The American poker player's trade-off
I'm writing from the road this time, in the middle of a long stretch of traveling that started in Panama (for the LAPT), then headed to Montreal, and then eventually on over to Europe for the EPT and WSOPE. I'm also playing on PokerStars a lot while I'm out of the U.S., including having played in the WCOOP.
It's kind of a new experiment for me, taking a trip that has lasted this long. Ultimately I will have been on the road for a full month, whereas usually my longest trip is only a couple of weeks (such as during the WSOP).
Being away from family this can be difficult, especially when you have a one-year-old who changes every single day. Both of my other children -- who are five and eight -- are still growing, too, and so it's hard to be away from them and my wife. But I'm out here doing a job, and so I'm plugging through, although I probably won't be making another trip this lengthy for a while.
It's been kind of interesting, actually, going away from home like this to play both live and online. I haven't had huge success in the tourneys so far in either, although I have had some decent wins in the live cash games.
If you think about it, for the serious full-time online player based in America who has to travel abroad in order to play, the circumstances and the challenges are very similar to the live player who goes out of the country to play in tourneys on the various tours.
In both cases players still has to outrun expenses for traveling and hotels and basically start in a hole, money-wise, before they even play a hand. It adds a little extra pressure from the start, too, because players have to win just to break even, never mind end up ahead in the end.
It is what it is, though, and like most serious players I learned to accept these challenges a long time ago. It's great to see new places and experience different parts of the world, but it obviously isn't as glamorous a life as some might think, and in fact in some ways isn't too different from having, say, an accounting job that requires me to travel.
Of course, being my own boss and getting to decide when I travel and where I go is a good thing, too. So while I'm glad I decided to make this trip, I'm also glad I'll be able to choose not to go away for so long next time!
Chris Moneymaker is a member of Team PokerStars Pro