Poker Bubble: Teenaged Dropout Poker Moguls

from the it's-all-worth-it,-huh? dept

We’ve joked in the past about there being an online poker bubble, what with startups supposedly funded with poker winnings and students paying tuition with their take (not to mention crazy IPOs by companies who are probably breaking US laws). However, to top it all off, it’s time to bring back the favorite news story from the dot com bubble years and apply it to the online poker world. Yes, that’s right, it’s the teenager dropout millionaire, who made all his money playing online poker. Like those teenaged dot com CEOs, the story expresses almost no skepticism about the story (or any suggestion that luck played a hand). While it does, briefly, note that some people lose money and how that can be stressful, it quickly brushes that aside by quoting the kid about how “it was all worth it in the end.”

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Comments on “Poker Bubble: Teenaged Dropout Poker Moguls”

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coglethorpe (user link) says:

Going all-in on poker...

The one thing that amazes me about poker is the longevity of the phenomenon. It’s kind of like the Backstreet Boys. They made it one, or possibly two albums farther than I thought they would.

I predict that US Government regulation, or even talk of it, will be the needle the pops the Poker Bubble. Sadly, what we won’t hear about is the poker winners who end up in trouble with the IRS, end up on a losing streak and bankrupt, or all the thousands of kids (and adults) who become addicted to gambling in the midst of the craze.

Sissy Pants says:

Re: Going all-in on poker...

Your prediction is wrong. The US Government has nothing to do with it. Every online gambling site I’ve been to is hosted “off shore” so the government has no say in whether or not we can gamble.

ESPN shows poker events, and then every guy who didn’t make it as a Pro athelete figures they can be the next no-name guy who wins it all… look at the increase in entries for the Main Event during the WSOP. 5 years ago there were 700 and this year they are expecting almost 7500.

ESPN is never going to stop showing the events, because Las Vegas and the online sites are giving them huge bucks to broadcast them…


Vasco DaGameboy says:

No Subject Given

The problem with stories like this is that, yeah, it’s true, but for every one kid who drops out of high school and make a couple hundred grand playing poker, there are thousands of people who lose everything they own gambling. This is not a screed against gambling, but it is a swipe at these idiotic local media outlets who lionize guys like this. If the story influences one kid to quit school and blow any cash he might have on poker, then its done a great deal of damage.

The kid is obviously immature, given that he has two very expensive cars and blows his cash on crap like earrings and watches. The story reports this as if it is proof that he made the right decision in life. Visit him in 20 years when he’s broke and owes thousands to support his “career”. I doubt you’ll find a BMW in the driveway then. Not that owning those cars is proof of anything, unless they’re fully paid for. I see people every day driving Mercedeses and Lexuses when it’s obvious they barely make enough to afford a Honda. That’s the world of easy credit for you. Either that, or a lot more people are winning at online poker than I’m aware.

There’s nothing wrong with telling this kid’s story, but those reporting it should be much more responsible about pointing out the pitfalls of such a decision and what a long shot it is that this kid is successful. Certainly more than just, “Oh, this other kid robbed a bank to support his habit, but THIS KID MADE MILLIONS!!” Which one do you think impressionable kids, tired of history class, will think they will emulate if they do the same thing?

American history is full of dropouts who made millions. The difference is that most of those guys did it through hard work and dedication. This kid is relying HEAVILY on a lucky streak that will, most definitely, come to an end. When it does, he will have nothing, and no symapthy, at least from me.

DYY says:

I'm a bit skeptical

If this kid’s so rich and so successful, why does he still live with Mommy? You’ll notice when he brags about buying clothes and jewelry, there’s no mention of paying rent, buying groceries, paying utilities, etc. So he’s worth millions, but Mommy still cooks his food, makes his bed, provides a roof over his head. What a worthless piece of garbage! I agree that he’ll be broke soon, but I don’t think it’ll take 20 years. I’m leaning toward 2. It’s a good thing Mama will still be there as a safety net since Mr. Poker Genius doesn’t have the balls to leave the nest and brave the real world.

Frankly, I think he’s won a lot less than they think he has. I’ll bet a good investigative reporter would find that his net worth is not much higher than your typical high school dropout, despite the clothes, watches and cars.

thatguy says:

Re: No Subject Given

That’s the whole point. The advertising, ESPN, and articles like these are EXACTLY what keeps good players profiting and bad players going bankrupt.

But that’s why as an intelligent person (if you are one), you play poker as if it’s another bill to pay. If you can’t afford to pay for it, you stop the “service.” Just like you would with anything.

The people who lose everything gambling is just Darwinism at work in our current times. Without being responsible with your money and addictions, you lose. Then you can’t afford to live or have kids and your genes die off.

