Played online poker for two years... include in my APP?

plsfoldthx

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OK. I really don't know how I want to include this in my application, if at all. During college, I played online pokers about 4 tables (100NL) at a time and it was an amazing learning experience for me. I read lots of books, recorded all my earnings on a poker tracking program, and I really invested lots of time into it (at the expense of my grades). I learned about expected value, leverage, how to opponents on a range of hands, risk and reward, self-control, amongst other things. I was a winning player and although I didn't play big stakes, I played lots of hands spread over multiple tables and made enough money to pay for rent and supplement my living expenses.

Personally, I think it ties into my desire to become a doctor because what drew me to the game was the ability for me to learn something and apply it to something and see results. Having been in school all the time up to that point, I became jaded at gaining all that knowledge and not really having the avenue to apply it. I like to solve problems and apply theoretical knowledge to real life situations... and seeing that theoretical knowledge pay off provides me with a large sense of gratification. I want to go to med school because I will finally in my life learn things I can apply in real life problem solving situations. I stopped playing because I came to realize that although I would do it for the rest of my life if I could, I'd rather not have a game be a source of my living and having to be tied to the politics and volatile legality of online gambling.

But I digress. I think people's reactions to me playing poker will be a negative one. I always hear "But, how much did you lose" and to be frank, it is gambling and it is a game. Should I even bother putting it on my app? If so, how should I list it?

Thanks.
 

ejay286

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Are you trying to.......dazzle the admissions committee?
 

plsfoldthx

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@zona: Technically, online poker is NOT illegal. What IS illegal is sending money from US bank accounts into poker sites as it may be used by evil-doers to launder money.

@ejay: I'm not trying to dazzle them per say, but let them know what I was doing during that time where my grades took a huge dip. I also became very sick at that point with enlarged lymph nodes and the doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. Poker was an outlet for me. But I don't feel that it was intellectually meaningless. It was a great learning experience for me.
 

Zona Pellucida

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@zona: Technically, online poker is NOT illegal. What IS illegal is sending money from US bank accounts into poker sites as it may be used by evil-doers to launder money.
I'm sure, since you are very active in it, you know the laws much better than I do about this subject.

But, do you really want to take a chance with something like this when adcoms may not know which parts of online gambling are legal and which are illegal?
 

Old Grunt

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OK. I really don't know how I want to include this in my application, if at all. During college, I played online pokers about 4 tables (100NL) at a time and it was an amazing learning experience for me. I read lots of books, recorded all my earnings on a poker tracking program, and I really invested lots of time into it (at the expense of my grades). I learned about expected value, leverage, how to opponents on a range of hands, risk and reward, self-control, amongst other things. I was a winning player and although I didn't play big stakes, I played lots of hands spread over multiple tables and made enough money to pay for rent and supplement my living expenses.

Personally, I think it ties into my desire to become a doctor because what drew me to the game was the ability for me to learn something and apply it to something and see results. Having been in school all the time up to that point, I became jaded at gaining all that knowledge and not really having the avenue to apply it. I like to solve problems and apply theoretical knowledge to real life situations... and seeing that theoretical knowledge pay off provides me with a large sense of gratification. I want to go to med school because I will finally in my life learn things I can apply in real life problem solving situations. I stopped playing because I came to realize that although I would do it for the rest of my life if I could, I'd rather not have a game be a source of my living and having to be tied to the politics and volatile legality of online gambling.

But I digress. I think people's reactions to me playing poker will be a negative one. I always hear "But, how much did you lose" and to be frank, it is gambling and it is a game. Should I even bother putting it on my app? If so, how should I list it?

Thanks.
I wouldn't.

If you get into Med School, use your skills to take your classmates money.
 

MeatTornado

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including it would probably be idiotic....

you can use that to answer a "what do you do for fun" or "what are your hobbies" question at an interview (when you can gage how it will be received before saying it) but definitely don't put something like that in your application
 

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OK. I really don't know how I want to include this in my application, if at all. During college, I played online pokers about 4 tables (100NL) at a time and it was an amazing learning experience for me. I read lots of books, recorded all my earnings on a poker tracking program, and I really invested lots of time into it (at the expense of my grades). I learned about expected value, leverage, how to opponents on a range of hands, risk and reward, self-control, amongst other things. I was a winning player and although I didn't play big stakes, I played lots of hands spread over multiple tables and made enough money to pay for rent and supplement my living expenses.

