Friday, January 13, 2017

Retirement (The Next Step)!

Does anyone read blogs anymore lol? It seems fitting to make at least one last blog post on here though, considering this blog is where my “Team Online career” all started. Actually, I’m planning on rolling out at least a couple of more blog posts now that I’ll have some more time on my handsJ. After 7 years of playing poker professionally, I’ve decided that it’s time to hang up my skates! Retirement is a pretty loose term, as you’ll still see me at the tables but I’ll explain what I mean when I say “retirement” and why I’m choosing to go down that path in the rest of the blog post (or more like essay). Before I get into everything though, I really want to thank everyone that showed me support over the years…it’s been a fun ride together and would have been a far lesser experience without all of you!

Team Online Departure

After 6 years of being a part of PokerStars Team Online, I will no longer be with the team in 2017. There wasn’t much drama behind my departure (I didn’t decide to quit the team for whatever reason nor did I do anything outlandish to get cut) as my contract simply wasn’t picked up for another year, a fate that I was not alone in sharing. I obviously know why my contract wasn’t renewed specifically and have a pretty good sense of what’s going on with the team but I’m not exactly sure what I can and can’t talk about…so I’ll just leave it at that. I’m really thankful for the opportunity of being a part of Team Online-very few people get the chance to be on the team and I’m grateful for all of the awesome memories that I’ve had over the years as a member. By far the best part of being on the team was forming relationships with a lot of great people, colleagues and followers alike. Going forward, I’m not really concerned about losing touch with a lot of the people that I’ve met because many connections have become deeply rooted over the years.

Had I been offered my contract again, I almost definitely would have gladly accepted. It’s a pretty sweet gig to be compensated for playing poker…especially if you’re playing professionally anyways! Honestly though, when I found out that I would be getting dropped from the team I had a lot of mixed feelings…of course I was disappointed but there was also quite a sense of relief and excitement about my future.

Over the last few years, I’ve continued to enjoy playing poker but on a much lower level than the first few years of my career. When I first started playing full time around 2010, I remember waking up every morning feeling incredibly happy and excited to log-on and put in a big grind for the day. Time flew by when I was playing and it terms of winning money and moving up stakes, it felt like the sky was the limit. Obviously, between when I first started playing and now there have been a lot of changes to the online poker world and at least the big ones have been almost exclusively negative. I’m not just talking about what the sites have done or haven’t done either…Black Friday, games getting tougher and smaller, different countries being segregated and so many other factors have all contributed to my diminishing enthusiasm of poker over the years. Also, regardless of how I feel about the current poker landscape, I’ve realized that being on the computer for countless hours every day is also something that I want to try to dial way back.

There is certainly a fairly high opportunity cost of playing poker for a living financially speaking. There are a lot of ways that one could be earning money or building wealth for oneself and for me, I believe it has made sense to continue playing poker over the years but I’ve felt compelled to keep playing largely because of the incentives of the Team Online contract. I’ve experimented with many different game types over the past few years to test different ways of earning money through poker and also keep my interest in the game high. From PLO to tournaments to streaming on twitch…I’ve ventured down a lot of different paths and I really did enjoy dabbling in a lot of these formats, especially MTTs and twitch. These avenues were not exactly raking in the dough for me, however, and at the end of the day nothing seems to compare (monetarily speaking for me personally) to my bread and butter game: full-ring cash games. Unfortunately, there’s no more SNE anymore and even if there was, the thought of putting in a grind that large to obtain the status is not something that really interests me at this point. Of course you can make money in cash games without SNE but I think all avenues to success will require a ton of hours being put in on and off of the tables just the same. Long story short, without the contract I no longer feel like poker is my hands-down #1 option and I think it’s now worth it for me to invest my time and efforts in other areas and not exclusively in poker.

The Future

So, what’s next for me? Well, it’s always been my goal to use poker as a tool to generate capital to invest in assets that can build wealth over time. I’ve never envisioned playing poker professionally for my whole life and I’ve always knew that there would be an end point-I just wasn’t sure exactly when that’d be. Taking a step back from poker these last few months has kind of allowed me to realize that I actually already have enough equity to start accomplishing my ultimate goal...sometimes it pays to be a nit ;). As for what I want to invest in-I really like real estate and want to buy some rental properties so I’m currently in the process of doing just that. There’s a lot of time and effort that needs to be put into real estate investing so as of right now, my time in 2017 will likely be divided between the investing and still some poker to generate a bit of income while I try to not go completely broke.

As for what poker I plan on playing, I’ll likely be taking a very, very risk-averse approach where I do some kind of bankroll build from the micros by playing a mixture of tournaments and cash games. I’m going to do what I feel is fun for me and doesn't put much money at risk and I’ve always enjoyed moving up through the ranks and doing various challenges for myself.

I want to close this post by saying that I don’t want you to think that you can’t make money in poker anymore…the cash games and tournaments that I played in last year actually seemed quite good. I’ll still be out there on the virtual felt grinding away plenty in 2017…my point is just that for me, it feels like it’s the right time to put poker on the back burner and focus on other things!

I’ll still be around on all of my social media so don’t be a stranger…and of course,

gl at the tables!