Gambling for a Living?

I have to admit that I'm susceptible as anyone to the romance of gambling. I enjoy playing cards and, I have to admit, there are few things more fun than raking in a ton of poker chips after you've bluffed a table full of old friends at home, or newfound enemies at a casino. I love blackjack, craps and even the occasional relaxing round of Keno or slot machines. (It's not what James Bond would do, but then I'm obviously not 007!)

So, it's no surprise when young people -- it's usually the guys, of course -- after having some success at Texas Hold 'Em think they can make a living on the "sport" of poker and other gambling games. They saw Matt Damon and Edward Norton do so in the movie "Rounders" or, if they like old movies like me, the may have also fancied themselves to be Steve McQueen fleecing pigeons of thousands in pokerchips in "The Cincinnati Kid" -- until his comeuppance, that is. Life isn't the movies, however, and in real life "Rain Man" might have gotten thrown out of all the Vegas casinos before he ever had a chance to use his card counting skills.

(Don't get me started on this, but I want people to know that card counting is not cheating. The casinos have a rule against it because it works over time, but it's actually entirely within the rules of the game and is not illegal. That's why they merely politely eject and blacklist successful counters when they catch them. If you're actually cheating at a game, it's very serious business.)

The fact of the matter is that very few of us, however, have the skills, the patience, and the sheer nerve to really be a pro gambler. I've read about it and it turns out to be, like everything else, pretty hard work. That's not all, since you're often going for small, incremental wins it can actually get boring and like, you know, a regular job. I hate to say it, but sometimes the best job is an actual job. You can rake in the poker chip sets on your own time.

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