When I read your letter about the guy who has been hustling pool for a living I knew that I had to write to you. My boyfriend, "Buddy", has decided to quit college and try his hand on the Texas Hold 'Em Poker circuit. I will admit that Buddy is good, but could he be good enough to go pro?
Buddy learned how to play Texas Hold 'Em after pledging his fraternity last year and has been hooked ever since. He quickly abandoned his academic curriculum in favor of courses that improved his poker game - a lot of math classes, a lot of psychology classes, and other courses like Statistics that have helped him to strategize and read people but that will not lead to a degree. Over the semester break this past winter, Buddy started competing in the Texas Hold 'Em tournaments held at the local casinos, and he did very, very well. He has made quite a deal of money, as well as a name for himself, playing cards. However, this success has not been without cost. Every weekend without fail he is in a tournament, which means less time for us to be together. Plus, these tournaments are high stakes, which means he must reinvest a good portion of his winnings, so he never has any money to do anything else after his rent and other expenses are paid. If Buddy were to take this show on the road, I can foresee these issues growing even larger.
I do not wish to sound selfish, because I honestly am concerned about Buddy's future and what is best for him - and I believe that finishing college and settling down are what is best for him! How can I get him to see this?
Dear Poker Widow:
Are you certain that you are interested in what is best for Buddy? Because it certainly sounds like you are interested in what is best for you. You complain that his poker tournaments keep him occupied (read: away from you) on weekends and that the cost of them requires him to reinvest his winnings into the next game instead of into stuff for you. At least, this is what I see when I read in between the lines.
Texas Hold 'Em is a game that requires a combination of skill and luck. The classes that Buddy is taking to improve his game are not easy classes. Psychology and Statistics? Please put me out of my misery...now!
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However, Buddy has made an intelligent choice if he is taking these classes to improve his card playing. Once he masters the art of card counting (which he can easily learn through the study of statistics) and the art of reading another player's physical cues and tics (through the study of human psychology) all that is left up to fate is the luck of the draw, after which he can continue to bid or decide to fold. His chances of making the correct choice will have improved exponentially, though, thanks to his education. Quite honestly, it sounds to me like Buddy has made a career choice and is choosing to follow that path. Competing on the poker circuit is not for everyone, and it can be a hard life full of stress and lacking loved ones; but this is Buddy's choice to make, not yours.
You do not say how long you and Buddy have been together or how serious the two of you are; if Buddy's parents are in the picture and if have any influence over him, or if they approve of his decision - should they even know about it. If you are concerned about losing Buddy or trying to decide if you would want to break up with him should he choose the circuit over you, this is the discussion you need to be having - not the one where you act like his mother and tell him what is best for his future.
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