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The Work/Life Poker Balance Part I

by Miikka Anttonen |  Published: Jan 19, '12


I’m not good with schedules. Anyone who knows me will tell you that one of my most characteristic traits is that I’m always late to everywhere. I’m at least 15 minutes late to every single casual meeting I have with my friends, not to even mention more important things. I’ve missed more than 20 flights on my poker trips because I didn’t make it to the airport on time (once I also missed one when I went drinking in Germany and woke up in Poland an hour before my return flight, but that’s another story).

I had the same issue in all of my past jobs as well. I used to work in various entry-level jobs — fast food joint, grocery store, gas station. I have no idea how I managed to get fired only from one of those jobs since I was late to at least 50 percent of my shifts. Actually I’m pretty sure I was late to all of my job interviews too.

It’s not like I would be unable to estimate how much time and preparation it takes for me to get to place X from my bed. It’s also not that I’d usually be deliberately late. It just happens. I guess it’s mainly because I’m a night owl, and even when I’m not playing poker tournaments until seven in the morning, I just can’t get myself to go to bed on time, even if I know I have to wake up early the next day. As a result of this, my brain doesn’t function normally in the morning and I’m in zombie mode for the first few hours of being awake, and it takes me twice as long to get anything done — like the difficult task of taking a shower. I’m not a morning person.

After a very unlikely chain of events I landed my dream job when I was just 21. It was the sole thing I had ever dreamt of doing for a living since I was a kid (aside from being so rich that I wouldn’t have to work). To land that job you’d generally have go through five years of university level studying and some unpaid practice. I did none of that, and magically managed to get the job five years ahead of time.

I liked my colleagues, the job was even more fun than I thought it would be, it never felt like I was even going to work and I got paid more than I could’ve asked for. It took me less than a year to screw that up, too. I was always late, varying from 15 minutes to never showing up at all, and I didn’t get any of my scheduled projects done on time. My projects being late actually cost the company some serious money on a couple of occasions. Still, I was given second chances and third chances. Finally, after approximately the seventy-eighth chance, the board decided that I was too unreliable to be kept.

Why did I do it? Honest answer: I have no idea. There wasn’t a single thing I wasn’t pleased with. I just couldn’t get things done. In a way, I just couldn’t bring myself to care enough, even though I didn’t know why.

Most of the successful poker players I know are like that. We are a unique group of adults who are awful at many aspects of life. We are all lazy. If a group of five poker players reserves a table in a restaurant at six, no more than one person is ever going to be there before 6.30. No one even bothers to make excuses. That’s how we are.

We are not good with money. We spend loads of it on stupid stuff, and more importantly we are willing to pay obnoxious amounts to avoid doing anything that would take the slightest effort. We are often hard to approach, we aren’t very good conversationalists or socially talented. We were the kind of kids who our parents thought would never become anything. We pretty much suck at life for the most part.

But when we play poker, study poker or discuss poker hands, we become entirely different human beings. We are deliberate, precise, intelligent, smart, and enthusiastic. We are zombies brought back to life. We are willing to do any amount of work to get every single detail in a random poker hand analyzed, doing research, networking, just to make sure nothing goes unnoticed. We are motivated.

Check back tomorrow for part II of this blog…

Miikka Anttonen, also known as “Chuck Bass”, has some crazy stories to tell of his time in the poker world. The poker pro and coach has made over $300,000 playing MTTs in two years and has caused quite a stir on various poker forums in the past. Check out our special feature on the young Finn in the February 2012 issue of Card Player Europe.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


over 10 years ago

What you are is a narcissist.
Have a nice life.

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