Personally, I think it ties into my desire to become a doctor because what drew me to the game was the ability for me to learn something and apply it to something and see results. Having been in school all the time up to that point, I became jaded at gaining all that knowledge and not really having the avenue to apply it. I like to solve problems and apply theoretical knowledge to real life situations... and seeing that theoretical knowledge pay off provides me with a large sense of gratification. I want to go to med school because I will finally in my life learn things I can apply in real life problem solving situations. I stopped playing because I came to realize that although I would do it for the rest of my life if I could, I'd rather not have a game be a source of my living and having to be tied to the politics and volatile legality of online gambling.

But I digress. I think people's reactions to me playing poker will be a negative one. I always hear "But, how much did you lose" and to be frank, it is gambling and it is a game. Should I even bother putting it on my app? If so, how should I list it?

Thanks.
If the EV of a winning player is typically around 1BB/hour, aren't you making like $4/hour? That's worse than minimum wage - how do you pay for rent and other expenses?

I get the feeling you're going to get more negative responses than positive ones from adcoms because despite its skill component, has such high variance that it gives people the illusion that it's all about luck, and because most would associate it with gambling.
 

plsfoldthx

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If the EV of a winning player is typically around 1BB/hour, aren't you making like $4/hour? That's worse than minimum wage - how do you pay for rent and other expenses?

I get the feeling you're going to get more negative responses than positive ones from adcoms because despite its skill component, has such high variance that it gives people the illusion that it's all about luck, and because most would associate it with gambling.
My EV varied between 10bb/100 to 15bb/100. Over almost 100 thousand hands it settled around 10bb/100. 6-handed NL on full tilt and stars.
 

plsfoldthx

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including it would probably be idiotic....

you can use that to answer a "what do you do for fun" or "what are your hobbies" question at an interview (when you can gage how it will be received before saying it) but definitely don't put something like that in your application
Even if it was an actual source of income? This saddens me.

An associate of HMS did a study on problem gambling and rational behavior at the online poker tables and found that there is a large correlation with skill.

“In this research we provide additional evidence in support of our previous research showing that most subscribers who gamble on the Internet do so moderately. In fact, correlation analyses indicated that as Percent Lost increased, Duration, Total Gambling Sessions, and Total Amount Wagered all decreased, suggesting that individuals moderated their behavior based on their wins and their losses – exhibiting “rational” betting behavior.” says Howard Shaffer, PH.D., Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School, Director, Division on Addictions, The Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School

LaPlante, D. A., Kleschinsky, J. H., LaBrie, R. A., Nelson, S. E., & Shaffer, H. J. (2009). Sitting at the virtual poker table: A prospective epidemiological study of actual Internet poker gambling behavior. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(3),
It's password protected


Linnet, J., Gebauer, L., Shaffer, H., Mouridsen, K., & Moller, A. (In Press). Experienced poker players differ in estimation bias and decision bias from inexperienced poker players. Journal of Gambling Issues.




LaPlante, D. A., Kleschinsky, J. H., LaBrie, R. A., Nelson, S. E., & Shaffer, H. J. (2009). Sitting at the virtual poker table: A prospective epidemiological study of actual Internet poker gambling behavior. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(3), 711-717. (Password Protected)
 

Old Grunt

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Even if it was an actual source of income? This saddens me....
You asked for opinions and you got them. That doesn't mean you have to convince us. You have to convince adcoms.

I don't think it's that drastic, but the topic of gambling is kind of like the topic of religion or politics.

It all depends the opinion of the person on the other end.
 
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Even if it was an actual source of income? This saddens me.

An associate of HMS did a study on problem gambling and rational behavior at the online poker tables and found that there is a large correlation with skill.

"In this research we provide additional evidence in support of our previous research showing that most subscribers who gamble on the Internet do so moderately. In fact, correlation analyses indicated that as Percent Lost increased, Duration, Total Gambling Sessions, and Total Amount Wagered all decreased, suggesting that individuals moderated their behavior based on their wins and their losses – exhibiting "rational" betting behavior." says Howard Shaffer, PH.D., Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School, Director, Division on Addictions, The Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School

LaPlante, D. A., Kleschinsky, J. H., LaBrie, R. A., Nelson, S. E., & Shaffer, H. J. (2009). Sitting at the virtual poker table: A prospective epidemiological study of actual Internet poker gambling behavior. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(3),
It's password protected


Linnet, J., Gebauer, L., Shaffer, H., Mouridsen, K., & Moller, A. (In Press). Experienced poker players differ in estimation bias and decision bias from inexperienced poker players. Journal of Gambling Issues.




