact between clients and the business. They must attend to the needs of the customer, manage accounts, and expand revenue through selling/adding value.

Distribution of Salaries

Average pay = $35,433

Average Salary by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs

Sales Account Executive

Sellers of a company's goods/services to both new and existing customers. Both end-user selling and Business-to-Business (B2B) sellers, their primary goal is to seek out new interest and push their product to a wider range of people. Relationship building and researching the market for potential edges is the primary task of the Sales Account Executive.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $43,456

Average Pay by Experience

Marketing Representative

Companies with strong band capital use marketing representatives as foot soldiers to execute marketing strategy from the top-down. Their job is to create awareness about a product, service, or offering, and manage the brand capital. They provide a link between buyer and seller.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $33,942

Average Salary by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs

Brand Manager

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $53,753

Average Experience by Salary

Most Common Future Jobs


Technology isn't a sector I often hear spoken about by poker players (never have I seen a thread asking about how to get involved in programming or IT), but out of all the fields, technology is by far the most underrated for poker. The job market is strong, with many entry level positions available. Self-teaching/learning, like poker, is the industry norm, and keeping up with changes requires a constant tweak of one's skills and their application. Applying statistics in areas like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), breaking down application bottlenecks, monitoring user choices, and figuring out the strongest promotion strategies, all of which, although with much literature written about them, are still largely unsolved. Like poker in the early days, this is an invitation for smart and dedicated people to make a lot of money, with a lifestyle that suits them. Many start up and technology entrepreneurs work from home with a free schedule, and even more work for companies remotely. The venture capital and start up funding industry is strong and roaring ahead, with many opportunities for big equity deals. Programming itself at a core is a logic puzzle, using critical thinking combined with available tools to create edges. The analysis of one's programming is not far removed from the analysis of one's poker game. Both rely on breaking apart different areas, looking for holes and problems, and patching them with the appropriate decisions. Analysing systems, data, traffic flow, all require a well-developed eye, and like poker, the gap between the top technology professions and the middle is huge. Room for growth, a high ceiling for potential payoff, very poker-like.

Software Developer

These positions are for windows developers (.NET) for simplicity. Actual pay rates are similar across the board for all developers.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $53,151

Average Salary by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs

IT Consultant

Working in partnership with clients, IT consultants advise them how to use information technology in order to meet their business objectives or overcome problems. Consultants work to improve the structure and efficiency of an organisation's IT systems. All work spaces need complex communication set ups, which is why IT Consultants are always in demand.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $46,848

Average Salaries by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs

Computer Systems Analyst

Researching problems, plans solutions, recommends software and systems, and coordinates development to meet business or other requirements. They will be familiar with multiple variety of programming languages, operating systems, and computer hardware platforms. Often write system specs and plans for coordination between sellers and users. Can develop a cost analysis, draft design considerations, and implement projects.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $45,185

Average Salary by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs

Web Designer

Creating web pages is more difficult than it looks, particularly if you're looking for the professional touch. Not only that, sites must be re-designed, re-calibrated, and changed to suit different marketing strategies. Web Designers manage all these tasks. Many do contract work, allowing them to work free schedules and from home. Knowledge of HTML, Javascript, and web frameworks is a must.

Distribution of Salaries

Average = $36,912

Average Pay by Experience

Most Common Future Jobs


The long-run is always our end-game. Youth is the greatest asset most poker players have. Exploiting this to build a career is far more beneficial than playing a game with little benefits to appreciation. Grinding can certainly pay the bills, but in most cases it probably won't make you rich over the long run. Forecasting poker salaries has a variety of limitations, but most dangerous is forgetting how much variance one will go through in a long career. Throwing in a few realistic variables for illustration purposes greatly changes the equation.

Our point isn't that you shouldn't play poker, or that poker is bad, it's that poker, although a great short-term profession, is limiting income-wise in the long-run. The longer your gap, the longer you have to wait to take advantage of wage appreciation, and the less chance you have of landing strong entry level positions in important fields. Making a lifestyle choice to play poker and enjoy your life for 2 years is fine, but it's a trade-off. Where do you want to be in 10 years? How do you feel about poker? What career could you see yourself in? What steps can you be taking to transfer into a different area? The worst thing you can do is be trapped in a situation, a decision made on false dreams of riches. The reality is, most poker players make a liveable wage but only an extreme minority build true wealth. If your goal is to build wealth, investing in career is a better option. Poker has a greater risk of falling off the rails. Forecasting what the game will be like in one year is already hard enough, how can you do it 5 or 10 years out?

Start thinking about your career, your options, and what you need to do to arrive there. Use your time wisely. Don't be content to grind in denial, use the available resources, review your prospects, and plan your life. Your bank balance and your future happiness is at stake. Research some of these career suggestions, find something that suits you, think about what you'll need to start doing now to move towards it. None of this means you need to quit poker tomorrow; position yourself for your future by being aware of information and exploiting time.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and our research. Of course, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface. In this next parts of the series, we talk about:
  • How to deal with the resume gap
  • Trading jobs & the industry
  • Decoding job ads and their requirements
  • 5 things you can do right now to enhance your employability
  • Interview tips & tricks

Last edited by ArturiusX; 03-20-2011 at 06:26 PM.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-01-2011 , 08:29 PM

No other question has generated more threads, replies, or interest than Poker Resume Gap threads in the Twoplustwo Business forum. Every year, many poker players flock to this forum in search of answers, each coddling his/her own predicament. Some are graduating college, and need to decide whether a poker career for one, two, or more years is a feasible option. Some may have taken this very path, and for whatever reason, are now looking for something else. Maybe their results are suffering, and their future earning power faces new question marks. Maybe they’re sick of the grind, the lifestyle that is poker, and need something with a more involving social contact, substance, and less stigma. Some might have won an MTT, others are spotting a trend in poker, less bad players, more technically correct players, which puts a squeeze on future earnings. All of these players face the same problem; poker is not considered real life job experience, and adding it to a resume is built with inherits risk. What if the HR Department reads it, assumes I’m a problem gambler, and automatically excludes my resume? What if I were to put in a resume gap, and they ask about what I did? Should I lie? The first problem I see with poker players is their negativity. Instead of thinking positive, and attacking the problem, they position themselves defensively, embarrassed at not having the credential of someone in the ‘normal’ world. This, in my opinion, is a mistake. First, let’s talk about what a gap is, and means for your career.

The Resume Gap

A resume gap is an extended period of time in which someone is not acquiring work experience nor enrolled a full-time formal education course. Gaps can happen for legitimate reasons; many people take time out of their career for travel, children, caring for others in their family, or to pursue other interesting activities or self-improvement exercises. Resume gaps are looked down upon by Human Resource Departments, but only because it adds to the risk factor of hiring a candidate. Resume gaps are flags to:
  • Unemployability/Undesirability
  • Life decision problems
  • Lack of a workplace mindset
  • Lack of seriousness about career
Although having a resume gap is not proof of any of these things, nonetheless it becomes another hurdle that the applicant must climb over. First, though, one must understand that resumes with gaps are not intentionally trashed. Directionless resumes are. A resume gap is one indication of this, but not the be-all end-all that no resume will ever reach through this process without an airtight job timeline, so don't become negative or think this is an impossible barrier to climb over. There are things you can do to overcome this problem. The next important point is, what is experience, exactly?


