You need a plan for after poker



Now that you’ve become a poker pro, what are you going to do after that? This is an important question. The answer can’t be, “Move up in stakes until I have enough money to quit,” nor can it be “I’ll just keep playing for as long as I need to.”

The game is getting more difficult each year. There’s a running joke in the poker community. Someone sees a horrible play and they quickly say, “poker is dead,” and then roll their eyes. The point they’re trying to get across is they don’t believe people who say poker has become harder. It has.

No-limit hold’em is becoming more solved every day and the other games will follow them. What do I mean by solved? The quick version is that there’s becoming a clear correct play based on a number of factors for each situation that you can be presented with in a game.
There’s a lot more to it than that, but the end, result is that when complicated games are solved, then you’re not able to get an edge anymore.

Think about the game Tic Tac Toe. Unless you make a mistake, it’s impossible to lose. If the outcome of the game was that in a tie you flipped a coin and the winner of that won the money, there would be no way for anyone to make a living playing that game.

This hasn’t happened yet. Poker is not dead, but as technology becomes more advanced, we begin to understand the game of NLHE better.

And when wearable devices that are difficult to detect become more ubiquitous, it will die a slow death. Even now, it’s been possible to play close to perfect with less than 20 big blinds just paying $3 for the app SnapShove. You can literally click whether you shoved or not and have your decision for the next hand ready for you.

So what’s the solution? The first thing is you should never stop learning. This will help you keep up with the competition.

However, you need a Plan B. When you’re making your bankroll decisions, you need to be saving for retirement, but at the same time thinking about where your life will be in five or 10 years.

Don’t make the mistake of not having a backup plan. That will be different for every person, but what will be the same for everyone will be that this is necessary. Plan your future and enjoy this job while you can.

— Brent Philbin is a poker pro who lives in South Florida. You can reach him at

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine