There is much more to being a poker pro than playing in big games. Although as a member of Team PokerStars I occasionally get sponsored to play in certain events, there is a whole lot more to these games than simply showing up.
When I'm scheduled to participate in an event out of the country, I have to clear my personal and business calendar to give myself the time to go. It is essential that I have peace of mind and a chance to recover from jet lag so I can play at the top of my game.
Now, if several events are scheduled close to each other, I really have to block off a large chunk of time from my various affairs.
The last five weeks are a great example. I was one of 20 or more poker pros who participated in a WPT Boot Camp in the Bahamas. This event quite literally took seven days. Five days at the event and another two for traveling.
Afterward, I didn't even get the chance to go home. I had to go straight from the Bahamas to Ohio. I played in a tournament at the Argosy, an Indiana riverboat, and worked with a student friend of mine on his poker game. Altogether I was gone for 13 days.
I only get five days at home, and then I am off again to Michigan to spend the holidays with family members. Then back to Las Vegas for five days before heading back to the Bahamas. I will be playing in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and doing interviews, commercials, attending parties and lots of picture-taking.
Just reading this schedule is exhausting. Being the person who has to do the traveling is even more exhausting. Would I trade my schedule for anything in the world? Not a chance.
This is what it is all about! Being invited to and participating in these events make it all worthwhile. I know it's a tough job but somebody has to do it.
It's not all solo traveling. Two weeks ago, at the WPT Boot Camp, I was able to mix business with pleasure. I had the opportunity to take a guest with me and I gave my daughter the chance to travel as my companion.
She was delighted to go, and we had a lot of quality father-daughter time together when I wasn't teaching or playing in the Boot Camp tournaments. So, it's not all rush, rush, rush with no reward.
There are times in these events when I meet amateur players who have read my books and would like to get to know me better. Some of them are shy or apprehensive about approaching me and the other pros, but it has been my experience that the majority of fans and amateur players are quite respectful and try to avoid taking up too much of our time.
I've met a lot of people on these trips with whom I've stayed in contact and become friends. Getting to know them has been an unexpected perk of my hectic schedule.
Like anything, being a poker pro has its good points and its bad points. In short, it's what you choose to make of these experiences that determines if this is the lifestyle for you or not.