There’s no universal rule for experience, although being on a payroll is a good sign of a company’s commitment to keeping you around, thus suggesting a mutual relationship of enhancement. Hardly a requisite, though. What about entrepreneurs, interns, consultants, and those people part of less tangible projects like art, social movements, or even politics? Are they also considered experience? Many grey areas present themselves, and it becomes more and more clear that drawing a hard line is impossible. My definition of experience is:
  • Something that requires day-to-day important decision making
  • Taking part in an activity with elements of management, whether it be time, information, or learning
  • These decisions and scenarios impact you, and force you to learn/adapt by using best practice and critical decision making
  • Your role is expanding, changing, and becoming better defined
  • Something that offers opportunities to change your path, that you must evaluate on merit
  • The reality of economics is ingrained into your thinking

This describes most kinds of good experience, and you can see how using this guideline creates an uneven balance between experiences. Dynamic roles in high growth companies are viewed as the best experience one can find, as the role is constantly changing and dependent upon the position holder’s re-evaluation of the importance of tasks. High pressure decision-making roles, like a trading or a financial analyst position, give someone the opportunity to perform complex tasks under duress, with negative consequences for miscalculating. Dealing with procedures, regulations, and coming up with ideas and plans to overcome these barriers is the role of the manager in a large company. You must deal with limited resources, bad structures, and search for creative solutions in order to progress and move ahead. Do all of these sound familiar? They should. This is the experience that a poker player goes through every day, whether he is conscious to it or not. My argument is that a poker player should not only list poker on his resume, but fully embrace his poker experience, making an effort to explain to potential employers the similarities between the experience of professional poker and other work experiences.

Relating Poker to a Corporate Experience

Poker as a business

Think about the day-to-day working life of a poker player. What's the first thing you do? Load up tracking software, log into your favourite site, and look for some tables to sit at. So what, you ask? Even in this often unconscious process, there exists a procedure, a set up that gets tweaked over time, enabling you to seek profits in the form of +EV gambling. Let's break it down:

1. You start Hold Em Manager, an all-in-one record keeper, statistical analyser, and customer (weak player) finder. The software can also be used for situational evaluation, using pre-determined statistics about customers and other competitors, enabling you to analyse the strategy used and adapt your own to the given situation. There is little difference between a Customer Management System and poker tracking software, only with intention of use. Both require learning, tweaking, and an understanding.

2. Why do you play at your site? More weak players? Great rakeback deals? Less exposure to services like pokertableratings? More variety of games? Maybe you're moving money around, experimenting at different sites. Why do you split your bankroll how you do? What procedure have you developed for moving money, cashing out? What decisions do you make in regards to bankroll kept at a site, and how do you balance across sites? Why do you balance across sites in the first place? These are all strategic decisions, where the wrong choice can cost you money, like going bust on a juicy site, or being stuck without cash out.

3. How do you scan your tables? What variables are you looking for? What is your philosophy when you sit, and what factors into your decision to stay? Why do you leave a table? Why do you choose your stakes, your game type, and how do you cement this decision? Do you have a preferred area because you've specialised, and trained there? Maybe you're playing higher than normal because of a perceived edge, or a strong bankroll expansion (Kelly Criterion thinking?)

And this is only the surface. Many complex decisions are made, with business justifications. We haven't even touched things like interface design (do you tile or cascade?), approach to playing (do you read hand histories as they happen? watch tables without sitting), or how you identify opportunities (a weak player sitting heads up? take a seat). And we haven't even touched on the psychology of playing, how to deal with adversity in the form of variance, the slight tooling of your game according to reads and game flow. What other practices exist? Staying in touch with the community, other like-minded players, staying in-touch with changes to poker legislation, game styles, and potential new games.

It's clear that the question isn't so much 'how is poker a good experience', but closer to 'how can we explain the essence of poker as a business?'. This is more difficult, because it requires simplifying concepts and initiatives into bite-sized bullet points for people who know little about the game. Some research we've been conducting is a statistical slant at ones poker career. A graphical representation of the ups and downs associated with a poker career. At every point of a player's career, he makes choices. What site to play? When to move up? When to change strategy? Let's look at an example narrative of a career of a player we've created a poker report for:

Poker Reports

Cost Reduction

Figure 1: Effects of Cost Reduction

Awareness of cost is critical to maximising profits through capital allocation. Rakeback is the classic way for a poker player to extend his winnings. Most importantly, it offers a nearly certain cash flow over time, where 100,000 hands of poker will always earn at or near the same amount, before winnings is taken into account. As you can see in Figure 1, cost reduction is significant for a player.

Strategy Evolution

Players must adapt their game according to conditions. Failure to do so can result in loss of edge, meaning a smaller winrate, more variance, and less winnings. We can see in Figure 2 that our play adapted by tightening up the number of hands he played, and by opening more. The variance experience towards the end reflects the changing nature of the game. As more aggression is required to compete, our player adapts, through learning a different style of game.

Figure 2: Aggression Factor changes over time

Risk Management

Early on in our players career, he experienced strong winnings over a small sample and consequently moved up in the stakes (Figure 3 & 4). The results were not good, and over the next 290 sessions our player had a moderate winrate. As a consequence, he decided to move back down, and perfected his game, raising his winrate and increasing the size of his bankroll (Figure 5).

Figure 3: Initial sessions during the career’s beginning

Figure 4: First movement up the stakes

Figure 5: First move down when facing difficult play

This allowed him to take a 2nd and more focused shot at a higher stake, where he consequently earned a stable winrate (Figure 6). The provided the base for his next move up (Figure 7), where he showed more determination, taking on an early loss (and increased variance from being among more aggressive players) and managed to re-tool his game to win a modest but solid winrate despite his early set back.

Figure 6: Began to win consistently

Figure 7: Moved up the stakes once again

This example narrative can be further broken down with complex and eye-catching statistics. Once you throw in things like standard deviation, specific tweaks to the game (increased aggression factor, more plays like river check-raises and more pre-flop 4-betting), and how they all effected the overall poker-career path, these narratives can be put into a report to aid non-poker players in understanding the subtlety that exists in being a professional poker player. A business plan-style format, with both explanations and statistical measurements of play, written as a narrative can help bridge the knowledge-gap between players and non-players. It's also something great for your confidence; to see your poker career on paper, as a series of critical decisions mixed with hard work is a self-esteem booster (and maybe something to show the sceptical parents!). Some ideas for what to include:
  • Analysis of standard deviation, as applied to stakes and game types
  • Narrative of your results at stakes and types of games, emphasising the adaptations made, and the learning process you went through
  • Analysis of player-style poker statistics, and the change in these over time, reflecting new learning’s and techniques
  • Risk-management adaptations made, using bankroll risk vs. perceived edge to justify decisions to move to different stakes.
  • Money spent on poker (e.g. software, coaching, video sites), decisions on banking, online transactions, keeping track of money across sites, decision to play certain sites and how rakeback etc influences this.
  • Players you've staked, tournaments played analysis of variance reduction and how these players are hand-picked.

A report only needs to be several pages long, with non-player friendly explanations, graphs, and a statistical breakdown of different decisions made. This provides potential employers (or others) with a serious explanation into exactly what you've been doing, to expel any myths that poker is somehow not a game for smart, savvy people. This report, although will be too large to be included as an appendix in your resume, can instead be referred to and provided on request. Example:
  • 2007-2010 - Professional Poker Player. A report with Career Explanations, Business Plan and Statistical Analysis available to be sent on request, or for an interview
What employer wouldn't be curious about this? Other tactics you can use is publishing graphs, or framing your career as a statistical expert that focused on poker. It's all in the presentation, the attitude, and showing that you're a prepared, serious person.

