Hi, my name is Drew, and I was a poker grinder in the truest sense of the word. I played poker for a living for the better part of five years during and just after grad school. I made enough to live on, but not especially comfortably, and while I did have a decent chunk of change when I left, it was far from life-changing money.
I was never that next-level genius, but I had enough math skills to do any number of things. The hitch was that I liked people too much to dwell in such an abstract world. Or at least I was too interested in people to relegate myself to the world of numbers. Yes, I get that math is everywhere in the real world and the poker table even more so than many places. This was always part of the appeal, but the restless nights I spent after a particularly frustrating session were often more about the style of play and the personalities involved. I wouldn’t say I took these moments personally, but it was the human element that was the puzzle I would keep turning over and over like a Rubik’s Cube.
In fact, in many ways, poker had started to feel like this kind of pure math, and this was a big factor in why I decided to leave. For a long time, the grind was about the external goals of making a living, building up my funds, and working toward that day when it wasn’t such a grind. But then, the grind itself became a grind. I don’t know if poker was ever truly going to be one of the great loves of my life, but it was becoming something I actively despised or dreaded. A couple times near the end, I left the table a lot earlier than I planned just because it was getting so hard to maintain sufficient concentration.
In retrospect, I think I left just in time. After a couple years away from the poker table altogether, I was invited to a couple home games with friendly stakes. It was a different experience altogether and not just because I wasn’t grinding anymore. It was just such a natural and effortless way to get to know people. It was poker as a means to an end, not an end unto itself. This led me to start thinking about how poker has so much to offer both the amateur and professional player in terms of insight about life in general. This site explores how you can use poker odds and the rules of engagement to make a better living, but also to just live better.