So lately as my bankroll is growing I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do with my money. Up until now it’s been pretty simple I just keep it all online and reinvest back into poker moving up in stakes. Now as I approach becoming sufficiently rolled for 10/20 I’m not so sure I want to make a run at the higher stakes anymore. 25/50 hardly runs and 10/20 is basically the highest regular game that runs out there and I’m not sure I want to deal with the massive monetary swongs that come along with being a 10/20 reg so I’ve been looking at other ways to actively invest my money and profit by doing so.

I could obviously try to learn new games like PLO and and HORSE or whatever but I’ve tried a bit of that and I dunno if it’s really for me. Limit poker makes me want to smash my computer with the complete lack of excitement(no going all in or much bluffing) or creativity it brings with standard betsizing thus lower edge IMO and PLO just comes with massive swings because edges when getting all in are generally much smaller(oftentimes it feels very mechanical where the general strategy is to flop a pretty good hand and then just raise it up on the flop and get it in and gambool).

So this brings me to a bunch of other options which I think alot of poker players explore at one point in their career because of their huge upside to make a lot of money with what appears to be minimal effort.

Sports betting – I’ve been reading up on this alot recently primarily through the 2+2 sports betting forums and have found there’s basically two ways to make money betting sports:

1. Line Shopping which basically involves the practice of finding the best available price on the market for placing a bet.
article explaining it better than I could ever hope to

2. Handicapping which involves coming up with your own point spreads for games which are better than the bookies and then betting on the “cheap” side of the bet being offered basically. For example, say a team is listed as favored by 3 points(listed as -3) but you come up with a formula that says they are actually favored by 5 points then you would bet on them covering the spread for that particular game because on average its a winning bet.

Now before you go off saying betting sports is a losing endeavor, can’t be predicted and you are bound to lose to the bookies over time I would argue that for the casual bettor or “square” as they are called this is true but if you really want to spend 8 hours a day purely analyzing games, crunching numbers coming up with good handicaps, and really line shopping I think you would be able to beat the bookies over time. Now for pros & cons.

Pros: Enjoyable – sports are fun to watch and fun to gamble on so it would seem at first glance a fun way to make a living. However, I feel if you became a truly professional sports bettor the fun factor would quickly leave as it does in poker & it would quickly become a monotonous grinding way to make a living.

Huge Upside – Unlike in poker, when you move up in stakes it doesn’t get any harder. If you can profitably make $1 wagers you can profitably make $10,000 wagers so once you get really good you can’t really plateau at a certain stakes/bet level like you do in poker.

Cons: Bankroll Requirements – You need a very large sports betting bankroll to make it worth your while to become a professional. In general I would say you need at least a $50,000 that you are completely willing to lose all of before taking this super seriously. Most bettors bet in “units” usually ~1% of their bankroll at a time and hope for a ~5% edge per bet. Standard vig is like 2% so you need to be winning 53% of your bets just to breakeven, so usually you are looking to make a bet that wins at least 58% of the time before making it.

Risky, hard to win consistently, small edges, etc. – Becoming a successful sports bettor is not easy. You really have to do your research and even then really anything can happen. There are loads of geniuses bookmakers out there spending hours on computer simulations trying to make the best lines possible and beating them at their own game is just damn near impossible. Also you never really know whats going to happen in sports and that’s why we the public love spectating them so much.

If you’d like to find out more about this I’d really suggest first reading the 2+2 sports betting FAQ page which contains a load of information in and of itself including what books to read, sites to wager on, bankroll requirements, even a free online book on NFL handicapping.

Summary: I’ll probably open up a couple betting accounts in the upcoming weeks just for fun, do some bonus whoring, hopefully make some money but doing it professionally seems like a good way to ruin something I love like watching sports recreationally.

Stock Market

I don’t think there’s a poker player out there that hasn’t considered daytrading for a living or at least actively managing a portfolio to maximize gains and trying to at least beat the market.

If you are wondering how much daytraders make yahoo answers says $60k-$300k per year is typical for experienced traders – emphasis on experienced IMO. As for managing your portfolio yourself instead of just mutual funding it and making the steady 7-10% annualized or whatever of passive income you are really going to have to work hard to beat the market and I dunno if the extra effort is even worth it.

Pros: Potential to make a LOT of money if you are good. If it’s your goal to become a billionaire one day the stock market is definitely your best bet IMO because the only other real route of getting there is inventing the next Microsoft which is way less likely than you being good at consistently picking undervalued stocks. Good passive income.