What else can you use to pad your resume?

Studies and Courses

There's a number of publicly available courses, all ranging in difficulty. Generally, if you have not completed undergraduate studies, that should be your first priority. Please read the article about trading to understand more about what undergraduate means to future job prospects. Let's breakdown three major financial courses:

Charted Financial Analyst (CFA)

The big daddy of post-graduate qualifications, being a CFA is a prestigious and not only opens many career doors, but also earns you bigger pay check. The drawback is, there are three levels, and each are very difficult exams that require at least 250 hours of study, especially difficult if you've never studied finance before. You can sit the CFA twice a year, one exam in June and the other in December. This should only be considered if you're looking for a career in finance specifically, and may not be necessary if you're looking to trade in a prop firm. The qualification is recognised internationally, and commonly used by employees in the finance industry to help them attain a job overseas. You can finish the level one exam without a bachelor degree, but its required for levels 2 & 3.

The AnalystForum has a large database of threads on the topics of learning and studying.

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)

Another options is the CAIA, which like the CFA is a very difficult twice a year exam. Unlike the CFA, the CAIA looks to test you in more obscure areas of finance (as denoted by the 'Alternative' in the name), with topics on alpha/beta, hedge funds, private equity and credit derivatives. This is a world-recognised qualification that is a great alternative to the CFA for people looking to get involved in special departments (like derivatives and alternative asset evaluation) for more specialised funds and wings of large investment banks. For someone looking to get into the hedge fund industry, this is better alternative than the CFA, which is better for analyst type positions in more vanilla banking areas. The average for time spent studying is between 150-200 hours, but this depends on your previous knowledge.

Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments (CISI)

The CISI is a UK-based exam that is also sat in other countries. It provides some interesting specialities, like Financial Crime, Islamic Finance, and International Compliance. Once again, I'd say that unless you're seeking to take an alternative career path in a specialised area, it's probably better to complete the CFA. You can complete each level (three in total) of this test in the same time it takes to do CFA level 1, and it's much cheaper at about $300 US. If you're looking to differentiate yourself (perhaps a law degree and an International Compliance qualification), then this may be something you should consider.

If you're looking to move into Technology, there are a number of courses for this as well:

Certified Cisco Network Accreditation (CCNA)

This is the most valuable entry-level certification for the IT industry. CCNA is difficult but nothing like the finances tests above. It tests your knowledge in networking and information practices. Study guides and workbooks exist to help you learn the concepts and pass the test. It's also the first test before the more prestigious CCNP, which is a valuable and sought after certification. You can keep the CCNA for 3 years after completing, but if you decide to take another exam from Cisco it restarts the clock. The technology used will be Cisco, but luckily Cisco's market share is huge and the number of companies not using any Cisco products is small. This certification is viewed very positively in the technology industry.

Microsoft's Certifications

Too many to name individually (see here), but Microsoft has a range of interesting and specialised course work. The developer certifications are particular good if you're looking to move into Windows-based development or IT work. They also last forever (or, as long as the technology exists). MCSE is another useful one for database development and design. Be warned, these only help with Microsoft's technologies, so if you're looking to work with different formats, it probably won't impress anyone. Still, if you're going from zero computer knowledge and want to start on a path in technology, this isn't a bad place to start.

ITIL Certification

For security and IT best practice, an alternative is ITIL's certifications. Four levels exist, but this certification is big amongst security firms and that side of IT. Once again, not a bad choice for moving into a specialised field like data security.

Post-Graduate Studies

This is going to be saved for a bigger post at a later date, but graduate studies are an excellent way to get on top of a field. Although difficult, there are many poker professionals who are combining this with grad school. Grad school can be expensive without a scholarship, however, but there are state programs and depending on what school, it may be affordable.



Most colleges have internship programs and campus recruiting through career fairs. Internships are a great way to gain experience before entering the workforce. Summer internships at places like brokerages, trading floors, banks, or technology workshops are fantastic experience. Don't think that you're restricted by official applications either; if you're willing to work for free, you'd be surprised what you can find. It doesn't hurt to make your own contact with major firms in your area. Explain your situation, and ask them if you could do an unpaid internship, willing to do any work required.

A direct email to the H.R. department, or even a higher-level manager brings surprisingly good results. Most of the best internships aren't advertised. Even if you've graduated college already, you can still ask companies for internships. Most won't have programs, but I've seen it before - some great companies who need some cheap labour for data entry and photocopying will take you on for a 6 week internship. Target small/mid-tier firms, write a convincing email, be positive and explain that you're looking to get your foot in the door, and don't mind doing boring laborious tasks.

This offers a great pad to your resume, and you could do this while you're a professional poker player. What better way to refresh your mind and respect poker a little more than a 9-5 internship? Take advantage of internship programs and the like, especially while you don't need the extra income.


Proving that you're not a degenerate is the biggest hurdle towards being viewed positively. This is where volunteering can help. Your local government is responsible for volunteer fire fighters, teachers, and helpers for government programs. Time spent volunteering can be completely up to you. Why not give something back to the community? Once again, what a great way to build respect for yourself, the world, and poker. Contact your local government, they should be able to put you in touch with different organisations. is dedicated to finding volunteers for more private programs. What a great reference to put on your resume, and it only need a few hours a week of time. Also consider donating your time to political causes, which is a great way to show organisational and management skills, while also trying to make a different for your beliefs.


The poker resume gap need not be feared, but on the same token, it needs to be respected. Without facing up to this problem, you're allowing the barrier to beat you. Instead, understanding that you've developed a unique sense of problem solving and critical thinking skills, while running under the banner of a quasi-business. Use this energy, be confident, and begin to plug the gaps. Write a poker report on your career, explaining it in detail, impressing employers. Do extra course work, look for internships, volunteer somewhere once a week. Remember, being a poker player is a privilege, and there's no better way to respecting the life of a professional player than to occasionally taste what life is like on the other side. And when it comes time to make that choice, you'll be a whole lot less scared, a whole lot more prepared, and be well on your way to successful life, post-poker.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-01-2011 , 08:29 PM
Introduction to Trading Careers

This is intended as a basic summary, there's some things missing, but the idea is to give people a jist of what goes on with hiring and what the expected earnings could be. All stats are pulled from a career/job database, and of course are general guidelines.


No other profession interests professional poker players more than trading. In this report, it’s my aim to educate on the world that is trading jobs. ‘Trading’ can mean a variety of things, there is no one definition, nor are there two traders who are exactly alike. There are several ways to break down trading jobs. One way is to subset them by the edge captured, another is by the asset traded.

Trader Types

For the basic products, like spot foreign exchange, stocks (or related securities) and government bonds, the market maker acts as a price quote creator for dealers and brokers involved in the market. There are two types of quotes, the "bid" price at which he is willing to buy and an "asked" price at which he would sell. The market maker builds inventory and sells it off according to market conditions, profiting from the difference between the two prices.

He must always be careful to cover these positions as he tries to generate profits. However, the market maker is not supposed to speculate. He must work within the strict limitations of his positions. Market maker is a common job for new hires, as it exposes them to the inner workings without needing to understand complex inter-market risks and the like. Market making is largely on the decline, however, as computer trading takes over.

