By Paul Hewson
There are easier ways in the world to make money than playing poker. That's the kind of thing you usually hear from people who have already been successful at day trading or other financial pursuits. But it's true – provided you're willing to apply those poker skills away from the table, in a job where you'll have bigger responsibilities than making sure you don't bet out of turn.
If that's the case, and you don't already have a fulfilling day job, you should strongly consider getting one. Poker is a form of investing, and anyone who relies solely on investments faces a risk of ruin, especially if the only game you play is no limit Hold 'em. The trick is to find a job that has a “close economy” with your poker game, so that the two support one another. Here are three jobs for three different personality types to consider.
If you're good with numbers, and you excel in high-pressure environments, this could be the job for you. Wall Street is always looking for smart poker players who think in terms of equity, the Kelly criterion and the Sharpe ratio. Modern investment banking is just like grinding poker – it's all about taking small profit margins and turning them over en masse as quickly as possible. If you're not familiar with Susquehanna International Group, look them up. Bill Chen works there and has plenty to say to poker players about the business.
Not everyone can handle the pressure that comes with trading. If you're a numbers person, but you'd prefer not to get yelled at by someone in a Brooks Brothers suit, accounting might be right up your alley. You could work for a regular company, or you could work for a poker-related business – including the players themselves. This year's World Series of Poker Main Event champion, Joe McKeehen, has a degree in Actuarial Science. McKeehen doesn't need to apply for another job, but he might hire you to help him with his taxes while he's out on the circuit.
Are you more of a “feel-based” player who likes to get reads off your opponents and make intuitive decisions? Forget about those financial jobs; you need something where you can get your creative juices flowing and cash in on your communication skills. There are hundreds of jobs out there for schlubs like myself who love poker and love to talk about poker. Freelance writing is the most obvious of these, but if you've got any broadcasting experience, there are jobs on the live circuit for announcers, camera operators, producers, directors, the whole ball of wax. Think of how good your poker game (and your personal brand) will be after spending all that time working around some of the top players in the world.