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Hi everyone,

I am 31 years old and have been a professional poker player for the past ten years. While I have done well, I now have a wife and baby and I would like to "go legit". I have been told by someone in trading that my specific set of skills might make me a (longshot) candidate for something in the finance world.

Since I spent all of my twenties thinking that I would just sit at a poker table for the rest of my life, I am completely in the dark as to how to transition now.

So basically I am asking for any advice whatsoever, whether general or specific. Any help whatsoever would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading,
Butcher

Comments (15)

  • PaperTrail's picture

    Care to provide any info on your educational background? While there are stories of people getting into trading with nothing more than a GED, I think present day a 4-year degree is probably a must.

    By "going legit," do you mean you just want something with more reliable cash flow not influenced by the hand you are dealt? Or do you essentially want to cut your gambling ties? If you aren't opposed to still being in the gambling game, it sounds like there are many opps to take an equity stake in some kind of poker-oriented start up, especially if you have a big enough name to be recognized and respected within the poker community. A friend of mine is a big player and has added to his winnings by doing just that.

  • thebutcher's picture

    First off, thanks.

    As for my education, I went to college for about three weeks in '97 and so there's nothing to say there.

    Also, I am not a known player. I "cut my teeth" in the underground scene of New York City (where just about everyone knew I was successful for many years), occasionally traveling to AC and Vegas. Most recently I've spent the last two years playing exclusively online as I've relocated to the midwest area. I've been successful, and consistent, but I've kept an extremely low profile. That's sort of how I wanted it...

    Any other ideas?

  • In reply to thebutcher
    SirBankalot's picture

    thebutcher:
    First off, thanks.

    As for my education, I went to college for about three weeks in '97 and so there's nothing to say there.

    Also, I am not a known player. I "cut my teeth" in the underground scene of New York City (where just about everyone knew I was successful for many years), occasionally traveling to AC and Vegas. Most recently I've spent the last two years playing exclusively online as I've relocated to the midwest area. I've been successful, and consistent, but I've kept an extremely low profile. That's sort of how I wanted it...

    Any other ideas?

    Lame story. No chance. Sorry.

  • eiffeltowered's picture

    With your background, some of the day trading shops or PWM (broker) is the only road I see. Would use some of your poker winnings to open a stock trading account; learn the lingo and see if it's something you like doing first before venturing into this area....this could be a very bad deadend for you if you don't like the market

  • In reply to eiffeltowered
    FutureBanker09's picture

    eiffeltowered:
    With your background, some of the day trading shops or PWM (broker) is the only road I see. Would use some of your poker winnings to open a stock trading account; learn the lingo and see if it's something you like doing first before venturing into this area....this could be a very bad deadend for you if you don't like the market

    I kinda disagree here. There's a kid named Jason Strasser, who had pitiful grades in college but was a successful poker player. Because of this he got a job trading derivatives at MS. It's sad to think with their being so many more qualified applicants out there, but you have a chance actually.

  • squawkbox's picture

    Try trading with your own capital and see how it goes.

  • creditderivatives's picture

    FutureBanker09 is absolutely correct.
    Jason Strasser trades Single name options with us on the Equity Derivatives desk at Morgan Stanley.
    There's always a shot, but i think you'd have to make a few contacts to get looked at seriously (not every poker player can just work on the trading floor..otherwise it would be littered with them)

    CD~

  • 1styearBanker's picture

    If you're a "pro poker player" why don't you just keep playing. You're at least over 1 mil networth and probably will make more than a lot of analysts out there.

    However, you are correct in that banking won't apply to you and something like prop trading would be better. Not even BB/market making trading since you are less independent and are representing clients. Rather, you might want to look at prop trading shops and if you are very good at mental math/brainteasers, interviewing for firms like FYN, SIG, Spot, Optiver, etc.

  • In reply to FutureBanker09
    minhiub's picture

    FutureBanker09:
    eiffeltowered:
    With your background, some of the day trading shops or PWM (broker) is the only road I see. Would use some of your poker winnings to open a stock trading account; learn the lingo and see if it's something you like doing first before venturing into this area....this could be a very bad deadend for you if you don't like the market

    I kinda disagree here. There's a kid named Jason Strasser, who had pitiful grades in college but was a successful poker player. Because of this he got a job trading derivatives at MS. It's sad to think with their being so many more qualified applicants out there, but you have a chance actually.

    Jason was at Duke. So that tells something about him.

  • recession.graduate's picture

    Use your contacts - anybody you know in the finance industry that can get you in front of key people so that you will have a chance to sell your story. It's a relationship-based industry.

    Remember to have a convincing story - these people don't like to waste time. Good luck!

  • MarginCalling's picture

    most "live pros" don't really have even basic math skills so i'm not sure what you would be bringing to the table unless you plan on soulreading the market. best bet is definitely to hit up the wall street fish you used to play with in nyc

  • In reply to FutureBanker09
    strassa2's picture

    I was at my birthday dinner with my family yesterday when my mom was like "Jason! you should see what some guy is writing about you on the internet!" She has some sort of google alert on my name I guess and she pointed me to this post.

    I thought what you said was mostly fair. "pitiful" is a fair way to classify my grades. I was a B/B- student. I double majored in biomedical and electrical engineering at duke so it wasnt a cupcakes degree at a joke school... and my grades really fell off junior senior year when i started making lots of money playing poker and when I got my job offer early in my senior year.

    The way I look at it is that if you were hiring a banking analyst--fine, take the 3.9 GPA and guy who has been motivated to rock the world of finance since he was in middle school. But if you are hiring a trading analyst of 30 undergrads and you are a big firm like JPM/GS/MS/BAC whatever, you can definitely afford to take a shot on a non traditional applicant, and that is what I was. I just sold myself as a smart kid who had the skillset for trading (comfortable with numbers, making quick decisions, making educated guesses under pressure, etc)... It also wasnt hard to explain why my grades were not that great because I was making 50-100k a month and traveling the world playing poker instead of turning in my problem sets.

    Its much harder to get a job in finance once you graduate and become a pro poker player, especially at a big bank that typically only hires undergrads or b-schoolers who arent already in the business. To the OP, I think starting at one of the market makers/HFs is the way to go.

    Now stop insulting me in front of my mom/rest of the world!
    -Jason Strasser

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