Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Needless to say, a lot has happened in the past couple days here in Hammer Land.

Of course, I gave my notice at work. Once I am gone maybe I'll spend some more time writing about it, but suffice it to say that the past year or so in this job has been some of the most tumultuous and really just the craziest times I have had in my professional life of more than ten years as a corporate lawyer. My company has basically gone from the best-performing company (stock market wise) over the past fifteen years in a very high-flying sector of the marketplace, to the biggest decliner in the group with suddenly significant doubts about its ability to survive very much longer at all. How exactly this happened remains a mystery to us all as employees as much as it is to investors and anyone but I imagine the extremely in-the-know within this company. But living it has been, in a word, horrible.

Yes, I have had well-documented issues with my boss with regards to my own individual situation at work. But in the end, all that stuff became trivial basically as soon as 2008 began, when our stock really began declining, and the rumors started swirling that the company might actually be in some trouble. Ever since then it's been like a downward spiral. Truly, I am one of the lucky ones getting out now as it seems more and more likely every day that we will become insolvent, get bought, or undergo some other major corporate transaction. The thought of the great, great people I've worked with all having the ongoing existence of their jobs threatened literally makes me sick to my stomach. I have to try not to think about it several times every day. But it just makes it all the more clear why I have to leave.

And no, I'm not planning to be a professional gambler.

It's funny to me, really. Would any of you out there doubt that I am among the most pompous assiest people who ever lived? Certainly I'm not arguing it. But the funny thing is, even I don't think I could make it as a professional gambler. And you know I think I'm better than you at poker, make no mistake about it. But even I don't actually entertain actual thoughts of actually playing poker for a living. Never. I mean, I used to. When I first started playing regularly online a few years back, that was like my ultimate dream. F the Man, quit my job and just play online poker and be rich, of course that's what I wanted.

But then I got realistic. I got a whole lot of poker experience, probably a million hands in my first year or so (edit: ok fine, that number is far too high, what's the diff though?), hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of tournaments under my belt, and I realized how utterly foolish those plans were, for me. I literally would not be able to make nearly enough money to live the way I want my family to live if all I did was play poker. There is no limit in any game in cash, and no buyin level of poker tournament, where I could make anything approaching the money from my day job, nor anywhere near enough to live on. Not even a very poor existence, I couldn't even support that. My ROI in tournaments just on full tilt this year is what, about 10%? That means I would have to play $300,000 worth of tournaments a year just to make 30 large? I could not come close to playing 300k of tournaments, nor could I come close to living on 30k a year at this point in my life.

And don't get me wrong. It is patently obvious that there are a good number of people out there who can make it in life playing professionally. Some people can live a whole lot cheaper than I am looking to live right now. And that's great, if it helps you to be able to make all your money just from poker, then I think that's the coolest fuckin thing in the world. Other people are a hundred times better than me at the kinds of poker that can make them the most consistent money. High stakes cash players who are good, for example, can make sickass money from just regular good-player win rates at the high levels. I blow at high stakes cash. Similarly, the truly greatest online poker players have big big ROIs and can easily win hundreds of thousands a year in online mtt profits.

But that is just not me. I'm not good enough. I'm not devoted enough. I'm not patient enough. I'm not even-keeled enough. I always play at my best when I'm having fun, and poker as a fun hobby on which I don't rely in the least for personal income has been the only way the game has ever worked out for me. If I had to play to make money to support myself and my family, I just know I couldn't do it. I'm just not cut out to be a professional poker player. For all my pomposity, I know I don't have the mentality or the game for it.

I get a lil' bit of a kick whenever a blogger leaves their current job for whatever reason, and suddenly everyone is all "go pro! go pro!" on their asses. I appreciate greatly the support, but being a poker pro is just not for me. And unlike almost every lawyer I know, I absolutely love my day job. I mean, I really love what I do. And I'm going to move on to another company to keep doing my thing. Like I said, once I am gone from this place perhaps I will write more about my experiences after what I truly believe has been a noteworthy experience that an actual good writer could probably put out an awesome book about, about working in this industry, and in particular at my company, for the past year since the onset of the crippling credit crunch that has gripped our country. But starting now I guess I will have a whole new company -- my new employer -- to protect and to not reveal the identity of here on the blog.

More to come. Looking forward to the Mookie tonight, the only blonkament I am really in to these days to tell the truth. 10pm ET on full tilt, password as always is "vegas1".

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Blogger SimpleStyle said...

You lost me at "probably a million hands in my first year or so"

2:14 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

I think this might be the closest you'll ever get to writing a "humble" post.

2:54 AM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

Gambling for a living is a dream for the naive and those without the potential to routinely rake in a $1 million a year at a "day job".

3:37 AM  
Blogger Riggstad said...

Fuel for President!

4:43 AM  
Blogger GrayCalx said...

You lost me at "Needless to say,"

9:37 PM  
Blogger Iak said...

Writing this from India...just totally shocked. I thought it was a safe bet I'd change jobs before you did. That said, I know you know what you're doing. When I left academic med I had the same sense of "correctness" when I went in that day. Obv I wish you the best and know you'll be even better for this.

Fuel has it dead right. Even Wes will have a hard time matching your regular-as-rain intake from just doing what yer supposed to be doing. You already went pro a long time ago.

I'll EM you when I get back Stateside. Be well brotha.

5:36 AM  
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