The securities trader takes directional positions in simple products, making bets according to his firm’s manual. Usually specialised in a particular area (e.g commodities, 10-year bonds etc), this trader reviews the full spectrum of facts surrounding an asset (fundamentals, event concerns, inter-market relationships, market structure, insider knowledge and more) and risks capital on the outcome. New recruits are usually mentored and shown the process, but are expected to begin trading very quickly (with a sink or swim mentality, an industry standard). Each department has its own ‘desk’ (e.g fixed income desk) which is the area where the offices/cubicles for that speciality reside.

Other traders that put together ‘structured products’, like future contracts, CDS’s, specialised fixed income products, hedges and portfolio risk solutions and much more. They do the math, carefully examining relationships, theoretical value, risk factors, and even create algorithms to assist with calculating ideal compositions. These products are then created, and sold off to other firms, like investment banks, pension funds, government holdings and the like. Often they don’t engage in risky directional bets, instead building assets based on theoretical value and accept a premium (a fee) on top of the cost of creating the product. The fee is usually quite large, to reflect the speciality and difficulty in creating such products. This is the realm of PhD graduates, engineers, computer scientists and programmers, taking a ‘financial engineering’ slant and using their high-level math skills to create dynamic risk/value assessments. Still lurking though are strong market players, ones who act like negotiators to buy and sell products between banks. It's difficult to generalise, but a mixture of soft-skills and hard-skills seems to becoming the norm, a long way from the days when a trader would have a telephone, a rolodex and a basic price terminal.

The proprietary trader (or prop trader) is someone with complete freedom to trade his own individual account. The typical prop trader engages in high-risk directional plays, with a variety of time frame and assets. For a successful prop trader, a vast majority of his income comes in the form of bonuses, almost always a percentage based on end of year (or quarterly) profits. Thus the prop trader lives what is the equivalent of a commission-based salesman, purely driven by numbers and not usually by firm procedures with portfolios. Most large institutions have prop desks (although financial legislation is changing this and most are being spun off as a separate entity), but many mid-tier speciality shops exist that focus on very particular market products, offering training and infrastructure support. These firms like to hire young graduates with strong credentials, but the mid-tier firms offer jobs not only to Ivy Leaguers, but also high potentials graduates with interesting resumes from other schools. See below for more details on the types of firms.

Pay and Bonus Structure

Pay scale by experience:

Securities Trader

And here's a commodity trader's pay scale:

Out of college, one can expect to make around $50k per year in this position. Let's look at the qualifications, and how they affect pay scale:

Let's briefly review some of these certificates and licences. Series 7 is the most widely required, and always given to you after you start the job; you can't do your Series 7 until you've gained employment with a registered financial company. Series 7 is more general encompasses brokers as well as traders. Series 63 and 66 are related exams, and whether they need to be completed depends on specific state rules and regulations. Series 55 is the important exam related to equities trading, with more specialised topics on electronic trading and over-the-counter issuances.Note, this is not a suggestion to obtain these certificates, just a note there is a correlation between what certificate someone has, and what speciality it allows you to practice.

But what qualifications could one undertake to improve job prospects? Let's look at the pay grades for someone with a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), a rigorous and very difficult post-graduate educational program that's well respected in the financial community:

Securities Trader w/ a CFA

Just look at the increase, $56,168 to $73,260 for an entry level wage in the position. This appears to be great qualification to have. Read about what the CFA can do for you here.Another important component that we're forgetting is bonuses. Bonuses greatly affect the cash compensation equation.

Represents the mean tier of compensation, the top 25% make more than $58,391, and the top 10% make $117,819 on average.

Bonuses are paid on top of salary, all of these are extra compensations on top of what was mentioned earlier. Note the steep slope as it enters the upper 75% of pay outs. This is a great graphic indicating how important bonuses are to the trading industry. If you'd like to read more on bonus structures, check out this collection of articles. More and more, the trading and financial industry is becoming more bonus heavy and less salary orientated, in order to encourage performance. When seeking a trading position, bonus structure should be as important to your decision as the offered base salary. Here's a graph from a Wall Street Survey:

This covers more experienced traders and investment banking insiders, but you can see a theme here; as you move up the hierarchy, bonuses begin to comprise a greater percentage of pay.


Trading positions are difficult to obtain, particularly at prestigious investment banking institutions. Having said that, many mid-tier trading firms exist in the US who provide speciality services. These firms typically look beyond the difficult-to-entice Ivy-leaguers, and instead look more towards solid all-around, top-of-the-class students from other mid-tier universities. Let's use some job ads as a reference point:

Junior traders at Simplex must possess strong quantitative, analytical and communication skills, thrive under pressure and think quickly to execute trades using proprietary software.

Traders will:
* Complete the trader training program
* Assist senior traders with daily tasks
* Execute trades using proprietary software
* Understand and manage portfolio risk
* Adjust trading strategies based on market conditions
* Participate in team-based strategy development

Requirements Successful candidates will possess the following qualities:

* Bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.5; engineering or technical degrees preferred
* Excellent quantitative and problem-solving skills
* Strong work ethic and entrepreneurial drive
* Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
* High level of computer literacy
* Exceptional attention to detail
* Must be eligible to work in the United States without requiring sponsorship
* Must be able to start work by February

The first thing we notice is the GPA requirement of 3.5. This is just a filtering technique the HR department uses to sort automatically. Although this is more symbolic, most firms won't touch your resume without a 3.5 GPA. If you're reading this from your college dorm, you should strongly consider doing everything you can to graduate with GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Technical Degrees, as alluded to in the description, give you the best chance at getting an offer in this position. Take a look at the pay scales on this table, when filtered for Degree:

Median Salary by Degree/Major SubjectFinancial Services
Degree / Salary

Bachelor of Arts / $68,698

Master of Business Administration / $79,738

Bachelor of Science, Computer Science / $83,249

Bachelor of Science / $71,823

Bachelor of Science, Accounting / $61,947

Bachelor of Business Administration / $62,158

Bachelor of Science, Finance / $58,322

Not surprisingly, an MBA (a prestigious degree in the finance/business world) is a big determinant in salary. Computer Science, however, earns even more money than an MBA, and a straight Bachelor in a Science major is not far behind. There's no doubt that a technical expertise with computer systems, algorithms, statistical analysis and mathematics is a huge advantage to getting hired and moving up the pay grades in a trading career.

If you’re in a situation where you can, I’d highly suggest applying for internships. Sometimes companies don’t advertise their internships, other times they only do it through campus career centres. Be aggressive, and don’t think you need an internship exactly where you want to work; internships are for exposure to inner operations, not for job training purposes. Firms give huge weight to applicants with internships, particularly from prestigious institutions. You can also be offered jobs post-graduation from firms you interned at.

Communication skills are very important in a trading job. Often, because of time constraints and complexity, messages need to be transferred seamlessly, and different moods surrounding the context of facts need to be transmitted. Your interview success will be highly correlated with your perceived ability to communicate. This doesn’t mean you need to be highly social able, but it does mean you need to be assertive and specific when speaking to your interviewer. Working on your skills with handling questions, explaining yourself, and concepts like dealing with silence and conveying an attitude of control are all important skills. These skills can be worked on through practice. Interview article coming soon.

Computer literacy is the bare minimum. This is an area where you should be looking to impress, as firms are searching for someone who can hit the ground running. See my articles “5 things I can do right now to improve”. Suffice to say, mastering excel, having some intermediate programming/database knowledge, and knowing how to handle command terminals and the like goes a long way towards impressing an interviewer. I’d even go as far to say if you don’t have any computer skills, you should fix that before accepting any interviews. A solid understanding of Excel should be a minimum level and expect interview questions on the topic.

