In this article I´d like to talk about some aspects where many poker players can save a significant amount of money without great effort. The “without great effort” part is very important and also the “significant”. I´m not going to give you tips on how to save $0.75 when shopping or how to use the latest offer at Walmart to get a 1% discount. I respect your time (and my own 8) ) too much to throw out coupon tips.
Setting up a system that is flexible
By not having an organized and easy financial system, many people lose a lot of money. They don’t recognize it. They lose it in many ways. I assume the “outside of the table stuff” can up the poker winrate of the average midstakes grinder around 1BB. This is a random estimate, but I´ll hopefully be able to show you soon, how much time and money you can save by having some things planned, instead of thinking only short term. Oh, and needless to say, I am not even talking about changing things in your life or anything in that direction. This article is basically about doing things in a smart(er) and more efficient way for doing things that you have to do ANYWAYS. And in the end, the result should be more freedom, not less. Flexibility is key.
Finances and money circulation:
One of my poker friends that I´ve shared an apartment in Italy with, is a great example for many things, but a negative one, when it comes to cash flow.
Every month he had trouble paying his part of the rent. He was winning decently and wasn´t short of funds at all! It was a foreign country and sending money internationally is not an easy thing to do. But if things are well planned and taken care of ahead of time, there should be no problem whatsoever. He´s also the type of guy, who knows 3 months ahead that he´s flying to Barcelona. But you can be sure that 4 days before the trip starts is the first time he´s thinking about buying tickets. And one day before he has to leave, I hear a voice from his room shouting, “Nathanael, my credit card doesn’t work, can you come over?”
Leaks that cost money
He had some serious leaks and those poker leaks cost him more than calling a 3bet out of position with A8o against a huge nit, who hasn’t played a hand in 2 hours . He´s trustworthy, financially very healthy, so it’s not a big deal to lend money to him, although I personally don´t like the hassle of moving money back and forth. Anyways, he ends up paying double price, on my credit card. He´s lucky to be doing so well at poker, to afford laziness to a certain degree. Not everybody can. But I believe nobody should. (Funnily enough, he´s got one of the best work ethics I´ve seen in poker players. It’s not like he´s lazy by nature.)
It’s not about planning ahead in detail
I do appreciate the value of being flexible and not having to book 1 year ahead of time. Often I do not know 2 weeks ahead, at which place I´ll live for the next few months. What I am addressing is the complete nonsense and unnecessary waste of money and not the awesome feeling of being able to do whatever, whenever I want, without having to worry about the financial part.
Lessons to be learnt:
—-> Have at least 2 credit cards (I prefer debit, and only spend what you have!!! Don´t be a greedy fck and buy things you can’t afford). This will enable you to withdraw enough money anywhere anytime, even if one is not working.
The moneybookers credit/debit card is pretty cool. As a VIP you have a lot of freedom. My review about moneybookers will follow soon.
—-> Have some cash around. This way you stay flexible in case a place doesn´t accept c-card (very common outside the USA).
—-> Plan ahead of time. If you live abroad and have an apartment there, bring along cash for 2 months as a cushion. The effort is the same as getting money for one week.
All of us are guilty of doing it. Yes, you too! Guilty of what? Guilty of using thought processes of poker to interpret things around you. Interpreting things in life other than poker through the eyes of a poker player. Now this does not have to be something negative and the word guilt is rather used in an entertaining way.
When was the last time you bought something and thought “that’s only x buyins”. Or when paying cash at the counter, have you ever treated your coins like they were pokerchips?
(The classics of those are summed up in various 2+2 threads, thinking like a poker player. If you haven´t read any, it’s a must read. If you´ve already gone through it, there´s a very high chance you´re completely sick of poker – life comparisons. I am, too !).
Now what you are really doing is raising your awareness. An awareness for things that you probably haven´t had before. Sadly though, most poker players get stuck on the humorous level. While talking about robbery, they make jokes about being under the gun. When talking about women, they say “women are the rake in life, they are the fucking rake”.
All I want to do is raise your awareness, so you have the chance to choose. One mindset I like to have is “doing it for the right reason”. If you like booking flights one day before you leave, do it because you love flexibility to change plans last minute. And that this flexibility is worth the cost of an extra flight. I´ve done it and I hope you see the difference between nonsense waste and conscious decision making.
Booking flight insurance is usually -EV, but it can be greatly +EV if you have the option to change flights. That can cost you an extra few bucks, but you´ll be able to purchase the flight for a cheap price. Let’s say you like to make a roundtrip to Buenos Aires, but all you know is that it should be around middle March. All you have to do is book with the right kind of insurance a flight for March 15. You don´t have to wait until you know the exact date. Instead of paying double price, you pay normal price + few bucks “insurance”. I like to think that you have bought flexibility for a pretty cheap price.
Next time you book a hotel through your local travel agent instead of hotel.com, you don´t do it because you´re a lazy fuck, but because you DECIDED that the value of professional help is worth paying for (or vice versa).
Next time you play an EPT/LAPT etc Event: Don´t buy a pokerstars package because you´re too lazy to book it yourself. You´re losing TONS of money. Not only on completely overpriced hotels (they have charged players 150% of normal hotel rate; this happened in Budapest 01/09), but also you have to wear their logo. Fact remains, doing it yourself is cheaper. Letting a personal assistant do it for you is still cheaper! If the service, that pokerstars offers, is valuable enough, go ahead. I´m not critisizing you for it. But do it for the right reasons!
Be aggressive and active, not pushed and passive.
I´ll leave it for now. There are many other points and I´m sure everybody can dig a bit and find some parts where they have been wasteful for no reason.
WARNING: Don´t become a nit. Nobody can stand nits. Even nits themselves can´t stand other nits. This chapter is about being smart and saving money in order to being able to be generous at oher places and times, where you really should be (family, friends etc)..