When Do You Retire from Playing Poker Professionally?


Consider poker players just like athletes — they spend the majority of their lives practicing, again and again, perfecting their craft over and over, with little to no rest. When we keep that in mind, it is easier to understand why so many pro poker players retire at a fairly young age, often at the peak of their careers. Why is that? When does playing the game becomes too much, even for a high roller?

What Does It Mean?

What leads to retirement, anyway? Most commonly, you retire after you reach a certain age, when you can’t work anymore. In this case, it is widely different. People who play professionally often retire from poker after they’ve earned a certain amount of money with which they can live without a care in the world. Also, they have certain liberty to get back in the game whenever they find it fitting, if ever.

In addition, in today’s age of the Internet, many poker pros start earning serious cash from their social media presence or by writing books about their journey. That way, they choose to become recreational players instead, rarely sticking to playing full time.

Just Say When

When you hear a poker player has retired at a young age of 30, for example, like Doug Polk did just last year, it probably means they have a lot of other options of earning money, or rather, they’ve acquired enough to keep it low key and away from the spotlight. They simply do not feel the need to keep chasing those WSOP bracelets, no matter how appealing and exciting it is.

Also, keep in mind that playing any casino game, especially poker, makes the players richer much faster, giving them the full liberty to retire whenever they please. And with the addition of online poker, it makes it even easier to get real money fast. Not only that, but many players start practicing their poker playing skills this way at a very young age, so when they reach the legal requirement to play, they already have many years of experience up their sleeves.

And for those most fortunate ones, such as Peter Eastgate or Pius Heinz, retirement is something that comes naturally after scoring such a big win, that they never have to look back. However, these kinds of cases are quite rare, which is why they are such big news, especially with both of them being younger than 30. For the rest, however, it’s common they eventually get back into the game after announcing their retirement, for various reasons.

Different Adventures

Playing Poker

For many poker pros, retirement only means opening new doors for different opportunities. For example, the former poker pro Phil Gordon created a very successful online business chatting website called Chatbox. Maybe even more famous is Antanas Guoga, known among the members of the gambling community as Tony G, who quit his aspiring poker playing career to join the European Parliament as a member of the Liberal Movement.

And a Bit of Scandal Too

You may have heard the name of Annie Duke once or twice when reading about poker. Well, Duke was quite a successful female poker player, with one WSOP bracelet under her belt. Then, she stepped in to become a part of the Epic Poker League, which failed miserably due to bankruptcy, eventually ceasing to exist. This controversy rocked the gambling community so profoundly that Duke retired from ever playing poker again in any way, shape, or form.

Individual Decision

In the end, there are many different ways to make money playing poker — online, in a classic casino, at a tournament, and so on. Ultimately, if you are particularly lucky and skillful, you can earn a lot of money quite fast, and with that, the freedom to do whatever you please with it. However, many poker pros decided to slow down instead of quitting altogether and focus on other things that are in relation to playing poker, such as writing top-selling books and guides about the game.

In the end, one thing is for sure — playing poker allows you to make life-changing decisions, but at the same time, you can always go back to the game and keep playing — whatever suits you better. Life as a poker pro is quite unpredictable, but it gives many opportunities at the same time.

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