Quantitative and problem solving skills will be tested with brain teasers and puzzles. See my article “Dealing with quantitative puzzles and problems”, where I go through some problem solving skills and example problems. Most will involve probability and logic. Studying up on concepts such as “recursive probability”, “probabilistic logic”, and common brainteasers will put you in a good position. It’s also important to practice in real time, as panicking can cramp your ability to process information.

Propriety Firm Trading

One way to get involved in trading is Propriety Trading, also known as 'prop firms'. Prop firms is a vague name given to any type of firm setting where the individual trader has control over what positions to take. Think of it like an army of freelance pirates, sailing the seas, looking for opportunities to plunder, being backed by an organisation who sets them up with what they need. In return, the trader provides a kickback, either in the form of fees, commissions, or in the case of trading on a firms account, the trader gets a cut of the profits, depending on numerous factors. No matter the structure, the theory is the same; the trader is judged by his performance, which ultimately comes down to his P&L. Unlike large investment banks (who before the Volhker Rule were allowed to have their own prop desks, i.e. a division in the firm, now they are prohibited from doing so) who largely are concerned about capital outlay and risk as a companywide concept, prop firms take a more individualistic view of trading, with each person pushing his skills and edges to create value, irrespective of whether that suits the firms overall macro perspective. In other words, traders in this context are more like poker players, mercenaries who find and plunder 'good games'. This is why there's so much cross-appeal of traders moving into propriety firms, as it follows a similar pattern to poker; you work on skills, build an edge, move up the stakes, make money and kick back rake to your enabler.

Let's look at the different types of propriety firms:

Trading the firm's account

Firms can sometimes take on the form of quasi-investment banks, but instead of being concerned about deals and leveraging capital, theyallow their traders to use it to find market inefficiencies and trade for alpha (i.e. the edge). These firms, for obvious reasons, are very focused on developing and nurturing young trading talent, but also filtering out those who pose a risk or are unlikely to be profitable. The normal timeline for a new trader begins with 3 months of training, development and mock practice sessions, where the veteran traders take time out to help newbies with course-work and simulated environments. They build you from the ground up, starting with small edge ideas and concepts, trying to first pull you to breakeven by teaching the ways of reading charts, indicators, and sentiment. If after 3 months the trader is either profitable or in special cases, seen as a high potential candidate, he'll continue with the firm. Most new traders are restricted to simulated trading at first, slowly given real money for small positions and more risk allocation as they show profit potential.

Most prop firms use this mould. Not all are created equal, some are more prestigious than others, and have access to different markets. Some firms have better commissions. Desk fees are common, which can range from $1500 to $3500US, depending on the software provided (Bloomberg Terminal and other trading platforms). Traders are paid a percentage in accordance to their profits after expenses, usually quite high.

The risk your firm allows for position sizing depends on your profitability, variance in your strategy, the market your trading, and the capital base for the firm at any time. Generally, it works like poker where the better the trader, the higher the 'stake' is.Most reputable firms offer a small initial salary, which turns into a 'bonus' based compensation package after the trader becomes profitable. Some do not offer starting salaries, instead the candidate must fund his first 3 months of living through the rigorous training program. Generally, the latter firm is easier to get a job with, but the former is much better for a candidate's long-term outlook. Some pay scales can be close to the minimum wage. The key is future prospects and how successfully the firm can train you, as the real money (and job security) is in high profitability.

Trading off a deposit

Controversially, some prop firms offer deals where the trader pays a deposit to begin trading at the firm. The idea is that the trader first establishes his abilities without jeopardising the firm's capital, and if he can prove himself with this initial outlay, then he can move onto trading the firms account. This allows firms to experiment more with which traders they hire, but the drawback for the trader (aside from costing him money) is knowing whether the firm is legit or not. These prop firms can sometimes be referred to as 'bucket shops' or 'arcades', where the firms goal is to churn its traders out for commissions, working like a quasi-brokerage, dumping the trader then finding new ones. These firms have a disincentive to train their traders, since they make money no matter what.

When assessing a firm that wants a deposit, key questions should be:
  • How is their training program? Is it rigorous? Does the trader have access to experienced veterans?
  • What is their commission/desk fee structure? What advantages does the trader gain over a standard broker? How does this compare to the industry standard? What resources do they give their trader?
  • Is the firm reputable? How long have they been established for? What is their place in the industry? How do they actually make money, and does this incentive structure conflict with my own?
  • What happens if you do become profitable? Is this deposit refundable?

Trading your own account

Another way prop firms can be structured is acting like a middleman that takes advantage of scales of economy to provide traders with cheaper brokerage, software, hardware, and technical support. Typically, traders pay a flat desk fee in exchange for a well equipped office and support services. The firm negotiates lower brokerage rates. The account is kept under a holding in the trader's name, and the trader keeps all profits. Some firms with the above structures operate this model on the side for revenue raising purposes. Risk is beared by the trader and the firm acts like a landlord, only interested in the rent and less the hard number of profits generated. This set up suits an experienced trader. It can also be organised remotely by some firms.

Getting hired by a Propriety Trading Firm

The process is no different to any other job, you forward a resume, get a call back, schedule a first interview, go through the process, and if you're an ideal candidate you get the job. What's important is understanding what the firm is looking for; high potential candidates with an 'x-factor' that separates them from the pack. Large firms and businesses are looking for caretakers who fit a mould, whereas prop firms are like talent scouts looking for the next big thing, discriminating on a different basis. Seeming too stiff, too entitled or having low emotional intelligence is a big determinate that not even an Ivy league education can overcome. Vice versa, a solid, interesting, but not academic outstanding resume can earn you that crucial interview.

Some important concepts:
  • Differentiation is key. Don't be like every other candidate. Trader's possess an x-factor that is difficult to describe, but being from a cookie cutter mould of college candidates is probably going to have your resume glossed over. Use poker to your advantage.
  • Be exceptional at communicating and thinking on the spot in interviews. Prop firms are looking for people who display exceptional skill under pressure. Brainteasers and puzzles are classic questions, and the candidate who best prepares for those goes a long way towards impressing against those who have difficulty adapting. Sometimes it's not the answer, but how you answer, your thought processes and ability to think outside the box.
  • Be worldly. I'll talk about this in a future article, but knowing the latest trends, market interactions, how to use software platforms and being able to come up with a well-fitted real world answer to a difficult question is viewed in great light. Hard work learning is the only way to get there. The irony is, though, if you don't want to put in the effort now to becoming adept at these things, there's a high chance you won't have what it takes to be a trader.

Practicing brainteasers, math questions, and real world scenario explanations can only enhance your chances. Read staple books on the profession, like Market Wizards. Get to know the trends in the industry, and have a theory about their implications.Another way to generate interest is to start your own simulation account, and start trading. Trade any time frame, stocks, general market, commodities, whatever. Document your trades, your progress, and how you adapted. Compile a track record. Don't get down if you're not profitable, especially not initially. The key is the thinking process. Many platforms exist that offer this for free, Ninjatrader gives you a free sim account and there are ways to acquire data. Write a mechanical system, document it, and show them. Differentiate yourself.


Trader jobs are as difficult to land as they are lucrative. Due to the high competition, it's important to make smart decisions when you're young, including but not limited to: top school selection, strong grades, math/problem solving-based major, working in internships, and working on your trading-related skills, including communicating and computers.Applicants should also think about extra curriculum study, in the form of taking the CFA, or moving on to post-graduate education (the latter being important for quantitative jobs or 'quants', which I'll go through in a future article) . CFA is unnecessary for a propriety trading firms (who generally don't deal with more academic and technical subjects), but an understanding on financial relationships is an important characteristic that you must demonstrate.

