Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Whoa, I need to get my head straight!

As of late, I've been putting most my energy into poker. It doesn't help that I was sick this last weekend and the better part of last week, not to mention Monday and Tuesday of this week as well. My Circle 2 is coming along HORRIBLY now. I don't know what's gotten into me. The problems seem MUCH harder now than in Circle 1. I'm finishing the levels with less percentage accuracy than before. I guess I can blame this on the fact that I've been playing/studying too much poker and not enough chess.

Now is a critical point in my life where I need to evaluate more in depth what I really want to achieve in life. I have made a couple friends who make very decent livings from playing professional poker (~$100,000/year) and they inspire me to do the same. I watch them play online and they seem invincible at the tables. I want to be like them, make money like them.... At the same time, I don't want to get too caught up in the hype and miss out on everything else life is throwing at me.

Lets do a quick analysis of my current position:

  • I'm 21 years old - still a baby in this world.
  • I work a 35 hour/week job at $12.50/hr, which is enough for now.
  • I'm expecting my first child late July or early August.
  • My fiancee is even more of a baby; 18 years old.
  • I have no vehicle or a place that I can really call "my own".
Now that we've got that outta the way, it's time to ask myself a few key questions:

1) Is it ok for me to be gambling at this point in my life? - At this point, I'm not really sure. I'm young and I still want to have fun while I can. I know that once this child is born I will be very limited to what I can and can't do. I want to go to Vegas with a couple grand and blow it all, I want to go to the Caribbean for a week and live life to the fullest. There's so much I want to do with my life right now but I feel so limited. I don't want to say that I feel trapped because that just sounds bad, but sometimes that's how I feel. It's almost getting to the point where I feel guilty just hanging out with friends on a Friday or Saturday night.

2) What are my expectations from chess and poker? - Like most chess players, especially newbs like myself, I wish to attain the title of Master or maybe even Grandmaster. I know this is highly unlikely but why give up? It's like resigning, you can't win if you resign. Are there any real benefits from becoming a Master chess player? We all know there's jack shit for money in Chess, which is where I turn over to poker. Now like most poker players, I want to risk a little and gain a lot. I have now seen many players do this on a daily basis on sites like Full Tilt Poker, Bodog, Sportsbook, UltimateBet, and PartyPoker. It's a real thrill playing poker because you know that your money is on the line. If you're Bill Gates then obviously you don't have this problem.

What it all boils down to is money. I want to make a more than decent living in life and I don't see myself doing that with my current job(which I don't plan on quitting) and my future wife's elementary school teaching career. I want to risk a little and gain a lot but it takes work. Looking at my current situation, it's obvious to see that it's nearly impossible for me to focus on both Poker AND Chess and be successful at both. That's just the way my brain works; it only allows me to obsess about one topic at time, thus meaning I should probably back off of one of them. I'm leaning more towards backing off of chess for awhile since it hasn't shown much progress and poker is atleast giving me extra money here and there. I want opinions people. Tell me I'm an idiot, I need to hear it! I need criticism as much as possible!

Sorry for my random ramblings.


Chessaholic said...

I am by no means an authority on all of this, but here's my opinion, for what it's worth:

Forget about poker (and chess of course) as a means of earning a living. Don't rely on something so volatile to sustain you in life. Instead, if you can save up or get a loan: further your education and start a career. Get your MBA. Do law school. Something with more realistic chances of earning you a stable, above-average income. Especially now that you're gonna be a father soon, you will have a whole lot of responsibility. Do chess & poker as a hobby, but only gamble with any excess money that you know you really do not depend on. Aim for a more stable source of income that you know will allow you to support your wife and kid in the long run.

Just my two cents...

drunknknite said...

I agree with chessaholic that learning a trade is the easiest way to make a comfortable living. Doesn't have to be MBA or law school though, and you don't need a loan or a degree. Learning anything really well (I have some friends who are electricians that make good money as an example) will allow you to become a professional.

