Quitting Poker

Quitting poker may not be such a bad idea. Yesterday, I was thinking about how much the game has changed over the past 10 years – it is remarkable just how much the game has deteriorated. I think a lot of players started off in the Chris Moneymaker boom – they were in their twenties, carefee, and making lots of easy cash. Today, I think it is pretty fair to say there is very little if any “easy cash” remaining in this business. So, why do people keep playing? There are lots of reasons and every players will be a bit different, but I will make a few sweeping generalizations. It is tough to replicate the freedom and independence that poker provides. Unfortunately, that “independence” can also be “isolation”, which can leave you with few skills and even fewer connections. What I have seen from a lot of players is they don’t continue to develop life skills, which makes transitioning away from online poker incredibly challenging. Compounding matters is the fact that when you run good it doesn’t seem necessary to consider quitting poker. Unfortunately, we all know what happens on the flip side of run good….. So, here are some reasons to quit.

5 Reasons To Quit Poker

1) You are losing too much money. The reality is that most players lose at poker, and in today’s poker environment even some previous winners are no longer profitable. In the past year and a half I have seen a couple of long term winners (“professionals”) at the game who were breakeven or worse over 6 months… That is pretty darn nasty and can be devastating psychologically. If you are struggling that much with the game my advice is simple, just quit….

2) Action is dying; look no further than google trends for the word “poker” and you will see just how much the game has declined. The volume of mid and higher stakes games has fallen off even more dramatically than the industry as a whole. So, while there are still a good number of micro and perhaps even low stakes games running there is no upside.

3) Poker rewards programs have been scaled back dramatically. I remember playing the game and receiving significant rewards from poker operators (limosine pickup in Vegas, significant Christmas gifts, etc). Today? I am lucky if I can get customer support to reply to my inquiries…. lol. The vast majority of poker networks are struggling so much to survive that they aren’t putting the necessary attention into customer acquisition and retention.

4) This may be the most significant of this entire group, but what is the opportunity cost of you playing poker? I believe that almost anyone who plays online poker profitably can create more value in society and make more money in a different industry. I will qualify this by saying it applies to the US, Canada, and Western Europe at least. This may not have been the case 5-10 years ago, but it certainly is today. Even if you are making slightly more at poker today than you can at some other job, that edge will not last. Trying to play poker until the game is literally extinct doesn’t make much sense IMO. The ship is clearly sinking, it might be time to look for some alternatives. Is there a life jacket laying around? Better yet, is there another boat you can jump onto?

5) It isn’t fun anymore. Yep, I know it was cool when you were 22 and could sit on your laptop raking in money at 2am. Is that still cool when you are 32 and want to have a family? What does the wife think about the fact you don’t have health insurance and are paying $20,000 annually for a family plan in the US? Yeah, suddently playing poker isn’t quite as “cool” as it was when making $5,000 on your laptop seemed like you won the lottery. Mortgage payments too? Yep, those are things that happen to older people…. Poker can seem a whole lot less “fun” when there are real bills to be paid and the industry is in steady decline.

I know a lot of players are considering quitting poker because of the challenging environment. Only you will know if that is also the correct decision for yourself. If you are still grinding it out best of luck out there and I hope my book Exploitive No Limit Holdem helps you a bit. For those of you that quit, good luck in your new ventures!



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