LaPlante, D. A., Kleschinsky, J. H., LaBrie, R. A., Nelson, S. E., & Shaffer, H. J. (2009). Sitting at the virtual poker table: A prospective epidemiological study of actual Internet poker gambling behavior. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(3), 711-717. (Password Protected)

Another thing you might want to consider, your app will be read by many adcom members. I believe that most of the time, you'll need the support of the majority of the adcoms to get an acceptance. To keep it short: >1 adcom need to like that you played online poker for an extended period of time. Whether or not you think this will happen is for you to decide.
 
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Free word association: gambling/gaming---> addiction---> bad.

Unless you're Annie Duke, I would not freely offer an interviewer in any situation the opportunity to entertain this thought.
 

libraryismyhome

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perhaps you should add. ADCOMS would think that you are unique.
 

UC pre med

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Its too risky to put in the application I think. While I don't doubt that you were responsible and gained alot from it, i also think that the adcoms will not give you a chance to explain it and assume what they want since gambling has such a negative connotation.
 

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I've been masturbating since I was 10 years old. Should I put that on my app?

What about watching porn?
 

organdonor

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I would have to agree with most other posters and advise you not to include it.

Although I am sure you know the laws better than I do since you are involved with it, I thought it was illegal. I would also think that most adcom's would think it was illegal.
 

surftheiop

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OK. I really don't know how I want to include this in my application, if at all. During college, I played online pokers about 4 tables (100NL) at a time and it was an amazing learning experience for me. I read lots of books, recorded all my earnings on a poker tracking program, and I really invested lots of time into it (at the expense of my grades). I learned about expected value, leverage, how to opponents on a range of hands, risk and reward, self-control, amongst other things. I was a winning player and although I didn't play big stakes, I played lots of hands spread over multiple tables and made enough money to pay for rent and supplement my living expenses.

Personally, I think it ties into my desire to become a doctor because what drew me to the game was the ability for me to learn something and apply it to something and see results. Having been in school all the time up to that point, I became jaded at gaining all that knowledge and not really having the avenue to apply it. I like to solve problems and apply theoretical knowledge to real life situations... and seeing that theoretical knowledge pay off provides me with a large sense of gratification. I want to go to med school because I will finally in my life learn things I can apply in real life problem solving situations. I stopped playing because I came to realize that although I would do it for the rest of my life if I could, I'd rather not have a game be a source of my living and having to be tied to the politics and volatile legality of online gambling.

But I digress. I think people's reactions to me playing poker will be a negative one. I always hear "But, how much did you lose" and to be frank, it is gambling and it is a game. Should I even bother putting it on my app? If so, how should I list it?

Thanks.

[ ] Good Content for Personal Statement

[X] Doom switched?
 
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I am extremely versed on this topic. I was a professional poker player for four years and applied to med school this season. It turned out to be a big advantage for me in that poker gave me great life experiences. I was very open about my poker playing past, and it was also a big part of my personal essay. With that being said, I believe you have two things working against you which would make me think omitting your poker playing info would be the best course of action. First, I was able to discuss in detail during my interviews many ways in which poker helped me grow as a person. I do not think you will have enough legitimate experience with two years of strictly online low stakes playing. Second, I was a professional and traveled across the country and to some other parts of North America. These travels allowed me to see much of the world and I believe some adcoms look at this as a plus. Obviously, there is much more than this that goes into a decision, but based on my vast knowledge of the poker world; both online and live, I would strongly suggest that you omit poker as part of your application.

I would like to add one more thing...if you do decide to discuss poker in your application, you must understand that it will be the main focal point of your application. In my instance this was a good thing, however, I would think for most people (including yourself) you would want other aspects of your application to stand out. Hope this helps, I will answer any questions you might have.
 

jturkel

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Are you trying to.......dazzle the admissions committee?
are you referring to a line from the movie "21" ? lol.........

for those of you who havent seen it, a kid is in a harvard medical school interview for a scholarship and explains his dazzling story and uses very similar phrasing/words.
 

