View Full Version : Stay In School Or Become a Poker Player

07-16-2005, 01:13 AM

For years now grownups are always the first to pull a child aside and give him that brilliant advice, about staying in school and getting yourself a degree. Hey letís face it, in the grand scheme of things, the percentages say that you will always be better off if you have that education to fall back on right? I mean we all want to live that mundane lifestyle, with the wife, three kids, two pets, house, mortgage and the same job for thirty five years.

Well had you had the opportunity to interview any of the 6,000 participants at the World Series of Poker this past week, you probably would have heard that plenty of these men and woman, chucked their chance at a degree in favor of the poker circuit. As of today that 6,000 has now been whittled down to nine and all of these players, have it they are not already, become instant millionaires.

The world parity is talked about constantly in the world of professional sports, as football, baseball, basketball and hockey, are always searching for ways to give every team an opportunity to win. In these sports they have draft lotteries every year and the worst teams are offered a shot at the best young players, in hopes that the losing club can be transformed into a winning franchise over night.

The professional poker league has the model for parity as a look at the nine finalists, will reveal not one past winner of this great event.

The final table will consist of:

Joe Hashem
Andy Black
Tex Barch
Daniel Bergsdorf
Mike Matusow
Aaron Kanter
Brad Koudrachi
Steve Dannenmann

Just when I was starting to get a handle on all the marquee players, these nine have to come along and force me to search for background material on them. Gone from the tournament are Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Phil Ivey and of course Canadian Daniel Negreanu, all who have become instant celebrities in North America.

For years now the word college dropout referred to a uninspired, lazy person, but in the case of 25-year old David Williams it means millionaire. The native Texan dropped out of Southern Methodist University just two semesters shy of a degree in economics, with a minor in math. He must be a real loser right? Wrong, the last two years have netted him $4 million on the circuit. How about Tuan Lee the son of Vietnamese immigrants, who dropped out of college before the first semester, ended.

The 26-year-old, who has won more than $4 million on the tour, was in his first semester at Cal State Northridge when he began playing poker in the student union between classes. He almost always dominated the players, who included his economics professor. One evening at the Hustler Casino in Gardena, Le staked his student loans and financial aid. He lost big time. But he quit school and kept on playing, sometimes as much as 70 hours a week.

You know come to think of it, maybe playing cards with Lee, was the best education that economics professor ever gave Lee!

07-19-2005, 05:22 AM
I personally don't recomend quitting school. If you are really good than go to Vegas or Atlantic City during the summer or spring break but don't drop out of school. For every David Williams there are a thousand other kids who play excellent poker but who will never have the success Williams had. I don't want to take away from Williams because he is indeed a talented player but there are a lot of excellent players who played perfectly at this year's WSOP and didn't see one dime of prize money. One bad beat or lucky catch can mean the difference between going on to the final table or going to the rail with all the other bad beat stories.

I certainly understand the appeal poker can have on college kids. Poker is a game that does take smarts so it makes since for college kids to apply their knowledge to winning but I think you should really think before rushing out to quit school no matter how well you are dominating your dorm game.

I would recommend playing poker for at least a year before making a decision as big as dropping out of school. If you find you are making six figures playing holdem, then by all means, make that your career but for most kids, they are going to end up losing and for some going into debt. If you add to that being a college drop out as well, its just a bad combination. I wish all the best to everyone in college who is picking up the game but realize you always need a back up plan in life, whatever you are setting out to do.

07-20-2005, 07:44 AM
Bravo - good advice for everyone out there.

I don't think this article was directly implying to drop out of school but it might appear that way to certain people; this was actually a nationally syndicated article so I'm curious how others reacted towards it.