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Why Do So Many Poker Pros Die Broke?

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Because there aren’t any reliable statistics, nobody knows for sure how many poker pros die broke. But it’s certainly too many.

If you’re a pro, you have a much higher probability of dying broke than members of other professions, including people who earn a lot of less than you’re winning now. Of course, you may think it won’t occur to youpersonally, but ‘s also what they believed before they got broken.

This collection will assess why it occurs so frequently and urge the strategies to prevent it.

The Primary Cause

Most of these particular triggers mentioned here will probably have one common factor, which is arrogance.

Self-confidence, clearly, is vital for a thriving expert, but you shouldn’t believe, “I’m too particular to die broke. “

No, you’re not.

You’re just another talented player, and it’s happened to many talented players. Are you more talented than the legendary Johnny Moss? What about Stu Ungar, Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott, and Gavin Smith? Do you win more money?

Johnny won the before all else two World Series of Poker championships, but ended up dependent on charity from the Binion’s family. Stu was arguably history’s greatest no-limit tournament player, but he died in a crummy motel. He was a junkie, but drugs weren’t the sole cause due to his tragic end. Devilfish and Gavin every won World Poker Tour and WSOP names, together with countless tournaments and money games, but Phil Hellmuth and other pros have conducted charity championships or began crowdfunding pages to assist their living families.

Nolan Dalla coated the championship circuit for several years. In a column for Poker Pages, he wrote: “One of the most troubling aspects of the tournament circuit is seeing how many players are constantly broke. I’m not talking about bad poker players or novices. I’m talking about names and faces everyone would recognize… If former World Series of Poker winners are broke, what chance do you have of making it on the circuit? The odds are overwhelmingly stacked against you. “

You might state, “That’s irrelevant. I know tournaments are too risky. That’s why I play only for cash. ” So what? Should you walk into several big poker rooms, then you’ll find players that beat big cash games fighting to live in tiny ones.

In reality, the worst destiny isn’t dying broke; it’s living broke for your final years.

As you read this article, ask yourself, “How do I make such errors? “

They Don’t Save Money

It’s the most common and easily avoided error. For thousands of years shrewd individuals have spent significantly less than they created. From the Old Testament of the Bible, Joseph advised the Pharaoh to rescue grain in great years to avoid starvation at the poor ones.

You can quickly see arrogance’s consequences. Dozens of government have composed that losing streaks are unavoidable and have advocated saving money. But a lot of pros think, “That doesn’t use to me since I’ll always conquer the match. “

No, you won’t. You might not have a devastating losing streak, but variance practically ensures you won’t always beat the game. If you add in the fact that your mental abilities will decline with age, you’ll certainly have some bad years. Even if you’re a net winner, you may not cover your expenses.

They Invest Poorly

Of course, some pros do save money, but they may not invest it well. Again, we see the effects of arrogance. They think, “I’m so smart I don’t need any advice from investment professionals. ” Poker players frequently make amateurish investment errors.

They Play Other Games

Some pros essentially send money from poker tables to craps and other sub-par games. They might never admit it, even to themselves, but in their secret hearts they think these games could possibly be unbeatable for normal men and women, but maybe not for them.

“I’m so superior that the laws of probability and lots of other rules don’t apply to me personally. “

Arrogance also causes some outstanding tournament players to be ‘reside ones’ in cash games. When some of them make the final table, their side-game opponents cheer them on. If they have a big tournament payday, their cash game opponents will probably obtain a nice piece of it.

“Their arrogance prevents them from learning from their previous losses. They delude themselves that this period will probably be different, their true excellence will let them conquer games which have defeated them. ” (Schoonmaker, Arrogance, the Biggest Bankroll Buster)

They Cheat On Their Taxes

Some pros cheat, and a few don’t even file tax returns. Believe it or not, frankly paying your taxes may gain your long-term safety.

First, you’ll cover more social security, a forced saving for retirement. Since the price of living allowance regularly increases profits, the majority of men and women obtain back a lot of more than they donated.

Ask some fighting elderly pros should they obtain a lot of social safety. Some will say,” “No,” plus some will acknowledge, “I don’t obtain any. “

Second, if you don’t cover social security for slightly ten decades, you’re qualify for Medicare. Medical costs become tremendously greater as you obtain old, and they’ve busted countless elderly pros. Some elderly pros have acute health issues or die prematurely as they can’t afford treatments or preventative health care.

Third, you can use programs to deduct your retirement contributions, and the interest, returns, and other benefits accumulate tax free until you retire. You’ll build a secure retirement fund.

They Don’t Buy Health Insurance

It’s an additional consequence of arrogance. Too many pros, especially young ones, believe, “I don’t need health insurance since I’ll remain healthy. ” They may be right, but it’s an extremely foolish risk.

Without health insurance your entire bankroll, health, and even your life are at risk every day. Too many pros have been busted by the enormous costs of an illness or accident.

They Don’t Protect Their Health

On this dilemma arrogance has subtler results. You’ve read that you ought to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, but might ignore these recommendations. Some pros subconsciously think, “Those rules don’t use to me personally. “

They rarely exercise and eat badly. They may even sneer at authorities such as Dr. Cardner because they think her recommendations about diet and exercise are irrelevant for poker players.

It’s another form of arrogance. They think that poker is unique, that the rules that apply to other activities don’t use to playing poker.


We now have precisely the equal bodies as everybody else, and our own bodies possess exactly the equal outcomes. We could ‘t play well if we don’t feel well.

Worse yet, inadequate health has a lot of greater effects on poker pros’ incomes than on the incomes of other professionals. The late Barry Tanenbaum, wrote: “Professional poker really is a ruthless meritocracy. “

You can make a living as a mediocre salesman, teacher, lawyer, carpenter, or doctor. Most people are mediocre, but nearly everyone makes a living. You can’t live as a poker ace unless you’re one of the very best.

If you fail your own health, you’ll have greater medical expenses, and you also won’t play well enough to pay them. You probably won’t only die broke. You’ll also die a great deal sooner.

What’s Next?

Alan Schoonmaker

Future columns will explain different causes for perishing broke and explain to you how you can retire safely. I trust you take them seriously. They could save your own bankroll, your health, and your life.

Visit Alan Schoonmaker’s website for accessibility to his 14 novels, 200 posts, podcasts and videos.