Are you or are you not?

Most poker players want to sit at a game where the table is conversating and having a good time. Sitting at a table where no one is talking or interacting unless they are in the hand is not fun. Generally, when you get to a poker room most players will pick the table that has the group of players that look like they are having fun over the quiet table that appear to all be studying something on their phones or tablets. An active and social table tends to be more profitable too. Players are more willing to put money in while being a little distracted because they are interacting with other players.

When I find myself at one of these tables the conversation touches on many different topics but there is always one question that seems to come up in slightly different variations. It never fails and its one of those questions that I am never sure exactly how to answer. Fortunately, I have been asked this question so many times that I have a set answer that I use.

“What do you do?”

“So, is this what you do?”

“Are you a poker pro?”

After a recent interaction at a poker table, I found myself thinking about this. The night I was thinking about, I met a young woman from London who had just started to play poker. She told me that she is a chess player but found herself getting bored of the game and wanted to try something else. As we talked about chess, traveling, and poker I learned about what she had been doing for the past couple of years. It was interesting to listen to her story, considering that she might have never done some of these things had the pandemic never started. Eventually I handed her my business card and told her to send me an email when she got back to London; so that I could try to connect her with some poker people. It sounded like she was interested in learning more about poker and I wanted to help by pointing her in the right direction. That is when it happened, as she was looking at the card that I just handed her, she looked up at me and asked, “Are you a professional poker player?” I responded by telling her I was a stay-at-home Dad, but it immediately felt like I was trying to pull off an awkward bluff. As I thought about the interaction that just happened it became clear to me that I had to rethink some things. My story doesn’t add up. Clearly, I am a regular because all the dealers know me, I play a lot of poker but have no income, and I have my own blog.

I find myself learning how to embrace it all and just promote myself for who I am. For the first time in my professional life, it is to my advantage for people to know who I am. Still, I feel awkward when answering that question at the table. Usually when someone asks me if I am a professional poker player I respond with a “no” and then tell them that I am a stay-at-home Dad. Technically its not a lie, I am a stay-at-home Dad but at night I put on my poker pro hat and try my best to grind up a respectable bankroll to move up in stakes. There is the part of me that wonders if the person I am talking to believes me at all. There is also the part of me that is trying to keep a low profile because I want the table to stay light-hearted and fun. I am convinced that if the wrong person hears they are playing with a professional, it might affect their enjoyment because we are not there for the same reasons. I think it’s important at the low stakes to make sure that the people who are there to have fun and “gamble” are having fun.

I am not embarrassed to be a poker pro; at least I don’t think I am. I may be getting inside my own head, or it might just be that old habits die hard. Most of my professional career in InfoSec after college I spent making sure to carefully curate my online identity. I even had a pseudonym for when I worked on short films, podcasts, or other creative projects with friends of mine. Perhaps we live in an era where no one really cares, and I am just barely starting to catch up with the times.

Its time I try changing my answer…

Bizzy’s Gains 2022: -$185.10

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