Coming Out as a Poker Player

I have been playing poker most of my adult life. I played the game before playing poker was acceptable or fashionable. People looked down on me when they heard I played poker professionally, assuming that I have a gambling problem. For the last 15 years I have played poker and tried to keep a low profile while doing it.

I enjoy the challenge that poker presents. I really love the fact that you keep score with real money. I was a professional poker player for almost five years. All of my income was generated playing poker with a few other casino activities thrown in to supplement the income. I was always telling some sort of lie or half truth about what I did for a living.

I have gotten older and settled down and married my girlfriend. My friends all say that I have changed completely. I think they are just amazed that I have held down a steady job for the last nine years. I lead a balanced life and poker is still a part of my life, just not the only thing in my life.

I am an engineer; I work for the state as a project manager. I have been a licensed engineer for the last fifteen years. I worked as a dealer for a few months and I have delivered pizzas. But primarily I have played poker and worked as an engineer.

I have managed to travel all over California, Oregon and Nevada, playing my way through the cardrooms. I manage to take a few dollars from the regulars most nights and I move on before I wear out my welcome. I still play from time to time. Over the years I have run into the same people and a few will ask where I have been.

When players hear Fresno they automatically think Club One, and I do occasionally play a few hours there. I play $6/12 from time to time, usually on a Tuesday night after work between six and ten. When I first came to Fresno I played for a living and I was playing all the local games eight or 10 hours a day. After a couple months my girlfriend asked that I get a “regular” job. I took a job and started to play only a few hours a week.

After a few years at my job a friend invited me to play in a home game with my coworkers. My coworkers found out that I used to play poker for a living and I began to share war stories. I began to write up “trip reports” and they loved them. The guys started to make trips with me on long weekends and poker became a group activity.

I have been writing up stories and trip reports for the last few years. I decided I would write a book detailing my time as a poker player. As I wrote stories for my book I would share a few stories and ask for critical feedback to improve my stories.

As my stories gained popularity and I began to solicit ideas for stories, I found that I enjoyed writing and it helped me become a better player, coach and mentor. I decided to start my own column and try to con a publication to give me an opportunity to write stories.

I am coming out to the world and I am not ashamed to say I am a poker player and the poker community is one that I embrace. I may be giving away an extra dollar an hour by letting the world know who I truly am. I can live with that sacrifice.

I will share my experiences. Some will be from the nineties a few from the eighties, most will be from my time as a professional or semi-professional poker career. A few stories will be current as this one is and a few will be about my life as I live it in the context of poker.

I live a life of Tells and Lies.

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