Working on skills, showing an understanding of the economy, classic analysis, and the inner-workings of the market are huge pluses and set you apart from other applicants. The pay structure is heavily biased towards bonuses, especially after the first couple of years. Different certifications are required, like the Series 55 and other requirements (depending on state law), but these are taken after you have the job, very rarely before. Luckily, there is a large pool of mid-tier prop firms and trading shops that are looking to hire exciting and unique potential. Breaking into the business requires discipline and persistence. Don’t take no for an answer, do your research on firms, and figure out your best career move.

Last edited by ArturiusX; 03-05-2011 at 03:24 PM.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-01-2011 , 08:30 PM
5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Enhance Your Employability

Just like someone in a full-time job, it can be difficult for a poker player to find time – and then, that elusive motivational feeling – to make improvements in their lives that will ultimately benefit their career. The first problem is always, where to start? What can I do that doesn’t require a large commitment, like registering for a course or showing up for an exam? Luckily, there are plenty of things a poker player can work towards in his free time to enhance his career prospects. Let’s look at five different improvement ideas that poker players can do right now:

Learn Excel

Just like Hold Em Manager is the language of the poker world for explaining data, Excel is the language of the business world. Accounting, record keeping, calculations, indexing, designing solutions, Excel can do it all. It’s dynamic (with VBA scripting), powerful (large data processing capabilities), yet universally compatible and used by almost every single serious business in the world. Mastering Excel is not only a great addition to your resume, it teaches you problem solving skills and how to use your computer as a tool. Here’s a quick guide to how one could learn excel:
  • Youtube offers a great selection of training videos, with a great range for beginners and experts. With little Excel experience, sometimes it’s easier to learn with a visual aid, rather than through more boring Microsoft Network websites. Here are some video series’ I recommend on Excel: TheSmartMethod has produced some great total beginner videos. ExcelVBAHelp demonstrates how to use VBA in a clear way.
  • Books are a staple learning medium for computer software, and Excel is no different. The rich information that can be embodied in a book makes them a great choice for a more intense learning experience. For beginners I recommend Essential Excel Skills, a well thought out and easy to pick up book that includes enough information to make it an efficient read. For intermediate learning, I highly recommend Excel Bible, a large but in depth book that seems to cover just about everything Excel has to offer. Reading and mastering both of these books will put you in the top 2% of Excel users, and you’ll have no problem in showing off your skills to prospective employers.
  • Community message boards and groups are great places for asking questions, reading about other people’s projects, and engaging in some more practical Excel skills. The MrExcel message board is great for questions about Excel, while the xltraders google group is dedicating to using excel in practical finance and trading scenarios. These communities are great for honing in on your skills and learning the full spectrum of tried and tested Excel techniques.
Learn to Program

Like learning Excel, programming is seen as an important skill in the business world, but unlike Excel which is more mandatory, programming is practiced by only a small percentage of workers. You may say, “well, I’m not going to be a programmer, so why bother?” Truth is, automation of tasks, database lookups, scrapping data and fixing existing software are all tasks that even a neophyte programmer can engage himself in. Programming also teaches you about computer, in general, how things work under the surface. Just because you’re not building cars doesn’t mean you can’t know how to look at the engine and tighten some bolts.

The best place to start programming is undoubtedly python, also the most recommended by other programmers. What language you learn isn’t too important, but python is simple, dynamic, with a scripting feel but still feels structured like a low-level language. Python also has the most guides written for it, freely available. It also has rich documentation, i.e people have written about the language and added on their own parts, easily downloadable. Think Python is a great (and free) e-book that doesn’t just teach a language, but how to think like a programmer. Next there’s a whole host of sites associated with python learning, if you finish Think Python, take a look at completing some of these:
  • Think Python, a great beginner book for both python and programming
  • Python for fun has some great example programs and resources
  • Code Complete 2, a fantastic book about software development and breaking down problems
By the end, you should have a good feel for how the language works. Why not do some practical programming? Make a python script to clean up your downloads folder. Create a scrapper for automatically downloading player information from pokertableratings. Breakdown your poker database library and create your own (albeit very limited) pokertracker. You can use Django to create an interactive webpage from scratch, and start your path towards web development. All of this can be achieved by someone below the intermediate level. Not to mention the critical thinking skills you’ll learn. Or how much adding programming experience to your resume will set you apart.

Creating a custom newsfeed

Staying in-touch can sometimes be difficult as a poker player. We live in our own bubble world, focused too heavily on poker updates, while we ignore parts of the outside world, mostly because it seems over the top. This is heavily frowned upon by employers; they are looking for people who are current in the world, with trends, changes, and current themes. Luckily, catching up to this can be done passively, using RSS feeds and a little bit of time each day. Constructing a custom newsfeed is easy enough, but there are choices. RSSOwl is a great program from getting updates, while Google RSS and Newsfeed are great browser-based solutions for update-to-date news. OPML files (how feed information is stored, like a bookmark file) are portable between software packages, so don’t worry about having to choose and being forced to stick with it. Here’s a quick guide:

1. Download RSSOwl, or get an account with Googlereader or Newsblur. I personally use Newsblur, it’s the prettiest and I can look it up wherever I go.

2. Start compiling a list of feeds. The classic big news sites will all have an RSS feed, usually broken into sub-genres, like ‘Current Events’, ‘Business’, ‘Entertainment’, etc. Good starting points are CNN, BBC, Reuters, New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

3. Add some popular blogs for some commentary. Most blogs will re-post current events and news articles, adding commentary, views, and cross-referencing other views from other blogs. This is great for getting a feel for the consensus of an issue. A list of popular blogs is here.

4. Finding niche blogs is easy, use the blogroll links and inspect the blogs yourself. Like a post? Add it to your feed! Don’t like the style? Move on. Crawl through, find blogs you like. You’ll start to notice that not all blogs are equal, and some are more cited than others. Influence tells you something about importance.

5. Or you can cheat and download my simple OPML file, with some basic news aggregation. Remember to add some of your own favourite material!

Reading this every day for 20 minutes will not only keep you informed, but keeps you out of the bubble that is poker, which can do wonders for your game. Employers like people who can relate things to current events and talk about trends, so why not develop this skill?

