Ever wondered what it's like being a full-time poker player with millions of dollars in the bank account? Well, if you ever happen to run into Isaac Haxton, you better not ask him.
Earlier today Haxton, a member of Team PokerStars Online, uploaded a blog on the subject in question to pokerstarsblog. It's some great reading (and an interesting video from last fall where Haxton talks about his move to the island of Malta, Black Friday etc), so we wanted to share it with everone here on bankrollmob. Enjoy!
One of my least favorite things about being a professional poker player is having to deal with people who simply do not understand what being a professional poker player means. There are certain questions like "So, what do you do for a living?" and "Why did you move to Malta?", seemingly casual questions that I hear on a very regular basis, that send a shiver of dread down my spine every time I hear them because I know that the response to my answer will almost never be "oh, cool" and a change of subject.
Granted, not every stranger I talk to about my job is a pain to deal with, even if they know nothing about poker. There are plenty of reasonable and polite people out there. But here are a few examples of the most annoying types of responses I tend to get on a regular basis (and if you're a professional poker player, too, I'm sure you can relate to this):
1. The wide-eyed awe guy When this guy hears that I'm a professional poker player, his response is something along the lines of, "Woooooooowwwww, you play poker? For a living? You make money doing that? You don't have another job? Wooooooowwwww, that's so cool! Are you famous? Have you been on tv? How many times have you been on tv? Have you won the World Series yet? Are you friends with what's-his-face, the really loud, annoying one? Do you know that other guy, the black guy who wins all the time? Is it like James Bond? Do you wear a tuxedo? Do you ever lose? How much money do you make? Can you teach me how to play?" And on and on and on until the cab ride is over or I find a way to extricate myself from the conversation.
2. The I know better guy This guy tends to fire off a few follow up questions to make sure he heard me right, like, "You gamble for a living? In casinos? And you think you can make money doing that? How long have you been at it now?" Then the questions get even more pointed: "So how much have you made exactly? And you don't have another job? You must not have a family to support. Do you have rich parents? Where does the money come from? Right, you win sometimes, but I mean when you lose, where does that money come from?" And then I get the lecture. "You know you're going to start losing eventually, right? What are you going to do then? Do you ever think about that? When are you going to stop? You better quit while you're still ahead. I had a cousin who lost all his money gambling and he's in jail now. You don't want to end up like him. What does your wife say? Man, if I quit my job and told my wife I was going to gamble for a living, she'd kill me, or leave me, probably both!" Sometimes they're a little more tactful and say things like, "Haha, well, you never know, I mean, you COULD keep winning, nothing's impossible..." That guy's always a delight to deal with.
3. The I don't get it guy This guy is someone for whom the words "professional poker player" just do not compute. He asks questions like, "Wait, poker? You play poker? Like, the game? As a job? Really? How do you... what do you... where do you go to work? Like, where do you go in the morning? What kinds of hours do you work? Do you get weekends off? Who pays you to do that?" And he'll keep going like that until he eventually gives up trying to understand, scratches his head, look at me in puzzlement, and then wanders away. That guy isn't so bad. He always gives up after a little while and tends not to lecture.
4. The I played poker once, too guy This guy hears the word poker and immediately needs to tell me all about his own experiences with the game, like how he goes on a cruise every year where they have poker and one time he won, and this other time he lost, and then there was this one time when he almost won but then he lost... Or there's the guy who loves poker but has the WORST LUCK and has to tell me every single bad beat story he can remember... and he remembers them all. But my favorites out of this category are the conspiracy theorists, the guys who are certain that poker is rigged because they lost a hand once... and it was aces! The dealer was out to get him or the online poker sites are all a scam... it's the only way it makes any sense! I mean, he had aces! How could he lose if it wasn't all a giant conspiracy? That guy's the best.
Since my Team Online video came out last fall, I've received a ton of positive feedback, which is always great to hear, but the one thing that has made me happiest to hear is when other professional poker players tell me that they showed the video to their mom or their uncle or their old friend from school who then comes back to them saying, "Hey, I watched that video you sent me and I think I understand a little better what it is that you do." It brings me such satisfaction to know that a video about my life could help spread the truth and dispel some of the myths about what it means to be a professional poker player.
If any of you other pros out there have that relative or friend who, like my grandmother, starts every conversation with, "So when are you going to get a real job, already?", try showing them my video. It might help them understand a little better what it means to be a professional poker player and show them one good example of what the life of a professional poker player can look like.
And if my video can help any of you get that well-intentioned but annoying friend or relative off your back, not to mention cutting down the number of conversations like the ones I describe above that you have to endure per month, I'll be exceptionally pleased. Or, you know, if the video doesn't work, I guess you can try what I've started doing with my incredibly persistent grandmother: tell her you've applied to business school. Works like a charm.
Wow very nice video and very nice interview, a definite should read article, I would classify some of my friends in those categories, if i ever played poker professionally and told them. If I did not know poker I think i would be the 1. The wide-eyed awe guy haha.
Very interesting interview, very interesting video. I met almost all these type of guys in my life, asking all these questions.
In the begining it was difficult for me, because my parents were scaring of that I am playing poker. But I had the advantage that I worked in the online poker industry, in several international poker companies where I got trained. So, I explained them everything and they began to support me.
Last month I won some money from Full Tilt and I gave it to my parents as a present, and they were very happy making a holiday.
I must say it is easier to play poker when you have $900 000 monthly salary. I am talking about the Full Tilt Poker PRO monthly salaray of Phil Ivey.
So we, the ordinary poker players have to work and then playing poker. Am I right?
I would suspect that Mr. Haxton moved to Malta for the purposes of dodging taxes.,...but then again, if I were an American citizen living in the U.S. I TOO might consider moving somewhere where the Government isn't going to relieve you of half your income...
Sure, everybody has to pay their fair share,...but down there, they want to get their claws into as much as they can...!
...besides,...Malta would be a beautiful place to live.
My uncle was born there previous to WWII. His brother has a British car,...a Humber I think it is, that he bought in the mid 1950s and the thing is still in A1 original condition.... A MIRACLE for a British car...
so if i got this one right annoying people being annoying anytime they ask about what do you do for a living? and they somehow have annoying follow up questions and annoying commentaries after that? omg, this is never happens to anybody except professional poker players and skateboarders amiright? please someby f*ckin bitchslap this smug a**hole right now
Well I did find this news article to be wonderful. I truly understood his points. I lived through it for 18 months back in 2008 & 2009. My mother was the worst of all and she still is to be honest. She still thinks I must be in the mob or something. I think right now she believes I am a drug dealer. be cool
Posted by bowie1984: so if i got this one right annoying people being annoying anytime they ask about what do you do for a living? and they somehow have annoying follow up questions and annoying commentaries after that? omg, this is never happens to anybody except professional poker players and skateboarders amiright? please someby f*ckin bitchslap this smug a**hole right now
Exactly! I just now watched the video, and I thought the article was bad, the video is so much worse. I really believed I was watching a mockumentary for the first 15 minutes, because I really could not believe him being so full of himself...
If it turns out to be fake, it's pretty good... Fooled me, anyway...
is impressive but it is also true for all players d Epoker profecionales happens the same, always ask them and answer them in amazement. so when you ask me I warn them and tell them I do not want nor admired faces serious lol