I am considering quitting my day job where I am compensated with a $45K a year salary so that I can stay home and make a living playing online poker.
In order for this transition to work I would need to make in winnings what I made in salary, $45k, which equates to an average net profit of $126.
I would love to hear from anyone who has or knows someone who has tried to make this move. <SPAN> </SPAN>Do you think $45K is a reasonable goal for someone who plays solid poker, but by no means is a tournament pro? I usually play $30+3 SNG’s and it is not unusual for me to take down 3 in a row, but then again sometimes I won’t cash 3 in a row. I have had some tournament success in the last year, winning $4500, $1800, and $1800 in a span of 3 weeks playing PP steps where I started each time on step 1. Also I won $3k (poker stars 150+12) and $1k (FCP 30+3) in MTT’s as well. So my hope is that by sustaining a healthy daily average net profit, infused with the occasional larger tournament win I can make this work.
Right now I only play when I have free time, which is usually after 9 pm after working all day and feeling kind of run down. I am hoping that if I can play during the day, I can play with more focus and alertness which will lead to greater success.
Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
Don't know what line of work you're in, but won't your salary continue to rise as you work there? Plus, you have to make much more than $45K to break even, considering that you are giving up health and retirement benefits. You need to make $55 to $60K. And after a few years of poker playing, it might be tougher to return to the workforce. How are you going to explain your time off in interviews? I'm not saying that you can't succeed playing poker, I'm just saying it ain't gonna be easy and there are too many negative things that could result.
Salary will continue to rise, but the average merit increase each year is 3%, so without a promotion, the increase isnt much to look forward too. I can get heath benefits thru my wife's job, but I have considered the retirement benefit loss and I guess that is something I couldnt do anything about.
I hear ya about returning to the workforce after being out a few years, but I was thinking if the poker wasnt working out, I would probably realize that sooner than later and be back in the workforce within a year.
What really intrigues me about playing poker for a living is that I truly believ if you work doing a job you love, than you will never work a day in your life. I really hate working for the man.
Thanks for the reply, definetly good food for thought.
Cowboy is right....also you could get a cold run of cards for a month or two and you would be done....also the $126 per day would be nice but your not going to play everyday..there could be a family emergency...Christmas and other Holidays....your site could also be down..."GOOD OLD UB" screwed me outta money for a couple of days until i changed to PokerStars....I would stick to it as a hobby and passion....it is a tuff life as a GRINDER....and also
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060217-6204.html I read this today and it was posted : 2/17/2006 11:58:10 AM, by Nate Anderson i dunno bout this but it is def something to look at...if this happened there would be more people working for the good old government rather than being poker entrupenuers
yes i think you have to pay back 25% of your winnings....my roomate just recently made a lot of money in a short period of time and I think that is how much he said he had to pay back....so your now looking at around $180-$200 a day.......this is obviously not that much more but high stakes = higher skill
i suggest to almost everyone to keep your job.
For me personally, I can handle a losing week or month, becuase I have no bills or expenses, but if I had a family to support and bills to pay, this would really wear on me, and I dont know if I would be able to play my same style of wreckless poker.
Unless you are an ELITE player I really dont think that you should be doing this full time.
However, I'm sure when bax and sheets and the rest of those studs quit their day jobs, they were faced with scrutiny and criticism as well so who knows.
You really gotta have faith in your game and know that you have the skill to pull it off, thats for sure.
A good rule of thumb is to have 6 months of living expenses set aside in addition to your BR. It is not uncommon for top rated players to have 2-3 month dry spells. You should also have 40-50 buy-in size BR for SnGs . You should track your profits and losses for a solid 6 months and keep detailed records of all of your expenses for the same time frame and then you will be able to make an educated decision based on facts.
Flop said it all perfectly about setting yourself up to play....but the first guy might have put it even better.... "Don't quit your day job".
One big problem that hasn't been mention but you alluded to is "If you do something you love, you don't work a day in your life."
Well here's the problem. Most people love poker 10-20-30 hours a week. When you HAVE to get up in the AM and play, or are stuck $500 over the past few days, trust me, you aren't loving playing poker.
Its called grinding for a reason. And there is nothing worse in the world than taking an enjoyable and perhaps profitable hobby (ie. cards, stamp collecting, antiquing, sports betting, golfing, etc) and turning it into a job and then losing your passion for it.