Write a valuation for a stock

Looking to get into finance? Want to work on something, but don’t know where to start? A common interview question is asking the candidate what stock they like, and why. Frequently on finance-related message boards, young graduates who land an interview are told that they’ll need to prepare a stock choice, and quickly rush to the internet to seek advice. “What’s a good stock to choose?” Rather than waiting for this, why not take the initiative and get to know a stock, its context and personality? Writing a strong valuation is a great way to impress employers, particularly if it’s clear you did this before being informed that it’s a requirement. Plus you’ll learn all kinds of things about stocks, while having more interesting party conversations. Some points:
  • The first mistake young candidates make is thinking they need to pick the next big stock. A valuation and appraisal can have modest estimates but still be very important. The market is built upon relative information, not on absolute. If a stock is going to grow but not as much as the market says, there’s a profit opportunity somewhere. Thus, you should be less concerned about how good the stock is, and more concerned about how the market views it vs the underlying fundamentals.
  • Ratios are nice, and everyone wants to know a company’s exposure, but what really impressed employers are hidden variables, catalysts, and industry evaluations. These require more critical thinking than listing a bunch of numbers about growth. For some examples of great reviews, check out all of these posts by Bronte Capital.
  • These should be a work-in-progress. Changing your mind is encouraged. Nothing will make you seem more pig-headed than only seeing good things in a stock. Talk about both the strengths and weaknesses, and what short/long term problems could change your mind. Be balanced, and open to ideas.
  • Focus on the macro-industry picture more than the macro-economic picture. Macro-economics is hard and very few people are good at it. Don’t use the US’s long term growth prospects as a justification for anything. Some industries in the US are booming, while some are not. This is far more relevant and specific. Focus on competitors, market growth, and trends relative to the industry, not on whether Ben Bernanke is good or if the US is going to hyper-inflate.
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect! The idea is to show critical thinking. You’re not an analyst from Goldman Sachs, you don’t have to make your report pretty, precise, and super professional. Instead, make it coherent and with a focus. See the Bronte Capital links for what I’m talking about, it’s very hard to do, but think about how much these would impress an interviewer!
  • Take research ideas, but don’t steal opinions. People who regurgitate opinions are obvious and a dime a dozen. Use this to your advantage, and write something original at the expense of roughness; you’re trying to get people to see your potential, not your ability to follow crowds.
Great books include Graham’s The Intelligent Investor, and Security Analysis by Hackel, and for reading balance sheets, check out Financial Fine Print by Leder.

Learn Statistics and Applied Probability

A poker player who isn’t comfortable with probability is going to raise alarm bells. You don’t need to have a grad school-level of understanding, but at least explaining the math behind the concepts you use on a day-to-day basis should be a goal. Luckily, like everything else, there are many guides available on the internet. If you’re in school and can take a course (this goes for all of the above, of course), that should be your priority, as it’ll look more formal when you list it as a skill. If not, don’t fret. Another pre-requisite for these things will be calculus and algebra. Once again, if you’re in school, I highly recommend taking an intro level course, if you haven’t done already. If not, there are many intro level courses and books for learning calculus. I recommend hiring a tutor to keep you motivated and improve. Here are some resources for learning statistics.

Introduction to the Theory of Statistics is the gold standard as a starting point.

Introduction to Probability and Statistics Using R, free and combines both statistics and programming learning in one book!

Yao has a great write up of probability theory in this blog post, keep in mind it is somewhat heavy and a difficult read if you’re not versed

Check out the Probability message board on twoplustwo, and on Talkstats. Both engage in some interesting thought-exercises about theoretically probabilities, and a more practical approach is a great way to cement concepts.

Thanks for reading. All this research was compiled by a group called Sixth Street Careers, check out our marketplace thread.

Last edited by ArturiusX; 03-15-2011 at 09:26 AM.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-01-2011 , 08:30 PM
The Importance Of Interview Technique

“I’m sorry Daniel, but they have decided not to progress you to the next stage”.

After 8 months of repeating this line, I was getting a little tired of it. Daniel was one of my first candidates I represented as a junior recruiter for my headhunting firm in London. When I saw his resume, I was excited and a little bit in awe. With 5 A’s at A-level, a double 1st in Maths from Oxford and a PhD in Financial Mathematics from Cambridge, I was sure I would have Daniel employed in a matter of days. Eight months later, he had interviewed with over 20 banks and hedge funds and had yet to receive a single offer.

A number of my colleagues advised me sincerely to move on – he was a lost cause. What was Daniel’s problem? The answer was simple – his interview technique was terrible. While undoubtedly bright, he would rush answers without thinking them through, his eagerness to impress resulting in incoherence rather than concise responses that impressed. It got worse as time moved on. As his nerves would heighten, he became more desperate. I started to wonder myself – would Daniel ever get a job?

I am pleased to say he secured a role with a solid investment fund, and his career has gone from strength to strength. But it was only when I sat down with him to properly prepare for that crucial interview that we finally made the step we needed. He went in prepared and ready and left with an offer in his hand.

Nowadays, I work directly for an Investment bank, managing mandates for the recruitment team. The finance industry is a fiercely competitive sector, and I see people like Daniel day in, day out: strong resume, but poor when it comes to the interview. I might screen through over two hundred applications for one single mandate, twenty of which I screen over the phone and a dozen are presented to the hiring manager in form of a long-list. We probably invite in around half of those for face-to-face interviews. I sometimes wonder if they realise they have beaten potentially hundreds of other applicants just to get this far. So, it is extra disappointing to then inform very capable individuals week-in, week-out, that they have not performed well enough during the interview because, more often than not, a little more preparation could well have made the difference.

More importantly, many top firms keep the interview feedback on record, so particularly bad interview performances can come back to haunt you should you reapply at anytime in the future.I once presented a resume of a mathematician to a quantitative manager who informed me "I met this person 2 years ago, and they did not impress". At first, I felt this was a little unfair - surely one can improve a lot over 2 years - but what you realise with the top firms, they are only on the lookout for the very best. They want special individuals who can help them beat their competitors when making important investment divisions. Many areas of finance including prop trading are zero-sum games. For the company to make money, someone else out in the market will have made a loss, and for this reason, there is no gain in hiring someone who is just “good”. Their competitors already have “good”, they need “outstanding”.

So what steps can you take in order to help at interview stage? Some very simple work before an interview can help you ten-fold in the interview itself.

The first rule is “know your resume”. This may sound obvious, but many people list old skills and experience on their resume simply to “pad it out”, and do not expect questioning around minor subjects. However, many interviewers will purposely ask you about smaller parts of the resume to build a basis for trust going forward. If you say you have conversational Spanish, but do not, questions on it. If you can’t answer questions on it, then don’t include it on the resume.

With that in mind, it is helpful to think about obvious questions that may come up, and prepare for them. In particular, you should have well structured responses ready for why you are looking to leave your current employer, and why you want to work for this specific company.

Finally, ask the interviewer about their own background and role. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so by asking a nice "open" question about their own experiences, you give them a chance to take the lead, sell to you a little, and build a relationship. It is very likely you will be working quite closely to whoever you meet, so they won't only want individuals who can answer mathematical questions correctly and describe their resume fluently. They will be looking for someone they think they can get along with well each day, someone who will be a strong addition to the team both professionally and socially.

Remember, when interviewing for the top firms, they tend to start looking for reasons NOT to hire you, rather than reason to hire you. Don't give them grounds for not wanting you on-board. They will then start focusing on the positive attributes you can bring.

Adam Walker is an Investment Banking Human Capital Consultant, with 10 years experience for both a top headhunting firm and directly in HR for top tier Investment banks. He is also a coordinator for Sixth Street Careers, a firm devised to advise and guide poker players into new careers.

Last edited by ArturiusX; 03-20-2011 at 06:24 PM.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-01-2011 , 10:34 PM
Very good so far, looking forward to the rest. Thanks for posting this.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-01-2011 , 10:51 PM
Great writeup Arturius. Although I think the assumptions you gave to a poker player a slightly harsh, you also gave relatively light assumptions for a "regular job" and it gets the point through regardless.

One thing that might be beneficial would be to include a list of websites toward the end which give extra information/other discussion boards that are relevant. I know you mentioned analystforums but WSO/Investopedia might also be useful.

Look forward to this being stickied.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-01-2011 , 11:08 PM
ArturiusX- really good

I opted to go the financial advising/sales route right after graduation. I think sales gives you the highest probability of jumping into the 150k+ range while the downside is that if you don't succeed you're basically stuck making peanuts because of how difficult it is to transition from sales jobs into non-sales jobs.

