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The Work/Life Poker Balance Part II

by Miikka Anttonen |  Published: Jan 21, '12


Catch up on part I of Mikkaa’s blog here.

I know more than a few very successful poker players who aren’t even intelligent at all. They got pretty unlucky in the gene pool lottery in that department. Still they absolutely crush poker, and without even realising it think on a higher level playing it than they would otherwise be capable of.

When they discuss current affairs, politics, history or anything that matters in the grand scheme of things, they appear uneducated. But when they discuss poker, they talk like geniuses. I spoke to one of my smarter poker friends about this a while back, and he agreed that many of the most successful players are “stoner types”, guys who smoke bongs, eat take-away food in their briefs, and play it like a video game. And make millions of dollars.

They do work too. No one gets good at poker, no matter how talented they are, without spending long nights on the computer studying. It’s an on-going process and everyone I know spends an hour or two just studying poker, after doing long shifts at the office. You could never get any of these guys to do a minute of extra work at a regular job or at school. Poker just happens to be the one thing they are enthusiastic about, and studying something you’re enthusiastic about is actually fun.

Back to my story. When I look back at my past jobs, I still think that I was a pretty good worker when I was actually at work. I don’t know why, but even when I was making burgers at Maccas I desperately wanted to be the best employee in the house. I, for sure, paid more attention to detail and put my heart into serving customers in the best possible way more than any other person there. Same thing with every other job when I was present and my mind was there too. I was a good worker, I just wasn’t good at getting myself to work.

As you can probably guess, poker ended up being a blessing for me too. I never have to set my alarm clock to wake up for work, I can start and finish whenever I want to, I’m accountable to no one and if I decide to get lazy no one will get mad. If we ever get a universal Black Friday and I’ll have to quit playing, I’m going to be in major trouble. I can’t think of a single other occupation where I’d be able to get my full potential to play day after day, where I’d have enough work ethics to work 60 hours a week, and of course where I could make enough money to justify my spending habits.

Same goes to many of my poker buddies. Right now they excel in a small area of life that just happens to be one that pays amazingly well. In their minds they are still just twenty-something guys playing a video game, not caring about the world. They could only be seen as losers if they weren’t so damn good at what they do, and weren’t making so much money. If poker was taken away from them, they’d be in big trouble.

And so would I. I know it, because I live in a country where the government is preparing a law that would ban online poker. But still, I haven’t been able to make the effort to contact the guy I voted for in the last election and try to make things change. It just takes too much effort to fire a single e-mail. But after putting my thoughts on this to paper and actually realising what a slacker I am, I’m going to do it. Right now. If any of you live in countries that are preparing similar changes, which alarmingly seems to apply to many European countries at the moment, please give 15 minutes of your time and contact your own politician. Let’s keep the ball rolling.

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

I would think that you would not be so proud of being a total flake. so u can play and win at poker. big deal when you stand in front of your maker, I do hope that this is not all you can say. (I was a total s#$% at life but hell i could play poker, win big money and blow it all being a totaly un-responsible s@#$. what have you done with your winnings other than as you say "have big spending habits" have you ever thought that you are very lucky (not very smart but lucky) and maybe need to give back to the world a bit. Have you ever given any of your winnings to a charity. I really do not care which one but maybe like sponser a child and make sure that child gets to go to school and get enough to eat. maybe that child will not waste the education like you have. Man do something other than feed your wastefull lifestyle
just a thought.


over 10 years ago

"They could only be seen as losers if they weren’t so damn good at what they do, and weren’t making so much money. "

This is just not true. Rest of the world thinks (rightfully I would have to say) that playing poker for a living is a sad way of making a living. I think also that the smarter guys understand this and want to make something else with their lives too (Benefield school, Galfond blogs, loads of guys going into TV and media in general etc). It is not a fulfilling life in the end and most normal people need something else too.

I think you are a good guy and shouldn’t lose the focus in real life. Real life makes you truly happy in the end and use poker as a tool to get there. Don’t be the tool.

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