You will need to easily earn twice what your current job pays. You will have to pay the full burden of SSI and Medicare plus your fed taxes. You will be purchasing your Health care out of pocket as well.
18% for Social Security and Medicare (roughly)
15-25% for Fed Taxes depends on your deductions and any other sources of income
Expect $600-$1,200 for Health Insurance that is likely comparable to what you have now ($600 would be bare bones)
Have 6 months of Living Expenses saved (preferably 1 yr)
Assuming that you are the sole income and are living on 45k now, you will need to have put away 20k in savings that is not to be touched, plus have a starting poker bankroll of 10k min and preferably 4-5 times that imo.
Again, IMO, you would need to earn 8k per month playing poker and this would net you $3,960 after paying your taxes and bare bones health insurance. Basically working 20 days a month and averaging $400 net per day would be optimal. This is quite doable playing sngs in the $30-$100 range.
Discipline and skill would be the next considerations after you have the proper BR and savings.
Bottom line- pay Fox or Seal or another reputable Pro to help analyze your game and give you honest feedback before making the big move.
I would think waiting to have a little more success would be the best choice. But I'm all for someone taking a shot at something they love.
I have two kids, 6 and 3, a wife, various pets, house, private school tuitions, etc. I manage to pay for all that playing poker and them some, but I would find it extremely difficult to do so just playing online. I'm mostly a live game cash player. I also have extensive assets and income from my prior occupation that provide a large safety net. (Though, to date, I haven't used it, my wife says I can whenever I might need to. That's a huge comfort.)
I'm telling you this so you can know it's possible, and that you probably won't succeed. So what? Lot's of things worth doing are hard. I say if you love it and think you can do it. Go for it.
I would never go back to the corporate world.
Hope to see you ranked real soon.
Thanks Blue, and everyone else for your mature and insightful replies.
I have somewhat of a "safety net" to catch me if i were to fall (or fail), and if I need to go back to the corporate world, I dont forsee obtaining a position like I currently have being difficult.
All of you bring up great points, although it would be nice to hear some more success stories like Blues.
Who knows, I might try it, and in the small chance it works out then so be it.
I'm all for you giving it a go for something you love. And I wish you the best in whatever decision you make. I have a full-time job that pays in the six figures. I have a wife and two kids. Last year, I managed to win playing poker more than my annual salary. This affords me some great luxuries and freedom that I normally would not partake without the extra income. My job is my safety net and I have no desire to let it go. While I love playing poker, I never have the urge after work to play because I "have" to play. As a full time player, you might feel the need to play because you have to. That's what my full-time job affords me, a means to keep poker as a hobby and a fun way to pass time. Like I said, best of luck whichever way you decide to go.
Good points all around nice thread.
Also I'd like to add don't quit and then turn pro, turn pro then quit. Meaning when you quit make sure your game is EXACTLY where it needs to be .... you have read all the books, got a healthy BR found a good mentor as well as are mentally and emotionally prepoared to make the leap.
I would say that you dont know enough about your own game to make it......for instance you say
"I usually play $30+3 SNG’s and it is not unusual for me to take down 3 in a row, but then again sometimes I won’t cash 3 in a row"
hmmm if u say so, but sngs can be very profitable. however, lets just say u have a 10% roi which is easily attained that still means you have to play 40 sngs a day to reach ur daily average......tournys are such high varianced beasts that you should have something else like sngs or cash games to rely on imo....so my advice would be to reevaluate ur game and know the numbers you are capable of
Something else to think about that I did not see addressed is the level of competion might be a lot tougher during the day than in the evening....it has seemed to me over the past couple of years that winning at night when more players are online is an easier proposition than playing during the day.
I quit my job last May to play poker full time and I love it. I had about 6 months savings in the bank and an adequate bankroll for the cash games I was playing at the time and just went for it. I am by no means a top pro but have been making good $ (defintely over 45K annually) doing something I love and am still getting better and building my bankroll to move up levels. I think because of my family obligations I have had to be cautious and move up more slowly than I might have otherwise but it has been well worth it.
Before you decide make sure you love the game and are willing to work hard at it. Also think thru your finances and bankroll situation first to make sure you are prepared for stretches of running bad because they will come and were stressful even with a solid financial situation. Ultimately for me I just decided to go for it. Good luck in your decision.
Imagine your worst week of work.
Then imagine that at the end of the week you had to go to your boss and pay them.
