Friday, January 21, 2005

State of the Poker Union

So my wife finally had the talk last night, as far as my sordid poker/blackjack winnings, what to do with said winnings, what to do with future winnings, etc. And, to give credit where credit is due, she was very understanding, on every level.

I'd been avoiding this talk for awhile as part of me feared an ultimatum of withdrawing the nice healthy bankroll I've built up in the last few months. So I've basically been squirreling money away in my Neteller account and keeping mum about it, as that was the working agreement we'd come to the last time we discussed it (i.e. we agreed that she trusts me that I'm making money from my assorted gambling but she didn't want to know how much, as then she'd be tempted to do the wife thing and demand that it be withdrawn, etc.) But, umm, the rush I've been on the last month or so at the blackjack tables (recent donkey behavior aside) has, umm, left me with too much money in my Neteller account. I know, I know, what a horrible dilemma.

So I finally 'fessed up last night. Which is a pretty easy confession, when you can say "Umm, honey, we need to talk about the (insert fairly large number of dollars) that I've earned in the last few months from my degenerate gambling."

Our solution is that we're going to open an Orange savings and investment account, and that the bulk of the money will live there. 2.35% isn't horrible for a completely liquid investment with 0% risk. Our 5 year plan is to live out in the country, with some land, so we're a bit more short-term oriented as far as investments and what-not. I just have absolutely no faith in Shrub and his complete lack of larger economic foresight. Everything could be fine and the markets could tick right along or the deficits we're piling up (coupled with unheard levels of consumer debt and the demise of the value of the dollar worldwide) could crush us like a bug. Who the hell knows. Despite my gambling shenanigans, I really don't like to "gamble" in the traditional sense, and investing in individual US equities seems just that, a gamble.

While the bulk of the money gets parked at Orange, I get to keep $5,000 for my gambling roll. That's more than enough to chase assorted bonuses and more than enough to sit higher limits, when/if I feel so inclined. While I'm still clicking along in my weekly foray into higher limits, I'm still getting used to the waters. I've been lucky enough not to encounter the inevitable punch-to-the-gut downswing that I know is coming from Senor Variance at some point, but I know it'll come. And, to be completely honest, I'm in a nice little comfort zone right now, playing the bonus whore game. With all the accounts at my disposal and working the poker/casino bonus scene, I can pretty consistently pull in $1,500/month in profit, playing solely at low limits, putting in 10 hours a week at the virtual tables.

Moving forward, anything I have at the end of the month, in excess of the initial $5,000 bankroll, gets deposited into the Orange account. 50% of it goes into savings and 50% of it into mutual funds. I've never been a huge fan of mutual funds, as I've always believe that if you're going to invest, then put the time in and do the work to get a better return from individual equities. But again, that whole uncertainty thing, and, honestly, I'd rather focus on other things.

Given my general hoarding nature, I actually like the idea of regularly cashing out winnings into a savnings/investment account. More than any interest/profit it might generate, I like the idea of having a goal to shoot for each month. That's been missing lately and I think my game and motivation have suffered. While it's not the worst situation to be in, I'm less inclined to chase after free money that poker sites are handing to me when the net result is only adding $50 to the pile of money in my Neteller account. Being able to beat what I deposited into savings the previous month, though, motivates me, and the actual dollar amount will be in the range in which $50 actually makes an appreciable difference.

We also agreed that, if need be, I can withdraw money to replenish the bankroll. And, if I decide in the future to make a full-time go of playing the poker, I can withdraw as much from savings as needed. I was expecting this to be a sticking point but the wife was amazingly cool with the idea. I think she understands how less than fulfilling the day job is for me right now, and trusts me enough, based on my results so far, to be able to make a go of it at poker. I'd also have assorted side business stuff to keep busy and make money from, so it's not like I'd be leaping whole hog into playing poker full-time.

All of which I'm sure is boring as hell to anyone reading this, other than myself. Long story short, never underestimate either the power of poker or the capacity of your wife to be cool.

1 comment:

J said...

"All of which I'm sure is boring as hell to anyone reading this..."

On the contrary. I'm taking a very similar "bonus whoring" approach at poker rooms and casinos, and am getting similar monthly results. Your ideas on what to do with the money sounds great. I'd be interested on what you approach is on taxes, especially now that you'll be putting your funds in such a "public" place?

One difference in our situations is that I'm lucky to have a job that I very much enjoy, so this will likely never be a full time thing for me ... but it is wonderful for building that fund for vacations, electronic gadgets, etc.

Best of luck in 2005! I'll be reading.