Poker as a Career Article

With the popularity of poker as high as it is right now, the game is seeing more and more people who have crossed over from other careers to make playing poker their full-time occupation.

Poker players have always had other occupations while they played the sport, but it was more of odd jobs to keep their stakes up so they could play cards. Work wasn't really a polite word used in poker circles.

It is a trend that will continue, I believe. There are more and more hobbyists turning professional, and as purses increase it will make it more financially viable for business professionals to enter the game.

It didn't used to be that way. Most of the older, more established players were poker players from a young age or worked in a profession associated with the game.

Several of the games' top players began as dealers. Gavin Smith, Erick Lindgren and Evelyn Ng learned the game while they were working, making the transition to the sport.

"I saw the same people winning all the time," Ng said of her days as a dealer. "I knew it was a game of skill that I could really put my mind to and I would probably do well in, and I think it was a good guess."

A lot of the older players, like Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim and Johnny Moss, played home games in Texas and made a dangerous living trying to avoid getting robbed while building their bankrolls.

Now, however, it seems more and more players had respectable careers that they threw in the muck to play professionally.

Barry Greenstein was a software engineer in Silicon Valley. Mark Seif was an attorney who worked in the District Attorney's office in Los Angeles. Humberto Brenes is a successful businessman who owns a television station.

The recent winners of the World Series of Poker's main events were business professionals first, card players second, but that quickly changed after capturing poker's spotlight tournament.

Greg Raymer was an accountant, Joseph Hachem a chiropractor and this year's winner, Jamie Gold, was a Hollywood agent.

Even the smaller events are seeing players who are more hobbyists than professionals.

The recent winner of the World Series of Poker circuit event, Jim McCorkle, was a golf professional.

McCorkle won the $1,000 no-limit game at Caesar's Indiana , winning $56,254 for his first big victory.

A qualifier for the U.S. and British Opens, McCorkle tried to qualify for the Senior PGA Tour but didn't make it and decided to start playing cards again. He had played in Las Vegas in the 70s, but not seriously.

In the tournament at Caesar's, McCorkle entered the final table as the chip leader and never was seriously challenged.

It was ironic that one of the players at the table was named John Shanks. It was even more ironic that it was McCorkle who knocked out the player, whose last name is a forbidden word in the golf community.

McCorkle and John Rolnick were the last players, and it took 34 hands before McCorkle knocked out Rolnick, who has been playing professionally for 20 years.

As more and more people start entering the game, expect to see more success stories like McCorkle's. People are figuring out that they don't need to keep their day job to make a living playing professional poker.

John Reger
Author Bio: John Reger has been playing poker for more than 20 years in card clubs and casinos all over the world and has been playing online for five years. He lives in Southern California and works as a freelance writer covering sports, travel and entertainment.

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