Retiring as a poker player


If you are a professional poker player, or considering going professional, or been a pro for a while and plan on doing it for the rest of life, let’s face it you have to have a retirement plan! Sitting back and thinking poker will take care of your contingencies is not such a wise plan. While there are success stories, remember there are an equal number of failures because of bad financial planning.

Here are a few simple tips that will help ensure you retire happy and content:

Get a savings plan

The dreaded words of personal finance, savings! Well there’s a reason why you hear your seniors/family/parents telling you to save over and over again. The ‘You Only Live Once’ combined with ‘I’ll save money someday’ attitude of the millennial might be a concern for their retirement days! The idea is to keep it simple and treat savings like any other expense and have the same deducted regularly. Similar to expenses like rent, a car loan or a holiday, learn to set aside a small contribution periodically and build a corpus for when you’re on a rocking chair with a cigar.

Get professional financial planning advice

If personal finance is not your cup of tea, seek guidance! Get professional financial advice to investment in a good retirement program. Depending on your income, net worth, age and marital status customized programs are available in both the private and public sectors.

Pay your taxes diligently

Invading taxes are tempting in this profession. Flat TDS rates have all professional poker players cringing! But saving on it now to have that liquid cash might lead you to pay bigger penalties and fines and for all you know a few years in prison.

Get a straight job

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, they say and this holds good for professional players with years of experience too! Swings and losing streaks are an inevitable part of poker, but here’s why depending on your poker profits solely is a bad idea:

  • All of your income and assets will be at greater risks considering the volume of investment
  • The psychological vulnerability when you are running bad is higher than pros with more balanced lives. This means you can go on tilt and further lose everything.
  • A smaller bankroll: You’ll have to take the risks of playing above your bankroll or reduce your profits by playing in smaller games.

If the above points are not reason enough, some of the top and very successful players like Bobby Baldwin, Dan Harrington and Linda Johnson have straight jobs. The stigma around having an alternate job because you are unsuccessful at poker needs to vanish. They continue to play winning poker, but have solid incomes from other sources.

Get yourself a Health Insurance

A huge factor that most millennial will not account for is medical care during retirement. Medical costs can destroy bankrolls of poker pros considering their current lifestyles. The cost of treatment is so high that insurance companies now pay for you to stay healthy! From paying for checkups and other benefits, a health insurance will certainly have you less worried and wrinkle free during your old age!

Switch to a healthier lifestyle

As a poker pro from erratic sleeping patterns to unhealthy eating habits; it is a lifestyle that definitely reiterates the above point of buying a health insurance. (Read our detailed lifestyle articles here). There are absolutely no excuses on this one, the sooner you make up your mind and switch gears, the lesser your expenses, both for the future and present! Commit to eating smart, exercising regularly and getting routine check-ups.

To aging gracefully and more importantly, smartly!