Monday, April 14, 2008

Avez-Vous Un Occupation?

Previously I've mentioned spending some time in France and how I really enjoyed that no one ever seemed to ask me what I did for a living. The very same question that always manages to come up within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone new in America.

It's as if we need to know your occupation in order to size you up correctly.

What are you? A lawyer? An artist?

Lemme know so I can judge.

But in France I really dug having the chance to get to know the person first. I'd eventually find out what they did and often I was surprised. Mainly because I'd gotten to know the person, rather than the stereotype.

Now close your eyes.

Well not literally. But read the next sentence in the voice of someone who is critical of poker.

"All he does is sit around and play poker all day."

To the non-poker playing human being, the above comment probably paints the "he" as lazy. And why not?

That's "All he does."

Just sits around and plays poker.

All day too!

Yet if someone accused me of such behavior it would be a compliment. It would mean that I was hard at work.

Poker has no set schedule. The game is always going. It's waiting for me when I'm ready. The problem with playing poker for a living is I don't earn when I'm not there. There's no passive income.

This "hand to mouth income stream" presents ample opportunity to feel bad about myself when I'm not working. That's been a common theme for me this year.

I like playing poker. I don't love it. Maybe I'd love poker more if I had another source of income. So that it could become a game to me again. But for now poker is still work. That's the truth.

Recently I've become involved with some non-poker opportunities away from the table. Even though these activities have $ potential, my participating in them sometimes makes me feel irresponsible for not playing enough poker. In other words, for not working enough. Even though I'm aware that I'm giving other sources of income the chance to happen.

So it struck me as damn funny last night when I realized that I was feeling bad about myself for not having played more poker this weekend!

What a genius internal flip this is!

Step back for a second and forget that I do this for living.

Leave the context behind and just zoom in on me feeling sitting here feeling sorry for myself because I didn't play enough poker!

Now that's funny!

Very funny.

If you told me twenty years ago that there'd be a moment in my life (specifically April 2008) when I'd feel bad about myself because I hadn't played enough poker during a weekend...I'd have been real amused! I'd definitely feel confused. Some might even call me bemused. (At the very least, I'm some word that ends with "used")

We moved to Vegas to give me the chance to play poker live everyday. If I never tried it, I always would have wondered how easy or hard it was to make a living at the tables. Now I know.

I know how hard it is to win consistently. Especially when you have to.

I know how hard it is to get myself to the table every day. To play regularly and more importantly, to play well each and every time. It's not good enough to play solid poker for 6 days if on day 7 I give it all back.

I know what it feels like to sit around unhappy angry aggressive human beings for hours without end.

The poker job description I'm sharing here is completely doable.

Of course it's possible to make a living doing this.

But don't kid yourself.

It's work.

To people who don't understand poker, my keeping away from the casino this weekend could have looked like I was finally getting my act together. You know. Working on real work.

To those who understand the business of poker, grasp the money that can be made sitting at these tables, to them, I'm not working nearly hard enough.

I can't please everyone. That's for sure.

But for now I'd like to start with the critical voice inside my head. All that guy does is second guess and act like he's so smart. A real know it all.

I wonder what the hell he does for a living?


Anonymous said...

Hi Robert. Lucky just gave me link to the blog. Just started to read it, and luvin it. E-mail me so I can call you when I get to Vegas. Cowboy

Richard Purington

Lucypher said...

I enjoy reading your blog about what I would like to be doing for a living, too. I know it sounds a lot easier to most people than it really is.

BWoP said...

I think I will be much prouder to say "poker player" this summer than "lawyer".

Go figure . . .

Mr. Word Player said...

hiya Shecky, it's your old pal Pete Samplist here. just discovered your blerg (oh LinkedIn, is there ANYTHING you can't do?) and look forward to catching up on what I've missed so far. I've gathered at the very least that your Vegas Year is looking to expand to at least The Vegas Quarter Decade (now THAT's a catchy blog name). continued success to you my friend! say hello to the missus.