A career in gambling

Nov 20, 2006 4:50 AM

My boldest move ever was the day I decided to become a professional gambler.

And why not? It’s not an everyday move we witness with our friends or family members. It’s also not the most respected career to those outside "the circle," if you know what I mean.

It helped that I was playing successfully part-time for about three years before making the leap. And it certainly was a leap. I was a VP of worldwide marketing for a major defense/aerospace corporation — constantly traveling and living everywhere around the globe as I had been doing my entire working life.

Few other than my immediate family even knew I had the slightest interest in video poker, and I was happy to keep it that way.

But then the day came in 1999. I suddenly became weary of all the flying, and without notice on a flight over India I picked up the satellite phone and called home: "I’ve had it with this stuff. I’ve made up my mind and it’s firm — I’m coming home for good to be a professional video poker player."

When I arrived in Pakistan I immediately turned around and went home, and it was one of the happiest days of my life.

I had inadvertently prepared for this day by saving for the future — as is so easy to do when joining Corporate America retirement savings plans — and I had properly also put aside what I considered to be the proper bankroll for a career in gambling.

Because I lived in Arizona and would only play video poker for-profit in Nevada, I would be home far more often than anytime before. No longer would I be a slave to meeting monthly quotas and reporting progress to a room full of stuffed shirts like me.

No longer would I be on a plane to who knows where on a moments notice. And no longer would I be required to put up with the weariness and pettiness of office politics so very prevalent in the business world. It was, to say the least, a very exciting and welcome moment in my life.

Making this move all the more satisfying was the unwavering support I received from my wife for making such an out-of-the-blue decision. Because she had no interest in the gambling world that came as a surprise, and to this day I have never tried to force any of it on her. I wonder”¦ how many people would received such trusting support for making such a gutsy move? That is one reason why she is so special.

There’s been a few minor glitches of course, but I covered all the major points. For instance, if my wife weren’t working I would not have taken the leap. Having a solid health insurance program is a necessity, and since she also worked at a major aerospace firm that was in place.

Also, if she had too much time on her hands (by not working) then that would have continuously altered my plans on when or even if I’d be going to play for profit in Nevada. She would always come first, and since it is a requirement of my play strategy never to play with anyone else present or waiting because of the distraction factor, it wouldn’t have worked.

But it did, and I have been very successful in doing what I do. I’ve also found the time to write several books — something I had no idea I’d do on that airplane over India. Along the way, my controversial methods of playing the game and working the casinos has ruffled many feathers in the industry, but it has also helped many players learn a better way.

At the end of the day my big, bold move has turned out to be the best move of my life. I was away from my family entirely too often for many years, and now I’m making up for it. I continue to be blessed with good health, and as long as that remains in place I’ll be driving to and from Nevada whenever I want to go.

Professional gambling is hardly the right choice for everyone and it would be shortsighted of me to recommend it to anyone I didn’t know. But there are times that it works.