Putting poker on the resume can be tricky. You need to be able to quantify your success and communicate it in a way that is intelligent and piques the interest of who is reading your resume. I think the general message has to be that you were making more money than the job you're applying for offers but you're willing to make a step back in income to put your career on the right path. It's very situational dependent and in general, if you didn't knock it out of the park you should really exclude it from your resume.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 12:50 AM
Great post, this is very valuable information for poker or even non-poker players. I would advise people graduating from college or looking for an entry level jobs to stay away from financial advising/sales. IMO, most large to medium size mutual fund companies have some sort of MLM structure. They will almost always hire any undergraduate with a degree (doesn't matter if it's finance or psychology). These senior managers glorify the job, exaggerate salaries (you can make six figures in two years!), and persuade you as much as possible to take the job. In reality, the managers just hire you so they can get your friends, parents, and family members as clients. Eventually, you won't be able to meet the quota; you'll get laid off and your clients will belong to the company. Not to mention a lot of these mutual fund companies rarely act on the best interest of their clients (high premiums on insurance, front load mutual funds with high expense ratios, etc.). IMO, financial advising is something you should consider when you are older. Clients are more inclined to invest their money into someone who has been in the industry for a while, rather than a 22 year old.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 01:07 AM
Excellent post...can't thank you enough for helping me open my eyes about poker!
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 01:20 AM
I think you are being really harsh on how little your hypothetical poker player makes. Do it again for $100-200k in salary.

Last edited by TheMetetrown; 03-02-2011 at 01:25 AM.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 02:01 AM
interesting topic o.o is it possible if u use the top 5% of each group and do a comparison?
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 02:27 AM
I've been looking for something like this

Will read and reply soon
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 02:49 AM
Looks very nice, reading now.

EDIT: read for a bit. A big thing you overlook for euro players is the tax issue. If you move to the UK your poker earnings will be tax free and this makes a huge difference compared to the 600k from the job that will turn into +-3-400k.

Last edited by mithras; 03-02-2011 at 03:02 AM.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 05:59 AM
See the article: Introduction to Trading Careers for more information.
Link to this? Google didn't turn up anything and I don't see it in previous threads you've started.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 06:50 AM
Originally Posted by TheMetetrown
I think you are being really harsh on how little your hypothetical poker player makes. Do it again for $100-200k in salary.

Other than that, BY FAR one of the best/most relevant posts I've read on the forum!
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 08:40 AM
Originally Posted by Daddy Warbucks
Link to this? Google didn't turn up anything and I don't see it in previous threads you've started.
Sorry, an article I'll be releasing soon. Just giving you guys time to digest this one.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 10:39 AM
awesome research and I do think a lot of Pokerplayers where looking for something like that.

IMO is the skill-factor totally underestimated in the example above.
Poker is highly a game of skill. The Person with the most skill will usualy play the higher and highest games.
I would rather compare Poker with Sports than with anything else. A Soccerplayer like Lioni Messi have so much more skill and talent then a random player in the league.

If you love the game and do have high skill-level there is no reason to ever do anything else in life.
In fact - if you do have amazing skill in Poker you might be successfull in many other areas aswell.

When It comes down to the typical midstakes-grinder who lack of awesome skill this analysis applies so much more.

In the End of the day I dont like to compare Poker with other Businesses by the fact of how much you earn. I do strongly believe you should rather find what you really enjoy. If you enjoy what you do you gonna be good. This applies for Poker aswell for everything in life.
Instead of looking where to make the most money you should rather look at what you enjoy.

Just my 2 cents
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 11:08 AM
Wow, really great write up.

As cliche as it sounds, I agree with Troy and think it's really important to find something you really enjoy. As poker players we naturally think of maximizing our earnings at all times, which is great to naturally do. But when you start working you realize that making $100,000 less over the course of a lifetime and doing something you love is better than making that much more doing something you don't enjoy.

I'm interested to read the rest of this and the discussion that follows.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 12:13 PM
Quick question

Are most of the readers on this site college students?

I have one year left of graduate school (dual MBA major HR and finance) and I am wondering how many people here are actually college students.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 12:26 PM
If I found the secret to finding what you enjoy and managed to link that into making a living I'd be preparing for my world book tour instead of browsing 2p2.

The trouble with 'do what you love' is it doesn't really mean anything. You can twist it to any context you want. I think more importantly, people should be challenging themselves in an area they think they have an edge in.

Another problem with the 'what you love' is that, this isn't a static concept. We all loved poker at some point. Then we fell out of love. Or our love evolved. Either way, its an evolving, changing thing. You can't find it and sit on it and enjoy a happy life. Some people might get lucky, but I don't see any skill factor involved in landing such positions. The percentage play is to build skills, a resume, and a mixture of strong, in demand specialities that you seem to be good at, then work on crafting out something for yourself. At least that way you're in a position to negotiate in the creation of such dream jobs, rather than just sort of hoping to land it, like everyone else in life.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 12:41 PM
Do you think you are more likely to love what you do if you are self employed/successful entrepreneur etc. Or doesn't that matter? The freedom side of things seems more appealing than a boss, guess it depends on the job and person?
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 01:06 PM
Originally Posted by catuskid
Do you think you are more likely to love what you do if you are self employed/successful entrepreneur etc. Or doesn't that matter? The freedom side of things seems more appealing than a boss, guess it depends on the job and person?
We are all different but I think OP has put the nail on the head. While there are guys making abnormal amts of money and enjoy the game, there are much more who just do it because we enjoy the freedom it brings and a decent salary. Some guys like me just do it cuz I like the financial freedom but not really in love with the game anymore, and am wasting time to keep pursuing it (hence why I returned to school). Most of us who love playing poker do so because of the challenge, competition, and money aspect. You can find these in many other jobs. We just freak at not being able to sleep til 1pm and sit at home in our underwear and give excuses as to why we "can never work another 8-5 again." Very few in this game have made it...others are just finding ways to tell themselves they have.

EDIT: off track from your question but I think yes...people who have played poker shrivel up at the thought of someone telling them what to do nowadays. I'd say freedom side of things>>>>>>>boss, but doesn't mean having a boss is bad.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 02:09 PM
Originally Posted by ArturiusX
If I found the secret to finding what you enjoy and managed to link that into making a living I'd be preparing for my world book tour instead of browsing 2p2.

The trouble with 'do what you love' is it doesn't really mean anything. You can twist it to any context you want. I think more importantly, people should be challenging themselves in an area they think they have an edge in.

Another problem with the 'what you love' is that, this isn't a static concept. We all loved poker at some point. Then we fell out of love. Or our love evolved. Either way, its an evolving, changing thing. You can't find it and sit on it and enjoy a happy life. Some people might get lucky, but I don't see any skill factor involved in landing such positions. The percentage play is to build skills, a resume, and a mixture of strong, in demand specialities that you seem to be good at, then work on crafting out something for yourself. At least that way you're in a position to negotiate in the creation of such dream jobs, rather than just sort of hoping to land it, like everyone else in life.
I'd QFT this a million times if I could.

Finding a field you have an edge in and exploiting it is an extremely satisfying endeavor over the long-term.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote
03-02-2011 , 03:16 PM
Excellent post. I especially like the resume gap situation. Should be stickied.
When Should You Move On From Poker? In Depth Career Analysis and Resume Gap Guides here. Quote