Posts Tagged ‘Card Player Magazine’

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

I have referred on many occasions to the vast sums of money that can be made playing poker. It never ceases to amaze me that a player can come in ninth in the WSOP Main Event and wind up winning $1 million. When can you ever place ninth in anything and walk away a millionaire? Or turn the $100 you walked in with into $5000 in one night?

But I never thought about how many losers there are in the game, especially among professional poker players. It seemed too obvious to mention – clearly for every big winner there have to be a ton of losers. But it’s not just about the percentages, or about losers on a particular night or in a particular high-stakes tournament. I’m thinking about serious, highly ranked poker players who have gone broke . . . and never came back from that.

In fact, according to a recent article by Alan Schoonmaker in Card Player Magazine , “If you’re a pro, you have a much higher probability of dying broke than members of other professions, including people who earn much less than you’re winning now.”

Yes, there are many pros that were extremely successful; former WPT and WSOP champions and bracelet winners like Johnny Moss, Stu Ungar, Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliot and Gavin Smith to name a few, that not only lost it all and spent their final years penniless, but they also died broke.

How could that happen? Why didn’t they always save a portion of their winnings for their old age? Why weren’t they at least eligible to receive social security and Medicare?

The answer, according to Schoonmaker, is too much self-confidence, otherwise known as arrogance. That’s when you ignore the rules, thinking you don’t have to save money or pay taxes like normal people, believing instead that there will ALWAYS be another huge pot to count on every time you take a seat at a poker table.

Sometimes, there isn’t.

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Vinny The GrinderBy The Grinder

From Busto to Robusto is a really cool documentary focusing on the life of a poker player. It stars Andrew Robl, a highly successful online poker player, and it showcases the free, lucrative and at times haphazard lifestyle of a professional poker player who has made it. Millions of poker players appreciate this freedom, and choose a wanderlust liberating life that appears Utopian to the rest of the world. Daniel Negreanu is probably the senior-most pro I can think of who follows this lifestyle.

However, some poker players have planted their seed of poker skills. In other words, they have children who are successful poker players themselves. The most famous successful father-son pair is that of Doyle Texas Dolly Brunson and his son Todd. Todd might not share his dad’s wonderful smile, but he sure does roll in high benjamins and carries the same poise. Next up, are Barry and Jeff Shulman, both being successful tournament poker players. Jeff, who is the Editor of Card Player Magazine, is one of my favorite poker personalities alongside Phil Hellmuth and Huck Seed. This father-son duo has cashed in several WSOP and WPT events. Thirdly, we have Barry Greenstein and Joe “The Cub” Sebok. Sebok is Barry’s step son, and though he doesn’t happen to sport his dad’s womanizing beard, he is equally successful at the poker tables. Admittedly, Joe, Jeff and Todd have had easier lives than their fathers who had to crawl their way to success. However, I commend Doyle and the two Barrys for supporting their sons in pursuing this volatile profession. If you’re a poker player, would you take that chance?


Good Luck!

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