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Rant: If Poker's Your Business, Treat It Like One
For the simplicity of this article it’s safe to pigeonhole poker players into two different categories.
The first is the recreational player who derives his or her main source of income from other means. He or she may or may not earn money through poker, but it's nothing more than an interesting hobby.
The other is the "professional" poker player who derives his or her main source of income from poker. This income can come in a variety of different forms that include playing, coaching, writing and staking. This is the type of player I'm speaking to here.
Pay a Visit to the Local Bookstore
Dusty ‘Leatherass’ Schmidt once wrote a book called Treat Your Poker Like a Business and I think it’s high time younger poker players paid a visit to the local bookstore and pulled it off the shelf before they end up mopping floors for a living.
I've just read with incredulity a growing thread on 2+2 where the original poster, KyddDynamite, describes how a suspected cheat called Dan ‘Flapjack1270’ Harner has taken him for a fool.
In the thread KyddDynamite explains how Harner contacted him to ask for a live staking deal. KyddDynamite agreed and Harner lost around $6,000 of Harner’s money before doing a runner - right about the same time $10k-15k goes missing from KyddDynamite’s room.
This rant is not to poke fun at KyddDynamite and I stand up and salute him for showing his naivety in a bid to stop this sort of thing from happening again.
Instead I'm going to extend KyddDynamite’s wishes and the point of this rant is to raise awareness of an issue that is all too familiar within our game.
More Losers Than Winners
There are more losers in the game of poker than there are winners. Assuming not everyone is Bill Perkins, how do they all manage to stay in the game?
This thread is one of the reasons why. Some of the winners get carried away with their success. They take their money for granted and they give it away like Krishna's dish out little flowers at airports.
Most of this naivety comes from the young and that’s fine because they learn through their mistakes. But why can’t they learn through the mistakes of others?
KyddDynamite is not the only person to allow a complete stranger into his home and then ended up posting a bad luck story on 2+2. Doesn’t anyone ever read these threads apart from the sarcastic posters?
KyddDynamite took on a complete stranger and gave him a total of $6,000 to play poker with because he believed "anybody can beat the live game."
He then decided to play with him and realized he was awful and yet continued to stake him. Then $10k-15k went missing at the same time Harner also went missing.
When Harner returned after a week-long absence he was allowed to do his laundry ... at which point he duly made his second getaway.
Money Doesn't Last Forever
Money doesn’t last forever, kids. Eventually it runs out, and when it does most young poker players have a problem on their hands.
The first problem they have is most of them don’t know how to earn a living. They don’t understand life in the real world.
The other problem is their attitude and the pull of the poker circus. For many this is all they have known since leaving school. It’s their life and to leave is unthinkable. These people will do anything to stay in the game.
$6,000 is like winning the lottery to a young poker player who has lost everything and I don’t care how much money you have. If you don’t start treating your poker like a business you will be dreaming of the days you had $6,000 handed to you on a golden platter.
In the poker industry there is a Lilliputian's thong between a six-figure and zero-figure bankroll. If you're going to stake players, or loan players money, you have to do it in a very professional manner.
This includes vetting, contracts, coaching and supervision. Most of all it involves trust and a hardline approach with people who screw you around.
Take It From Toby
Toby Lewis is one of the most successful backers in the modern game.
Why? Because he chooses people that he trusts. With rare exceptions Lewis backs people he has known closely for several years.
He understands their game inside out and trusts their life choices also. Lewis does this because he treats his poker like a business, and you will never see that kid short of a few bucks I can tell you.
If you're a young poker player, and for the sake of argument yes I’m speaking to 18-30 year olds, I suggest you read the 2+2 thread.
Then go out and buy a copy of Dusty Schmidt’s book before you end up running away from your own life just like Dan ‘Flapjack1270’ Harner.