Friday, December 03, 2004

RGP discussion on "going pro"

I saw these posts on RGP this morning on a thread on "going pro." Overall, the thread was a pretty lively discussion, with good points on the pros and cons of such an endeavor.

Good post. I would like to mention one more thing. Playing poker for a living is certainly possible; unfortunately the people who can make a living playing poker are generally fairly intelligent and in all honesty should find a way to make an actual contribution to society. At the end of your life, do you want to look back and realize that the best thing you did with your intelligence and wits involved no significant contribution to society? Just my opinion. And I do enjoy playing poker (for the same reasons I enjoy playing chess, go, or even basketball), but I wouldn't want building a nice bankroll to be all that I had accomplished during my short time on this planet.

Why does intelligence bring along some sort of civic duty? What's the difference from say, an electrician? Shouldn't he use his skills on off days to fix the lights of disadvantaged people? The problem is you have to get paid or you can't eat. The problem is the whole global economy is focused on one thing: the consumption of the entire earth at the expense of all life. Who wants to contribute to that? Exactly what avenues do you think modern genius should be pursuing? Should he fire off into the business world? Should he be a doctor and save lives? Should he write a great novel that no one will ever read? Should he lose his grip on reality trying to find out what quarks are made of? Should he just try to warn everyone that the whole world is about to explode?

The closer the 2005 WSOP gets, in what would be the first leg of my proposed book, the more serious my thinking becomes on following through with my plans. I may love to gamble, but I believe the idea of leaving my job for a year is a safe play. Consider that these are viable options:

1) The best one -- I get an agent and publisher and I actually write the damn book. Some people like it. It sells a few copies. A career is born as George Plimpton for the 21st Century.

2) I can't get an agent or publisher, write the book anyway, and can't sell it. I self-publish and struggle to sell it. Financially, not a great play, but it would be a hell of a year. I've got the money to live for a year, barring a catastrophe at the poker tables -- think major stack erosion. After a year I ponder the future.

3) I just play poker for a year. Who knows? Maybe I could win the lottery otherwise known as the World Series of Poker championship. A book, eh? Too much trouble. After a year I ponder the future.

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