Cons: Returns aren’t that great. 10% annually seems pretty pathetic after playing poker for so long.

Your money is not enough. You need to be investing other people’s money and charging them for doing so. It’s as simple as that. The best performing hedge funds over the past 20 years managed to make an “astonishing” 14-17%. Well suppose you are good enough to perform just as well as them the best of them and can earn 17% on your money(pretty much impossible but we’ll assume best case scenario). In order to make $100k/year, you are going to need to have at least ~$590,000 in funds and this does not even account for inflation. I dunno about you, but I do not have a half a million dollars just laying around to play the stock market with.

This is where the used car salesman part of the job really comes in where you are going to be begging for other people to give you their money and trust you with it. If it’s your goal to just sit there and analyze stocks/the market all day and that’s what you are good at, but don’t possess the necessary selling skills to obtain investor’s capital you don’t have what it takes to be successful on your own in this area.

Summary: While this is something I’m interested in I’m not really interested in attempting to go into business by myself doing this fulltime. While I would consider working for a trading company, market maker, investment bank, etc. I think daytrading with your own money is largely a waste of time and I don’t really have any desire to go door to door begging people to let me invest their IRAs for them for small % fees.

Real estate

More millionaires have been made through real estate than any other business. Potential returns are definitely bigger than the stock market, but get rich quick schemes are pies in the sky. The important thing to realize is that wealth is built very slowly over time.

There’s loads of tv shows out there where investors buy this undervalued house, pay contractors to fix it up and bam 30 days later they have a 6 figure pay day. What you don’t see is the year’s worth of marketing that went into finding that deal, the years of experience the investor has dealing with contractors, finding good deals, learning how to sell homes quickly, all the holding costs that went into it, the building permits they had to obtain, all the fuckups they’ve had over the years where they held on to some property for a year spent all this money & time fixing it up and ended up selling it for a loss etc.

It is very similar to poker where any one day now, after years of playing and a half million hands or whatever my potential earn is say $150/hour or whatever and sometimes I’ll make like $3k in one hour, well that doesn’t mean someone who just decides they want to be a professional poker player is going to sit down, play the same stakes as me and be able to win $3k the first hour they play. Real estate investing is the same. It takes a long time to get good at it, and is a very slow process of taking your $20k turning it in to $25k, rolling it over to the next deal to turn it into $35k etc with each deal taking loads of time, research and due diligence.

Pros: Highly leverage your money. Real estate is not like poker where you risk $1000 to win $1000 or the stock market where you risk $100 to win $110 over the coarse of a year, you can risk $20k and end up making $50k over the course of 90 days if you are good because of the simple fact that you are buying an asset but only paying 10-20% of its value for it and financing the remaining 80-90% with a mortgage and the bank’s money. This allows for much higher returns on your money invested.

Cons: Slow process. I can’t emphasize this enough. It takes a lot of work and time to be a real estate investor. You are going to spend a ton of time chasing dead deals, making offers that get rejected, sending out letters that get no responses and its going to be frustrating. Building wealth takes time and doing it through real estate investing is no difference.

Capital. Some people may argue you can get started in real estate with no money down deals but I think that’s just a bunch of BS and you are going to need to be able to put down a substantial downpayment on your first home purchase as well as be able to finance holding charges, fix up costs, etc. This is a major barrier for people getting started because they are afraid of losing all their hard earned monies or don’t have any to invest to begin with.

Summary: I’ve been interested in real estate investing for quite awhile now and is definitely something I’m hoping to do in the coming years. It’s going to take awhile to find the right place, time and deal before I commit to something though. If you’d like more free information on the subject I’d suggest checking out They have loads of free articles, forums and information as well as a great list of local real estate clubs you can join to network with others in your community.

Online Business/Website

As I’ve mentioned this is something I’ve invested $6k so far in personally and so far have very little to show for it. When my indian company finally/ever finishes the project I am not sure I will even pay them the remaining $4k due to recent competitors that have cropped up and I’m not so sure my idea is as profitable as I had first hoped.

Anyways, I do think online businesses or developing websites is a great way to make some money for relatively very little start up costs. My tips for doing so would be as follows:

1. Come up with a good idea
2. Research your idea thoroughly. Analyze potential market, why you are better than competitors, if it is truly worth your time to develop etc.
3. When you finally do decide to go through with it get quotes from web designers and do not rush to go with any single one. Sufficiently research references and get milestones signed and written in a contract.