I would have several months living expenses in the bank and a HUGE bankroll before I tried this. Don't burn any bridges if you quit your job, if you know that you can get your job back with no problem then give it a try.
The reason I wanted to do it for a living was because I wanted an easy job. POKER IS NOT AN EASY JOB! It's fun when you are winning but when you are losing and you look over and see a stack of bills sitting there, it takes the fun right out of it.
Also, try going to the bank and financing something, no matter how good your credit is, and tell the banker you play poker for a living. Unless you got some monster collateral then you are gonna be up shit creek.
I know it sucks to hear it but I would just play on the side. Why are you quitting your job? Because you love poker so much or because you want an easy job? If you want an easy job poker is not the way to go. You can still make plenty of extra money and keep poker a great hobby.
Ultimately it's up to you. Know what you are getting into, think of all the consequences. If you still think it's the right decision, good luck! I have been playing for a living but I can tell you, when I get my degree poker is just going to be a hobby......
Mtts have too much variance. It doesnt seem like you are really on the level of top tournament pros, and lol at your sng statement..no offense. I think you have just been on a good run. People who are beating the 215s on party are looked down upon for quitting school/job. Those guys pull 6 figures a year, easy. You are playing 30$ sngs, and I highly doubt you are as good as you think you are. I am just trying to be honest. Like someone mentioned, have someone like seal evaluate your game and see where you are, but I would suggest checking twoplustwo.com. There was recently a post about a similar topic(the topic was actually about finding a place to live, but it dealt with the kid dropping out of school) Some great posters there gave some amazing insight on what you need to know about going "Pro", and not having a stable salary. You will not have the same benefits of your job, so you will need to invest for the future, and you will have to pay health insurance. Not to mention the taxes you have to pay on your earnings. I am currently in my first month as what I consider a semi-professional poker player. I 4-8 table the 22 speeds on party, and my goals are to bring in around 4k a month, with a 25$ hourly. I will be moving my way up, and once I am making over 7.5k a month consistently in sngs, I will consider myself a professional. These are my goals, and this is to give you an idea what I am doing. It seems as if you are still playing "for fun". I would first try to take the game very seriously, and base the majority of your play around sngs, as there is less variance in them, than mtts. You can obviously mix it up with mtts, but make sure you are well versed in sng play as that can be a great source of steady income. You really have to be prepared for the swings. Poker is an f*in brutal game, and I mean that. Ask anyone here, they will tell you. It doesnt seem like you have really experienced any major downswings yet. Wait until you do, and you will understand. Anyways, I dont mean to be a dick. I am trying to open your eyes up to what you are in for, and what you need to be aware of. I could be way off base about your game, and if I am, I am sorry. I would recommend keeping your job for some time, and play as much as you can in your free time. Really focus on the game, and learn. Once again, I recommend the 2+2 forums, it has helped my game immensely. Once you have played, and won a certain amount every month(an amount that will support all your needs), then by all means, quit your job and go for it. But until then... good luck man
true you might be able to make as much or more..but online poker is super stressful...as well as awful for your overall health (i.e. playing insanely weird hours...fucks up what you eat..when/how often u sleep...ur posture...skin.....energy levels...all that shit.)...
plus it gets tough juggling the obligation..and itd become an obligation..of grinding out the (sngs) or mtts day in and day out.. because if u dont play...u have no source of income....
just a few things to think about before you quit ur job....only factor leaning towards that for me is that u said that you get home exhausted every night at 9...now if u start work in the morning...then that's no way to live either..esp if u have a family..
gl to u..and if u do play..fucking own that shit and make a ton :)'
What do you guys think if he was able to keep half his salary and benefits by working part-time and then would have half the amount of time to work on the poker?
Is the half and half approach unrealistic or not a good way to try it?
- You get to earn your income through your favorite hobby.
- You dictate when/where you play and for how long.
- You can make a whole years salary in one day.
- You are your own boss.
- Going days, weeks, or months as a losing player is VERY stressful.
- Wild swings in bankroll. (This can obv be good too)
- Legislation could prohibit online gambling (although I do not see how this could be enforced)
- Some health issues that Pet Monster brought up.
- Professional gambler taxes can top 40% if you make six figures (15% self-employment is main cause)
I personally love what I do... and thats play poker. The idea of sitting in a cubicle 40 hours a week until I'm 65 gives me nightmares. Either way you chose, you are gonna run into new pros and cons.