A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

This is not about Burning Man


I was gone from the Internet for 6 days…and I survived! Shocking, I know. Simpli survived and things went smoothly for the week thanks to Seth, Ben, and Mike all picking up where I left off. I also made some great personal decisions while I was at Burning Man and partied hard. I had a lot of fun. I definitely would say it was a good week. :)

But since this blog isn’t about Burning Man, let’s move on. The most interesting recent development in my life is my new(ish) obsession with poker. Digging back through my blog, I realize I haven’t posted about online poker since March. Two big things have changed since March:

1) I stopped playing online tournaments and started playing cash games. This was the biggest change I made. The tournaments were tough; the smaller buy-in tournaments were full of people who would play any two cards, which made them more likely to suck out on me. You can’t play well against a completely unpredictable player (Doyle Brunson calls them “loose cannons.”) The larger buy-in tournaments were nearly unaffordable, and were sometimes also full of loose cannons and otherwise full of really, really good players.

2) I started reading poker strategy. I mean not just reading a little bit, but obsessively. I learned how to calculate odds and outs on the fly. I learned how to account for styles of different players. And then, after reading Doyle Brunson’s “Super System” book to the point where I could quote every good point he made, something started to change.

I started to win.

As I gained steam, I went into higher and higher-limit cash tables. (I always play no-limit hold’em, but the cash tables have limits on how much cash you can bring to the table.) Currently I’m playing $100 max tables and I bring $50 to the table. I’ll likely start playing the $200 max tables and bring $100 to the table soon.

Even accounting for the week I spent at Burning Man, in the past 30 days I’ve made over $1000 playing poker online, and I’m averaging $150-$300 profit a night. I typically play for 2-4 hours late at night. When I start getting tired, I set a goal for myself (“I’ll play until I hit $250″ was my goal last night, with a total of $100 invested, and last night was one of my worst poker nights in the past month). Once I hit that goal, I bow out for the night. (Last night I logged off with $257.20.)

True to my word, I’m using all poker winnings to pay off debt. I have a system there, too: I let my account hit $1200, and then withdraw $1000 and EFT it to my checking account, where I then push it into debt payments. Last night I withdrew my first $1000.

For right now, poker is a fun “side job” that’s definitely more interesting to me than taking contract work or doing web dev. In all honestly, with as little as I pay myself from Simpli, an extra $1000 or $1500 a month will go a LONG way. Right now my goal is to make $1000 a month and use that to pay down debt quickly so I can be debt-free before the end of the year. That’s a tough goal, but depending on how much I win and whether I get a roommate, I might actually make it.

Realistically, I know poker could be my entire life. I know that I am, right now, a very good poker player. If I wanted to continue to obsessively study for the next year or so, I would — no question — have what it takes to go pro. However, I don’t think I’m interested in the pressure that arises to make rent from playing poker. I’m pretty sure at this point that I just want to leave it as a fun side job, but not use it to pay any of my day-to-day expenses. But, as S pointed out, $200 a day x 365 days a year = $73,000. Not bad for a couple hours’ work.



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I'm Erica Douglass.
After selling my online business at age 26 for over $1 million, I created this blog to help you grow your own business quickly.

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