I say, the more people that play poker and learn to handle real life and it’s addictions, the more people learn to be intelligent about it. If you don’t or can’t control your emotions like we all must, you won’t survive in the world.

Vasco DaGameboy says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Spoken like a true child. Gambling, particularly problem gambling, doesn’t just affect the gambler. Often the hardest hit victims are the spouses, parents, and, saddest of all, the children. Have you ever met someone who is starting over at 45 because his wife gambled away their entire life savings and then borrowed against his 401K and lost that? How about someone whose elderly father gambles away his pension check every month on dollar slots, leaving him with nothing on which to subsist? Do you just give them the old middle finger and tell them it’s social Darwinism at work?

I am not anti-gambling, but I (unlike you) respect the addictive and potentially destructive power it can command. If everyone could handle poker like a monthly bill, then life would be great, but that ain’t reality, and to treat an 18-year-old dropout like a wunderkind because he’s had a lucky streak is irresponsible. Things don’t happen in a vacuum and if you really believe what you wrote above, then you are the one who won’t survive in the real world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

Before I bash your troll of a response, I would like to mention that you have absolutely no basis for the personal comments you have made about me relating to “surviving in the real world” and “not respecting addictive issues.” In fact, nothing I stated in my original post gives you a reason to come to these conclusions about me. The reasons you came to them are emotional; most likely because what I said hit a nerve and was personal to you for some reason.

So you’re the type of person who believes we need to create RULES and LAWS to keep people from hurting themselves? I suppose you also think it’s OK for suicide to be illegal. Well, you’re wrong. It’s as simple as that. If there were only people like you in the US, we would already be a police state (which we are rapidly becoming).


I guess I’m just insensitive to irresponsible people. If you can’t learn that gambling doesn’t work for you then you have control issues and need to seek help, PERIOD. Nobody should be protected from themselves.

I suppose I should have the same sympathy for fucking herione and meth addicts as well then right?

Yes, people and others get hurt in the process or someone else’s problems a lot of the time. And that’s horrible. But this is just short term. And the statement I originally made was speaking in the long term. Because whether or not you want to realize it, making decisions that hurt you and your loved ones passes from generation to generation until eventually your genes no longer survive. Because the gambling/addictive traits you have, will be passed to your children and they can either learn to defeat them, or continue passing them on. Just like with the ancient animals that were too lazy to hunt their own food, DARWINISM cut them out of the race for survival.


And just for the record, YES, I have known someone who lost EVERYTHING because their wife gambled all his hard earned cash away. And I’ve had 2 people VERY CLOSE to me KILL THEMSELVES. And I STILL believe the things I do.

I have also learned from these people and their experiences and the decisions they made.

You see, because I am a person who LEARNS from others and sees pain and suffering as something that can be avoided and taken in as life experiences in order to make sure they don’t happen to me and the people I care about.

Because KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! right?

My family friend who lost everything had to learn that even though he loved his wife very much, she could not be trusted with his money. And then he kept seperate accounts and helped her recover.

Unfortunately for my grandfather and cousin, they couldn’t learn from their mistake of committing suicide, BUT I DID. And it has saved my life during VERY depressing times I’ve had.

So before you go pointing fingers and calling people children for acknowledge the evils of the world and taking control of them while having no sympathy for the people that REFUSE to, maybe you should rethink your OWN position.

You say you “respect” gambling addiction and I don’t. Well that’s because you have issues with self control yourself and probably fit into the category of people I was originally speaking of and took offense. That, my new troll friend, is NOT my problem.

And my acknowledging how addictions and self control work (BECAUSE IT IS A CHOICE), is why I am the one who respects the addiction. Because it IS scary.

Vasco DaGameboy says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Subject Given

Your post is laughable. First you chastise me for making assumptions (fairly logical ones, I might add) about you, then you proceed to assume that I:
– have self control issues and probably can’t handle moderate gambling
– think we need rules and laws on the order of a police state
– think it’s OK for suicide to be illegal
So right out of the gate, your post is rife with hypocrisy.

The rest of this is just a childish rant by someone whose attitude is on the order of, “to hell with everyone…it’s survival of the fittest.” If that’s your attitude, fine. If watching two relatives kill themselves has done nothing more than make you as hardened and bitter toward the underlying issues as you appear to be, then that’s really sad.

The rules and laws to protect people from themselves, which you so excoriate, are more for society’s benefit. The reason there are laws against drunk driving is because a drunk driver kills others moreso than he may harm himself. Laws against gambling are of a different stripe, but I never said there should be more laws against gambling. What I DID say was (if you’d bother to read) that I have a problem with a periodical that treats an 18-year-old uneducated gambler as a hero becuase he’s won a few tournaments and has a Range Rover, particularly if it almosts completely glosses over the thousands of others who are in financial trouble as a result of the same practice, as this article did.

