I received a lot of encouragement of my last blog as well as some criticism. After posting it to 2+2 here, I was surprised at the amount of people who were extremely critical, as I thought that a poker forum would be my target audience. I have answered some criticisms in the thread and will attempt to collate more of the answers here. Thanks to everyone who replied with support and in my defense especially Gemaco, JamesD816, SNGplayer24 as well as many others.
1. ”Poker is not a job.” Dictionary.com defines a job as “a paid position of regular employment.” While playing poker online, I worked 50+ hours a week playing and working on improving my game and won nearly every week and every month. The IRS considers professional gambling an acceptable occupation and I pay taxes as I would at any other job. Just about anything that would make it “not a job” could be applied to things like professional athletes, stock traders, artists and a whole host of other professions.
2. ”You wasted your time and education.” My education provided me with the skills and ability to hone my poker game and anything else I do in the future. I strongly believe that it is not for people to decide how others live their lives and what is best for them. There are plenty of doctors who choose to administer botox and do plastic surgery instead of performing heart transplants and saving sick children in Africa. They have chosen something that they are happy with and I do not think they have wasted their education. Being challenged daily, working for myself and having my time be flexible were important to me and thus poker was a good choice for me, whereas it might not have been for others. While I could have chosen to pursue other occupations (and still might), I do not consider my education a waste and it is a foundation I can always build on in the future.
3. ”You should have chosen a more productive career path.” There are so many jobs that could fall into the “unproductive” category that makes this argument almost laughable. Is making a movie productive? Does it make the world a better place? No and no. I don’t believe it is right for other people to judge and apply their values to others. People enjoy watching movies and they enjoy playing poker, how big would the uproar be if the government told Steven Spielberg and other directors to “do something more productive” because movies don’t help anyone? When I think of countries that tell people to do jobs that serve the public good, I think of North Korea, not the United States.
4. ”You should have forseen the end of online poker when determining your career choice.” I don’t believe that it was possible to see this outcome when I started playing poker in 2003. Moreover, there are thousands of examples of jobs that were solid and safe, until technology changed and they were no longer viable. Someone posted in the 2+2 thread that he had a secure job in the newspaper industry, which was a fantastic and stable job until people stopped buying newspapers. Even if I could have seen what might have occurred in the online poker realm, that does not make what has occurred acceptable.
5. “You were not fired.” I admit that I was not actually fired, since I was self employed, but frankly, it makes for a better headline.