Professor77, thanks for your time, can you tell us your real name and tell something about your self, where you live and if you have children??
Mark Pinsker, JD -52 yr old American - been living in Thailand for 15 years - 2 daughters - aged 6 & 21
What did you do for work before coming a pro poker player?
I have 3 post graduate degrees, computer sci, computers and a Juris Doctorate in law, I was a trial attorney and law professor
Was there a point where you decided that you'd make a run at going pro?
It sort of just happened - it was less stress than trial law and gave me more freedom - plus my poker websites (see www.Professor77.com) and my poker videos started to do very well.
What poker books you have red??
Almost every 1 ever published, some i have read 3 or 4 times. And which you recommend for poker beginners? Doyle Brunson's Super System 2, Harrington' books & Capaletti on Omaha
How many hours a week do you spend at a table now? And Online?
I spend at least 50 hours a week online or live
Where do you play online?
I have active cash accounts at 12 poker rooms, but play mainly PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Pokerroom & Absolute Poker
what's your nickname?
Too many to list
When you play, do you play more tournament or more cash games?
Absolutely cash games!
Who are your favourite or most admired players?
What's your favourite start hand?
What's the highest price money you have ever won?
Took 3rd place in the first Paradise Million in Costa Rica
Did you ever played at the Amsterdam Masters?
No but I would love to. I've been to Holland many times and love the country and its people.
Have you ever stood up and flipped over a poker table because you were so furious?
Not my style, I am the polar opposite - I am a Buddhist and very very very cool and calm. I have played cash games in casinos in Vegas and elsewhere for over 30 years so not much rattles me - I just say "it happens"
What advice would you give to the people who are watching poker on TV and playing online, hoping to go pro?
Read the following article I wrote (it's meant to be humor)
Why Do Professional Poker Players Still Live with Their Moms?
In other words, professional poker works pretty much like the standard capitalist enterprise: you have to be near the top of the pyramid to make a big wage. Notwithstanding the media's rhetoric about the million's of dollars available and the glamour of poker stardom, a player's "wages" are about as skewed as wages in corporate America. A low level pro has plenty in common with a McDonald's burger flipper or a Wal-Mart shelf stocker. In fact, most players also hold other jobs in the legitimate sector to supplement their skimpy poker earnings. Most low level pros make aproximately minimum wage for every hour at the poker tables. And how many burger flippers end up with less money than they started with as a result of flipping burgers?
Consider the cost of a weekend playing poker in Las Vegas:
2 Nights at MGM Grand: $450
Shuttle to the MGM: $9
Fri. Nite Dinner and Drinks: $50
Two breakfasts: $22
Monorail Passes: $26
2 Hookers: $370
Saturday dinner and Drinks for 2: $50
Various Other Food/Snack/Drinks: $50
Long-Term Parking at airport: $24
How many minimum wage earners can afford that?
Along with the bad pay and high cost, poker players face terrible job conditions. For starters, they have to sit in a poker room all day and "do business" with other players. Little or no family life, back problems, bad diet, hemorrhoids and the stink of smoke are some of the side benefits of sitting for 10 hour stretches at a poker table. Playing in home-games you also risk arrest and, more worrisome, violence.
Professional poker player s have a 1-in-2 chance of divorce and a 1-in-30 chance of fatal heart attack! Compare these odds to being a timber cutter, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the most dangerous job in the United States. Over four years' time, a timber cutter would stand only a 1-in-200 chance of being killed. Or compare the poker player s odds to those of a death row inmate in Texas, which executes more prisoners than any other state. In 2003, Texas put to death twenty-four inmates-or just 5 percent of the nearly 500 inmates on its death row during that time. Which means that you stand a greater chance of dying while playing in this year's World Series of Poker than you do while sitting on death row in Texas. So if professional poker playing is the most dangerous job in America, and if the salary is near minimum wage, why on earth would anyone take such a job?