And as for your dime store definition of Darwinism (a concept of which you are completely enamored), if the bankruptcy of gambling addicts and the death of drug and alcohol abusers was truly governed by your misguided understanding of Darwinism, those problems would have ceased to exist long ago because all the gamblers and addicts would have died, essentially. That’s complete rubbish, however, part of social Darwinism is the reaction of society to a problem, including rules and laws to protect society (moreso than the individual) from said actions. In other words, after enough people die from smoking, society puts mechanisms in place (taxes, laws, regulations) to mitigate the negative effect on society. That’s your beloved Darwinism in action. So do you support the Darwinistic actions of society or do you think there should be no laws to protect society? Which is it? C’mon, use your logic and gritty real world experience!

I’ve heard your, “everyone should be able to do everything and if they get hurt, screw ’em!” line a hundred times before and I’ve heard it articulated much better. The logical end of your general argument is anarchy, and it never works out in the end. If you don’t understand that, then you will have trouble out there. Trust me.

nostranonymous says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

there are alternatives to help curb gambling addictions. most addictions don’t have these options.

why couldn’t the grandpa who lost so much playing dollar slots just play penny slots instead? there’s still money and profit involved and the habitual aspect of it is the same. but hardly anything can be lost.

got a holdem addiction? start playing online for free or with bonus points that can actually turn into real money. it’s free and can potentially turn into real money. or you can play at tables with 2 and 4 cent blinds. you still get enjoyment of the game and can enjoy possible profit. it’s not as much but at least you don’t lose too much and harm you or your family this way.

the options are there.

people really do have a choice.

Dissent (user link) says:

Poker Algorithm

Funny that no one’s mentioned HOW these people are able to make so much money, and why they havent gone to Vegas to try their hand at real poker – because virtual poker is a SCAM.
Unlike in real life, a computer is doing the shuffling and the dealing… and unlike in real life, the dealer (a computer) has no choice but to use an algorithm to deal cards. And because of that, there are patterns – patterns in everything from the type of cards drawn, to the number of winning hands per hour, to the number of bad hands in a row.
If you study the game long enough you can begin to pick out the patterns. It takes a *long* time, though. It’s not a matter of getting lucky (or a matter of being ‘good at poker’ in the traditional sense), just a matter of picking up on the subtle patterns and being good with numbers.

Stevie says:

Re: Poker Algorithm

Ahhhhhh NO.

You can’t achieve perfect “randomness” with a computer, but you can come REALLY close, and no human could detect any “patterns”.

Unless the poker site is using a bad algorithim on purpose (I doubt they would risk their legitamacy doing so), then you aren’t gonna detect any patterns in the dealing algorithim, trust me.

You can however detect playing patterns in other players, and that’s where the money is.

docta v says:

Re: Re: Poker Algorithm

Yes you can have perfect randomness on a computer. It’s called a hardware random number generator or true random number generator.

The major poker sites use hardware based random number generation which means it really is random. No different from live poker. All those bad beats aren’t because you’re playing on site X or site Y, that’s just poker!

Steve Mueller (user link) says:


Anonymous Coward wrote:

If you can’t learn that gambling doesn’t work for you then you have control issues and need to seek help, PERIOD. Nobody should be protected from themselves.

Ummm, isn’t seeking help asking to be protected from yourself?

Anonymous Coward wrote:

So you’re the type of person who believes we need to create RULES and LAWS to keep people from hurting themselves? I suppose you also think it’s OK for suicide to be illegal. Well, you’re wrong. It’s as simple as that. If there were only people like you in the US, we would already be a police state (which we are rapidly becoming).

I suppose I should have the same sympathy for fucking herione and meth addicts as well then right?

You do realize there are laws against heroin and meth, right? Do you think those laws should be repealed?

You sound like a Libertarian or anarchist. The fact is that people do make mistakes, but not all mistakes should be devasting or fatal. That’s why we have laws to protect us — like seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws, for example. Those are reasonable laws that attempt to prevent serious injury without making the underlying activity illegal.

Or maybe you don’t have problems with 6-year-olds driving or your 12-year-old girl having sex with 40-year-old men.

Anonymous Coward says:

Poker Alogorithms, et all...

To recap:

Keep your rules off my wallet.

Libertianism is not like like Anarchism.

Keep your horny 12 year old daughter behind a locked door when there are men about.

Nobody ever won online poker by reverse engineering the randomization function of the online poker server and correctly guessing everyone’s cards.

Suicide, youthful sex, and drug consumption should be legal and openly discussed.

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