Poker pros finding life after Black Friday hard

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 17, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

Black Friday shattered a lot of dreams and sent many poker players into a forced early retirement, but even before Black Friday the writing was on the wall; poker simply wasn’t as profitable as it used to be. First we heard of players “focusing on other interests” or “living life for a while”, but now we are seeing some very open and frank talk on the state of the poker economy, and several well-known players have decided that professional poker is simply an untenable career at this point.

Last week it was Josh Arieh who announced his retirement from the game and in one of the most honest statements I’ve ever heard told, “To me, poker is not what it used to be,” adding, “Poker is really tough. Kids got so good. Instead of poolroom hustlers and gamblers it turned into freaking geniuses. Kids that are making 1600 on their SATs”.

Following in Arieh’s footsteps was Adam Junglen, a longtime pro player who was backed by Daniel Negreanu. Junglen’s retirement statement came via his blog where he posted, “It’s completely normal to be burnt out from the tourney grind after the World Series, but this year I’ve slowly noticed the enjoyment level just isn’t quite as high as it used to be,”

These two are not the first players to lose interest in poker, as many players moved on after Black Friday, opening restaurants (the Dang Brothers and recently Jason Young both opened restaurants in their hometowns) or some other business venture that takes up the majority of their time. But even the players who are still in the game have felt the pinch, having to drop down in stakes just to find profitable games –players accustomed to playing $10/$20 and $25/$50 NLHE now find themselves multi-tabling $2/$4 and $3/$6 games—or take backing deals where they get only small percentages of themselves in tournaments.

Time and time again I hear smart, winning, players telling people that professional poker is simply not a good career choice at the moment, and with the rumors about busto players, players going into early retirement, and poker players doing whatever they can to make a buck off their name it seems like this is indeed the worst time to become a professional poker player.

Fortunately, poker is still a really fun game, and for the 95% of people who play the game casually running into MIT super-sharks is the least of their concerns. But for poker pros, the idea of grinding out 60-hour weeks at the tables and then spending another 10-20 hours studying, discussing, and perfecting their game and strategies, just doesn’t seem to be worth it anymore; gone are the days of seven-figure years grinding poker, and now most players rely on their rakeback and VIP Rewards for their profit while they simply hope to break-even at the poker tables.


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