Monday, June 4, 2007

Going pro

The latest spam newsletter from Full Tilt had a pointer from Chris "Jesus" Ferguson about turning pro. He wrote that he is often asked by people whether or not they should become professional poker players, and he always answers "absolutely not."

I couldn't agree more. The very act of asking such a question indicates that the answer must be "no." The edge that seasoned professionals have over everyone else1 is relatively small. It's sort of the same as the house edge in most other casino games, like roulette or craps or blackjack. Because their edge is small, they must play almost constantly, like a shark that will die if it stop swimming2. It becomes a job. It's just like your job, except that like most other athletes, actors or others in the personal service business, their income depends completely on their performance - but unlike most athletes or actors, their performance is governed partially by elements of chance.

No. I have a lovely wife, a house and two cats. Poker may be a nice way to retire someday, but for now, I'll keep my day job, thanks.

1 Of course their edge against bad players is not small, but at the levels where seasoned professionals play, the bad players are harder to come by.

2 Yes, sharks can "mouthbreathe" just like other fish if they're not moving. It's a metaphor. Get over it.

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