I also agree with him that poker is not necessarily a good idea. It is possible, but I think it would be difficult to actually build a life around it. And what if you wanted to stop at some point and do something else? Now is the time to build a foundation that you can come back to if you fail or get tired of it.

Your family is going to have to come first. I can see from this post that you're man enough to know that and do that. Even if it means you can't hang out every Friday ;). It will also mean that you probably won't want to have to deal with $10K swings because you are catching some bad cards.

If you do decide to play poker, I would keep playing and studying chess on the side. The two seem to go hand in hand because both require such mental discipline and logic and intuition.

I guess the only thing I have left to say is that I know how you are feeling. There have been many days where I have just wanted to drop off the world, go to Europe and study chess and play constantly. Now that my rating is a little higher I also know I could easily make a reasonable living teaching so there is further justification. I'm due to go to get a law degree/MBA next fall (2009) and I'm working full-time and I feel like if I just stay on course I will never have a chance to do what I really wanted. Maybe after I get into a good school I will defer for a year and go play chess. All I have to say is this is a tough age man.

Sir Nemo said...

Chessaholic - That's not such a bad idea. However, it will take me at least 4 years until I can get an MBA and earn an above-average income. You are totally right when it comes to poker and chess. I shall remain to keep them both as hobbies and nothing more, unless i somehow manage to win over a million dollars ;)

Kevin - I never really thought about the difficulties being a poker pro would bring. I never even asked myself what I would do if I ever wanted to quit. I do have many good skills and have been working as a PC Technician for the last 5-6 years and also as a sound engineer for concerts for several years as well. Even though I have fall back opportunities, I've decided to keep poker and chess as hobbies. Life is just really hard right now because of the fact that I'm limited to what I can do. It's like all the youth is being sucked outta me and it's mentally and physically draining.

likesforests said...

You're an idiot. Not really, but you shouldn't look at poker as a way to earn a living, especially with a kid on the way. Online poker is not that lucrative (unless you're willing to take big risks!), and Vegas, she eats people with 'systems' for breakfast.

+ Get a certification (CompTia A+, Microsoft MCSE, Adobe Dreamweaver, or Century 21 Typing).

+ Go to a technical school or a community college to become an x-ray tech, mri tech, or nurse.

+ Get a degree (that pays).

And don't worry. A child may be a huge responsibility, a pain in the butt, an alarm clock waking you up at all hours... what was my point? Oh yeah, besides all that they also somehow change your life for the better, and you'll wonder how you ever lived without them. :)

Sir Nemo said...

Likesforests - lol thanks for that, it made my day! I do, however, have several certifications which I obtained back in vocational college. I got my A+, MCSE, Network+, Security+, Linux+, RHCE, and CISSP. Only the CISSP has ever gotten me a job that I really loved, only problem was that it was a temporary job. I think I just may need to get the hell out of New Mexico if I want to make a decent living and provide for my family.

likesforests said...

On the East coast (Atlanta) I know a couple people who broke into system administration with an MCSE and CNE and they're doing very well now. Granted, that was years ago and both certifications have lost some of their lustre.

On the West coast (Bay Area), I know the CCIE, CCIP, and CCNP are still valued. The CCNA is a small plus. I don't think anyone takes the Network+ seriously, though.

CertMag 2005 says the average salary for a CISSP ranges from $105,000-$115,000. I can't believe you're only making $12.50/hour! Perhaps that *is* a sign to move to a city where CISSP's are in demand.

The Caquetio Knight said...


Look at it like this.
Playing poker will earn you some money, you win you loose. At the end you can be broke!
Money they can take away from you.
A degree is yours and nobody can take it away (that’s what my parents always told me).
Having a degree or a profession will give you and your family financial stability.
Learn a man how to fish and he will eat everyday.!!

BlunderProne said...

I can only speak from my own experience. I was 22 when I had my first child. I barely had more than a high school education and working for the man gave me a pittance. I realized soon that the only way to get beyond those trappings was to go to school for a stable career. I started with a 2 year degree training in a technology feild. It got me my first decent job.

