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One Last Shot
Three weeks before graduation, I ran into an old friend from the dorm tournament who told me that starting next week, a new dorm would be hosting. To say I was eager would be an understatement. This time I approached my old adversaries with a new confidence born of hundreds of hours of experience online. Best of all, the Alpha Delt president had the nerve to show up, and Doyle Brunson helped me to bust him: Alpha Delt raises in middle position, I reraise 7:spade: 8:spade:, he calls. Flop 5:spade: 8:club: A:spade:. Alpha Delt leads out, I shove on him, he calls with AK, I river the 8 to KO him. Heӳ pissed, and though Iӭ now chipleader, Iӭ really just happy to have busted this d-bag. As youӶe probably guessed by now, I went on to win one of the largest tournaments this game had ever seen, cashing for $200 even. Though this probably wasnӴ even enough to make me unstuck in the long run in this tournament, I was walking on air. Liquor stores were closed, but I called up a friend who lived nearby. She had a bottle of wine that we drank to celebrate, and I ended up walking home half drunk through the south side of Chicago at 4 AM with $200 tucked in my sock. Going Pro I never explicitly decided to become a professional poker player, and truthfully I still donӴ really consider myself to be one. Iӭ just a guy who graduated from college with a philosophy degree and no job prospects (is that redundant?). Actually, thatӳ not quite true. All through college, I had worked for the Chicago Public Schools teaching, judging, coaching, and eventually running their debate league. I had also been in a long-distance relationship for three years with a friend from high school who went to Boston University.
When I graduated, I was offered a full time job with good benefits in Chicago working with the debate league, which I absolutely loved doing. But I also had the opportunity to move to Boston and live with my girlfriend, which is what I opted to do. While applying for jobs, I grinded it out at $5 and eventually $10 sit and goes on Pacific Poker. But no jobs were panning out, and as anyone whoӳ lived in Boston knows, you canӴ really make rent (even half of rent on a one bedroom apartment) one-tabling sit and goes. I still did some contract work for the Chicago Debate League, maintaining their website among other things, but it wasnӴ enough to make ends meet, and I was damn near out of options. Then I got an IM:
Logan: Hey, play the 10K Guarantee [a $15 daily tournament on Pacific] with me. Foucault: I dunno. Logan: Cӭon. Foucault. Alright. We both built up nice stacks early on, and at some point agreed that if either of us took first, heӤ give the other $500 (first prize was over $2500). Logan busted and left to go to the library, joking that he expected me to make him $500. A few hours later I left a message on his voicemail: ԗhere the fuck are you? I need you to tell me whether you want your $500 cash or a check.ԍ Ten minutes later he called me back. ԙouӲe fucking kidding me.ԍ ԓwear to God.ԍ Ultimately, Logan wouldnӴ accept the $500, saying it was too frivolous of a deal, but I insisted on giving him $100. Having bought myself a little financial breathing room and a lot of confidence, I purchased a few poker books, noticed an advertisement for this www.twoplustwo.com website, and the rest is history.
Parting Advice Once it became clear to me that I really could support myself playing poker, I decided to start a debate league in Bostonӳ public schools like that one that I missed from Chicago. In the last two and a half years, IӶe spent hundreds of hours and dollars on this project, and I wouldnӴ give it up for anything. Even my biggest cashes these days donӴ give me the thrill that I got from winning that first poker tournament for $87, but I do get that feeling every time I see my students competing at one of their debate tournaments. I donӴ recall who it was, but someone on 2+2 once posted in one of those Should I Go Pro threads something to the effect of ԅach person is dealt two cards, and there is a round of betting. Then three community cards are turned face up in the center of the table, and there is another round of betting. Finally, the turn and river cards are dealt once at a time, with a round of betting after each, and the best five card hand wins the pot. This is what you want to dedicate your life to?ԍ Poker gives me the financial freedom to do what I want, but what I want to do is not play poker. I can afford to work for an organization I love at wages that I couldnӴ live on, and I can afford to volunteer my time and money for a cause thatӳ very important to me. Iӭ my own boss and I set my own hours. I donӴ want to do this for the rest of my life, but I donӴ know what I do want to do, and when I figure it out, I intend to have enough money saved up that I wonӴ have to let that be a factor in my decision.
If poker is your job, do something else with your life. Find something that you enjoy doing and that you consider to be of real value to the world. YouӬl derive a lot of personal satisfaction from it and it can help you explore career paths, build experience, and make contacts who will be useful to you if/when you decide to get a real job.