When I was initially contacted by this Indian company and they told me straight up, 6 weeks flat they can be done just send them $3k and they’ll get moving on this immediately. Well it’s 5 months later and a source of nightly frustration for me.

I’ve also read a few posts on 2+2 about a guy who bought some domains and websites on the cheap, optimized them in google search, improved their banner ads and instantly doubled the value of the sites earning completely passive income for the next year or whatever with virtually no more maintenance work beyond initial setup. It’s really quite amazing and if you can get good at these skills and find good deals you can make a lot of money with not a lot of capital.

Pros: Passive Income. Low startup costs. Anyone can learn how to do it.

Cons: Be careful who you trust. Competitors move and change very quickly on the web, if you want to stay on top you need to too.

Now these are most of the viable relatively passive income schemes I have come across if you’d like to add any please comment just no pyramid schemes or online scams or anything please. To further compare these income streams I figured I might as well take a look at the two incomes most of my readers have experience with.

Regular 9-5 Job – If you’ve never had one you either had rich parents or discovered online poker at the age of 16. Either way you are a lucky SOB.

Pros – Steady, relatively risk free income(remember you can still get fired). Instant social network. Retirement plan. Insurance.

Cons – 40 hour work weeks with little vacation. Have to listen to a boss. Not much potential to make a lot of money (standard raise is what like 5% a year or whatever?).

Poker – Meh, I think we all have a love/hate relationship with this game.

Pros – Potential to make a lot of money relatively quickly. Be your own boss. Work whenever you want.

Cons – Not passive income, you don’t play you don’t make money. High possibility of losing money. Weird work hours. Solitary activity. Stare at a computer screen for long hours each day. Burnout factor. Downswings.

Obligatory Poker Content – cool hand I played today IMO

And so concludes the longest, but probably best blog post I have ever written. I’d just like to add that while all of these are relatively “easy” ways to make a good living I think it takes a long time to get good at any one of them and each takes a long progression of failures before you are ever going to become any kind of expert at any of them meaning “there’s no such thing as a quick buck.” I hope you enjoyed and I am eagerly awaiting comments if you managed to make it all they way through 🙂

3 Responses to “No such thing as a quick buck”

  1. LuckySOB says:

    Nice post.

    My opinion:
    Sports betting is like poker with larger swings required to make the same money as poker

    Daytrading (although apealing) requires more time and study and skill than poker to make less money percentage wise

    Realestate is somewhat easy if you have the money to invest, but can be risky. I lost everything in realestate last year (over 300k) and would be on the edge of suicide if poker wasn’t there to save my ass financially. It’s all about timing.

    Online business is a lot more work than people realize.

    9 to 5……….lol…..k let’s be serious.

    My advice, diversify. You are so young. I’d kill to be in your position when I was your age. You need to start letting you money grow outside poker in simple ways. Start out small and simple and grow as you go. Stick some in the stock market, buy the max Roth IRA every year, bonds, and even CD’s.

    Then once you’ve established a good solid, low risk safe portfolio, you can start getting into higher risk/higher reward stuff like things you’ve listed. But again, start small. Buy a condo that needs fixed up and have it done. Then rent or sell it. See how you like it and go from there.

    The key here is to start small and low risk, and as it grows and you are able to invest more diversify into higher risk larger projects.

    You have poker for income. Keep it that way, let your other money grow and eventually it will surpass any income you could hope to make from poker.

    Nothing wrong with paying for professional help with this stuff either. Smart planning at your age with your money makes millionaires very quickly.

  2. DODGYKEN says:

    Holy crap there’s a lot of words there. I’ll give this a read tonight or tomorrow and leave a comment!

  3. Mat says:

    Great post!

    I think you’ve got it backwards though LuckySOB… You should be willing to get in on the high risk stuff when you’re young. If you go broke, then so be it. Rinse. Repeat… and then live off the safer returns from a larger capital source when you’re older.

    As for myself, I think I’m close to burnout with poker… This year has pretty much been break even for me. True, I’ve been travelling for most of it, but I’m just not into playing as much anymore. The downswings hurt way more than the upswings feel good.

    I’m looking into setting up an online business at the moment, though still at the research and development stage. Apart from that, I’d like to day trade more, though haven’t given it too much of my time seeing as though the potential swings are probably even worse than poker (not something I love).

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