While I suppose in this day and age there's nothing really wrong with that, I am not currently making my living from poker and so it matters to me what opposing counsels and clients think. Most non-poker playing clients generally don't like the thought that, during any downtime, their attorneys are not living and breathing their case and business matters.
Poker is an easy game to play, but a tough game to master; and, to get good enough to be a profitable player, you have to play. A lot. I've been playing poker recreationally since the birth of my daughter (who's 6 now), and I only began taking the game serious in late 2009. Since I live in Texas, online poker is really the only way I can play with the regularity and volume that's required to get good. Indeed, when I play, study, and review hands, I'm always mindful of Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule...practice makes perfect.
Before last Friday, I was practicing a lot. (To understand what Friday, also known as Black Friday, means to online poker players, read this and this.) I had reached the point where I was actually making money at the game. My cash game is still wildly uneven and always a threat to my bankroll, but my tournament play was really coming along. Since 2006 (and remember b/w 2006 and late 2009 it was all recreational - I didn't even learn the concept of bankroll management until 2009!), I have maintained a nearly 10% ROI. I know it's not that great, but as one of my coaches told me, anyone who can make even $1 profit in this game is doing better than the vast majority of people who play. Poker is, after all, a zero sum game...if someone else is winning, you're losing.
Because I was showing improvement and because I could play on-line, I made a decision earlier this year to cut back on my practice in order to grind the volume necessary to improve and to give myself a realistic picture of whether or not I had what it takes to make poker a profession. Everyone in my family was on board with that idea and supportive of me pursuing my dream. Absent their support, I honestly couldn't even consider doing this.
After last Friday, though, that support has given way to questioning and concern for the very legality of this passion of mine. I'm thankful now that I've blogged and twittered under my Poker Girl With Cards avatar because if the people who know and love me are feeling this way, I can only imagine what my clients and opposing counsels would be thinking. It wouldn't be good.
Unfortunately, I don't live where I can just drive to a casino and take my shot that way. So for the foreseeable future, my pokering will have to be live, which means I'll really have to coordinate to make the trips cost-effective and workable for my family. I'm still planning on the WSOP this summer and will also likely play the WSOP-c event in Louisiana. But after that, who knows? And while I'd hoped to play tons online with measured practice to gear up for the series, I'm now forced to rely on finding a safe local game and on the study and review of HHs from previous tournaments.
Last but not least, Black Friday has forced me to get back into full-time lawyering. I'm thankful I've got that to fall back on but I have to admit it's just not as much fun. Seriously, give me being one-outed on the river any day. Please.
Remind me of that when they get the pipeline open again.
Until then, it's back to Vernon's and Lexis for me. In the meantime, I hope you're able to play. And if you are, thank your lucky stars and run good, amigos.