As my family grew, i realized I needed more, so I went back for more school and got my BS working fulltime and schooling part itme over a ten year period. That was rough... on top of it all, I got divorced and was a single father through all that. But I did it.

During that time, my aspirations of 1) being a rock star, 2) being the next chess professional and 3) mad scientist all waned to more realistic aspirations. On the other side of the divorce, I got my master's degree and am now making a very decent living that would rival the poker playing freinds of yours. Plus its mroe stable... with benefits ( more importantly) for babies, wife and long term.

I play chess and guitar as hobbies where it can still be fun. At one time in my life electronics was my "hobby" as I really wanted to be a rock star ... seriously... back in a day. Once the hobby becomes a means of supporting your self, then it becomes a hassle and is no longer fun.

That's my experience, strength and hope for what it's worth. No regrets... well...maybe... less drugs in my youth might have saved my memory for when I was really ready for chess.

Sir Nemo said...

Likesforests - Yes, the MCSE won't get you shit. Also the RHCE is a huge waste of time being that nobody hires Linux professionals in my area anyway. I believe all my certs were a huge waste of time being that they've yet to provide me with any real bang for the buck(cuz they were pricey ya know...). I really wish to move to California in the near future and hopefully my CISSP will be better suited there. I'm also slowly working on my CEH cert as well, which will play real well with my CISSP. It's really expensive though =/

Caquetio Knight - I agree totally. A good career should obviously come first. I'll work on that.

Blunderprone - You sound almost exactly like me right now. I wanted to be a rockstar so bad and my previous band did really well for ourselves for about a year or so, then things fell apart because of stupid drama. Then I wanted to be the next greatest chess player, and well.... obviously we all know how that's turning out. Poker seems to be giving me much more pleasure lately than anything as it's providing me with many hours of meeting new people and having good times, all while making decent money. It's much too expensive right now for me to go to college. Perhaps I'll make enough poker winnings to pay for school. That would be really nice :)

BlunderProne said...

You can either go in debt playing poker or you can take out loans to go to college. Community colleges are even cheaper, a lot have great financial aid programs, excellerated programs, and job placements. Before you dismiss it, dude, it's worthy a second look. You can take out a student loan that would cover living expenses too. Its a better debt to run yourself into than the potential of Poker. Plus... health insurance.. as a college student, you can get covered under thier group rates.

I'm still a rock star at heart... but I now have kids in college... so i am close to the process and know the doors that open down that path.

I always wished my future self could go back in time and let my 20-something self know that the choice made at that juncture caused an even longer and harder path.

Do yourself a favor, stop talking to the poker friends and at least start talking to colleges. You'd be surprised how much in reach it really is.

One last thing, getting in bands in people your age, let's just say we all mature at different rates. This won't level out until your all in your mid to late thrities.

takchess said...

I think you got some good advice here. In poker nation, a book written about a fellow who was a pro poker player about the culture of poker. He figured he made about 8 dollars a hour plus having to deal with the instabilities having to raise a stake after losing it all. I believe most who write/talk about the winning big money tend not to write about the times when they lost big money.Selective Memory.

I work for a company selling Computer Storage,Backup System.Most of the Manufacturers we represent have people who learn a product deeply and install it. Many customers have storage/backup admins that make reasonable money. Many of these guys are self taught with some classes. You may want to look into this if you are technically oriented.

takchess said...®ion=New-Mexico-NM

damourax said...

Hey Nemo!

Long time no talk, yes I know, also i'll blog about this soon.

Guy, you are risking a lot trying to live on poker and you already have good advices.

I'm still trying to live on chess, not as a player, but as a teacher. That's what I want, but I'm studying too, that's why i was very busy these days. I'm studying history at a Federal University, and in 4 years I'll have a degree.

Try to get some study, it will be helpfull on yout life.

Best of luck!
Sorry for the english

Drop by later, i have news :)