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Are you continually worrying about money?

Are you fearful of losing your bankroll; of never getting out of make up; of losing your backer; going on that horrendous downswing; not being able to get into the game?

The paradox of poker.


You can’t live without it, and so many of us seem to screw things up when we have it.

I know enough poker players to know that there is a need for a lesson or two in personal finance.

So drop your ego at the door, come on in and take a seat.

Here are six important concepts that you must apply to your life to remove those money worries once and for all.

1# Spend Less Than You Earn

This concept is the very essence of basic personal finance, but it has been overlooked ever since the advent of credit.

As a poker player you are a business, and if you want to be a successful poker player, then you have to learn to live your life like a business.

If you spend more money than you earn then you will not be a successful business. The big bad wolf will blow your house down. You must build positive cash flow. Decrease your spending, increase your income, get out of debt and build wealth.

It all starts with this simple rule.

If you don’t have it, you cannot spend it.

2# It’s All in Your Head

Don’t you just hate it when people say that to you?

“It’s all in your head.”


But it’s true.

An imbecile can understand the first rule of money, but if that imbecile cannot control his habits or emotions then his knowledge is worth nothing more than a pair of fours on a Broadway flop.

Do you buy things when you feel low? Do you eat out because you can’t be bothered to cook? Are you spending frivolously on the table games after you have been launched out of a tournament?

Control your mind and there is no need for math.

3# Emergency Fund

Money is like water.

It can flood your banks as easily as it can dry up on the bottom of your bed.

Poker is a great equalizer and it’s why we all love it. Your grandmother can beat Phil Ivey in heads-up action and that drags in the crowds.

Skill wears the crown over the long run, but do you have the bankroll for that long run?

Plan ahead. Open your eyes. Have foresight. Evaluate how much money you would need to eat, pay the bills and sleep well at night for at least six months.

Now put that money away.

If emergency strikes then use this pile of cash, but save nothing until you top this fund back up to its spilling point.

And no.

Playing poker is not an emergency.

4# Goals

We all need vision.

There are young men in this game who win millions. When I ask them what they want to do with their lives they say they don’t know. They live for the moment. There is no tomorrow.

How sweet.


How dumb.

Imagine the feeling of having the world in the palm of your hand only to see it vanish before your very eyes. I guarantee, in that moment, you will have a tinge of regret. Why did I buy that £2,000 bottle of Champagne? Why did I back those idiots? Why did I buy so many Gucci shoes.

Gucci shoes don’t hug you.

Champagne takes away your memories.

Crippled horses are always shot in the head.

You may be young, but grow a pair.

Have vision. Take a look into the future. What does it look like? Then plan for the world that you want to live in.

5# Invest

You will only be financially free when you have sufficient passive income to cover your expenses. As soon as this happens you are free. No more worries. No more beads of sweat.

This is how you turn your goals into tangible truths. Each time income comes your way you should save at least 10% for investments. If you become wise with your money, then by all means save more.

Do not touch this money.

It is not for vacations; it’s not for fast cars; it’s not for homes by the beach, speedboats, or diamond rings; and it certainly isn’t to be used for playing poker.

If you win £2,000 playing cash games on Tuesday night then you save £200. If you win a $1,000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) event, on Wednesday night, for $350,000 then you said $35,000.

The purpose is to see your money work for you, instead of you working for your money.

But what if you lose on Thursday night?

Then you have nothing to invest.

Deal with it.

So many poker players say that it is far better to invest in themselves than in stocks, bonds, real estate, or businesses.

Then they go broke.

And they have saved nothing…

6# Money Doesn’t Bring You Happiness

It’s without doubt that having money can make your life easier than not having any.

But does it really bring you happiness?

If it did, then you would become happier with every penny you earn. Yet speak to any of the high earners in poker and they will tell you that there is only so much money you can win before motivation becomes a problem.

There needs to be more.

There needs to be a bigger picture.

Love and relationships will bring you happiness.

The scarlet red of a beating heart, not the cold sheen of a brick of green.

Don’t allow your obsession with money to take over the things that are important to you.

Don’t look back on your life, with your last breath about to leave those lungs, and regret that you spent 90% of it sitting at a poker table.

You won’t want money with you at that time.

You will want love.

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