What Now?

I suppose some of you out there might be wondering what I’m up to now.  Am I basking in the afterglow of earning a healthy family’s yearly salary in a single day for the second time in 2007?  Or am I running amok, cackling like a banshee as I galavant around New York blowing wads of cash on senseless luxury items?

No and no.  The basking period lasted around three days.  And my senseless spending, coinciding with one night in the basking period, consisted of exactly one item:  an absurd night of bottle service at a New York City dance club.  What I’ve really been doing is pondering what happens next.  So what now?

To quote the great sports talk radio legend Steve Somers:  for those of you keeping score at home, and I know that you are, I’ve had a very good poker year.  I have shattered my monetary goals for 2007, which were rather moderate compared to what I have achieved.  I have also managed to attain a relatively high world ranking on the tournament poker leaderboard.  Quite honestly, both of these results are well beyond anything I ever expected.  To say I’m pleased about these particular things is an understatement.  But where do I go from here? 

That’s the question I’ve been asking myself since I’ve returned home from Foxwoods.  Despite all I’ve accomplished in my 23 months as a pro, the truth is that I’m far from completely satisfied and that I remain somewhat apprehensive about my burgeoning career.  The following are my poker goals going forward:

Stay motivated and improve my game 

Have I reached my ceiling as a poker player?  I don’t think so, and I really hope not.  Poker is a tricky business.  I am aware of how tenuous a player’s stay on top can be.  I am familiar with dozens of stories of players who flashed briefly, made way more money than I have, then abruptly disappeared from the scene forever.  I do not want to be one of those players.

Just earlier today I was perusing the 2+2 forums and came across this thread about Shannon Shorr.  For those unfmamiliar, Shorr came out of nowhere and tore up the tournament scene in 2006.  By the end of the year he was hailed as tournament poker’s next big thing, even parlaying his success into a side job writing a bi-weekly column for Card Player magazine.  But today, his stellar 2006 serves only as a stark white backdrop upon which to compare his dismal 2007, during which he has continuously toured the tournament circuit without a single large cash.  Shorr now openly admits that he might not have what it takes and is contemplating quitting poker.

The above-linked 2+2 thread is filled with some valuable commentary (along with the typical helping of bullshit).  Some important, valid points are made about how much variance exists in tournament poker, about how difficult it is to make a long-term living at tournament poker, and about how cash-poor most famous tournament pros actually are. Implicit in these comments is the notion that there are precious few people who can truly succeed in the long term playing poker tournaments.  I would like nothing more than to annoint myself a member of that exclusive club at this point in time, but truthfully, such an announcement would still be premature.

I’m not saying that I found the Shannon Shorr 2+2 thread discouraging, but it is at least… disconcerting.  The good news is this:  reading that thread has bolstered my motivation.  Screw basking.  I have a renewed desire to build on my success in the venues that are already comfortable to me, and I want more than ever to succeed in the venues where I have yet to really dominate.  Namely, I want to keep playing great live tournament poker, and I also want to improve in online tournaments and in cash games generally.

Online poker is vexing to me.  I simply am not as good online as I am live.  This is old news to regular readers of this blog.  When I speculate on the reasons for my relative struggle online, I come up with the following:

  1. the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) has chased off a ton of fish, leaving me to battle against much stronger fields than those I deal with in brick & mortar locales;
  2. I cannot master the art of devoting complete concentration to a computer monitor when there are so many distractions available;
  3. My game is “feel”-dependent, so I work best in an environment where physical tells are part of the poker landscape.

I’m relatively certain that each of these enumerated items is a factor and that they rank 2-1-3 in descending order of importance.  I’ve said this so many times that it’s nauseating, but I am going to work on becoming a better online player.  Starting… now!

Figure out how to invest my money

On the day in 2002 when I billed my final hour at a large NYC corporate law firm, thereby irrevocably removing myself from the god awful “partner track,” I became a prohibitive longshot to ever have this much money in the bank at the age of 34.  Well, the longshot came in.  So what do I do with the money?

The answer is probably going to be pretty simple.  Janeen and I are looking to buy a bigger apartment for us both to live in, probably somewhere in Brooklyn.  That will effectively end my days of having tons of money banked. 

Still, I am 34 years old with no clue about how to handle money.  I know zilch about investing.  I’ve heard rumors that if you have a bunch of money, it like… makes more money just by sitting in a certain place?  Or something?  That’s the extent of my knowledge.  I might take a couple of seminars about investing and about real estate so that I will feel comfortable with whatever decisions Janeen and I make going forward. 

Turn poker success into marketability

I’m doing really well in an industry that is still rapidly growing.  So why am I a nobody?  Despite my growing list of accomplishments, here are some things I’ve noticed:

–There is no such thing as a Card Player update about David Zeitlin.  The list of players whose minute-to-minute doings are widely documented includes scores of guys who have accomplished much less than me playing poker.  When I manage to go deep in a tournament, thereby forcing the poker media to cover me, the kid with the clipboard invariably says “what was your name again?”

Is this because I’m boring?  Ugly?  Still new to the scene?  I don’t know.  Hello?!

–I’ve never once been approached about any kind of sponsorship deal, even though I’m out there touring and winning.  I know for a fact that there are idiots who are dead broke who make good money on the side for wearing stupid hats and t-shirts.  I don’t even have that option.

–Forgive my insolence on this one, but the people who write about poker stink.  There is a huge, growing market of readers out there who are hungry for anything about poker.  I know this for a fact, because every poker room is now littered with magazines that didn’t exist two years ago, and because this blog gets way more hits than you’d think.  Unfortunately, the supply of quality writers seems to be outstripped by the demand for poker articles.  Pick up any issue of Card Player, Bluff, or any of the other hard copy (or worse, internet) poker publications and turn to almost any page.  You’ll probably find a poorly written (yet still entertaining, cause it’s poker!) piece of journalism.  Sorry, Mr. Shorr, but you’re no exception.

I’m not saying that I’m God’s gift to poker writing—if this blog was really awesome I’d surely have some kind of offer by now—but I can do better than half these hacks.  It would be pretty cool to have a small regular paycheck again.  I’m not deluded enough to believe that this one is someone else’s fault.  I have never made any kind of overtures to any poker publication about part time employment.  But here goes:

Hi guys! 🙂


10 thoughts on “What Now?

  1. Win the main event in vegas next year. You will definately be NOTICED, Or commence marketing yourself, Write to the poker publications, Your blog is awesome. That Dive Shop is also a “Steve O” great idea, play poker underwater.

  2. Since I don’t want to be part of any kind of poker drama, I’d just like to say that Shannon Shorr has replied to that thread I mentioned, and says he’s not even close to busto and is merely considering other things to do with his life. 🙂

  3. I read a lot about poker and your blog is very good on several levels, it’s informative and entertaining and much better than the majority of poker blogs

    i have picked up some good info, book recommendations and just overall thought provoking material here..

    i think recognition will soon follow your recent and future success, if thats what you want..

    have you considered coaching?

  4. hello, a friend told me about your website,

    i just started playing online poker and made my first 5000 thousand. i still have work, that is because i work from home, with a 12-8 shift, and i am on call and troubleshoot, for an advertising company, doing IT. so a this point, i have 2 incomes, one legal, one not

    enought about me. My question to you, is why dont u do my online poker? u can make money, and it will also not be taxed. because we all know that gambling is illegal.

    of course, when u play in person, u get taxed.

    working from home, also lets me write, because i did also go to film school. But my question too you is, any
    advise? should i stop playing online poker and give the big casinos a chance? but do i do now that i keep winning online? should i just stop? or continue?


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