BBender716

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are you referring to a line from the movie "21" ? lol.........

for those of you who havent seen it, a kid is in a harvard medical school interview for a scholarship and explains his dazzling story and uses very similar phrasing/words.
Terrible movie. Replace poker with blackjack and its a similar (albeit different outcome) sort of scenario, lol
 
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OK. I really don't know how I want to include this in my application, if at all. During college, I played online pokers about 4 tables (100NL) at a time and it was an amazing learning experience for me. I read lots of books, recorded all my earnings on a poker tracking program, and I really invested lots of time into it (at the expense of my grades). I learned about expected value, leverage, how to opponents on a range of hands, risk and reward, self-control, amongst other things. I was a winning player and although I didn't play big stakes, I played lots of hands spread over multiple tables and made enough money to pay for rent and supplement my living expenses.

Personally, I think it ties into my desire to become a doctor because what drew me to the game was the ability for me to learn something and apply it to something and see results. Having been in school all the time up to that point, I became jaded at gaining all that knowledge and not really having the avenue to apply it. I like to solve problems and apply theoretical knowledge to real life situations... and seeing that theoretical knowledge pay off provides me with a large sense of gratification. I want to go to med school because I will finally in my life learn things I can apply in real life problem solving situations. I stopped playing because I came to realize that although I would do it for the rest of my life if I could, I'd rather not have a game be a source of my living and having to be tied to the politics and volatile legality of online gambling.

But I digress. I think people's reactions to me playing poker will be a negative one. I always hear "But, how much did you lose" and to be frank, it is gambling and it is a game. Should I even bother putting it on my app? If so, how should I list it?

Thanks.
During college, I became a professional masturbator. I read all the books, I watched tapes of myself, etc. etc.

Long story short, I put it on my AMCAS as an EC and every school I interviewed at asked me about this accomplishment. I'm going to the university of washington this fall.
 

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LizzyM

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I really invested lots of time into it (at the expense of my grades). .<snip>

Personally, I think it ties into my desire to become a doctor because what drew me to the game was the ability for me to learn something and apply it to something and see results. <snip>
But I digress. I think people's reactions to me playing poker will be a negative one. I always hear "But, how much did you lose" and to be frank, it is gambling and it is a game. Should I even bother putting it on my app? If so, how should I list it?

Thanks.

If you are going to try to use it to explain substandard grades, don't even bother applying until you get your grades up.

Your description of your reasons for becoming a doctor leave something to be desired, too, and you should think about how you want to frame that decision.
 

Parts Unknown

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OK. I really don't know how I want to include this in my application, if at all.
I guess I'll be Devil's Advocate and say that a deep interest in poker sounds more intriguing than most of the schlock people bring to their apps. Managing risk inside complicated decision trees is a critical skill in all branches of medicine. Perhaps I'm a little biased because I have dabbled in Texas Hold 'Em a bit over the past few years, and I can appreciate some of its qualities (both as a study of probability and human behavior) more than many non-players can.

In my residency application I mentioned that homebrewing is a hobby of mine, and I received more comments on that than anything else. Even my PhD got brushed over to discuss hops. So don't be too afraid to stand out a little.

That said, I think the operative phrase here is "a little." While I wouldn't necessarily shy away from including some mention of your interest in/mastery of poker, I would certainly shy away from the online money making angle. It would be difficult to lay that out there without having it appear seedy.
 
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I guess I'll be Devil's Advocate and say that a deep interest in poker sounds more intriguing than most of the schlock people bring to their apps. Managing risk inside complicated decision trees is a critical skill in all branches of medicine. Perhaps I'm a little biased because I have dabbled in Texas Hold 'Em a bit over the past few years, and I can appreciate some of its qualities (both as a study of probability and human behavior) more than many non-players can.

In my residency application I mentioned that homebrewing is a hobby of mine, and I received more comments on that than anything else. Even my PhD got brushed over to discuss hops. So don't be too afraid to stand out a little.

That said, I think the operative phrase here is "a little." While I wouldn't necessarily shy away from including some mention of your interest in/mastery of poker, I would certainly shy away from the online money making angle. It would be difficult to lay that out there without having it appear seedy.
what he said
 

phospho

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I guess I'll be Devil's Advocate and say that a deep interest in poker sounds more intriguing than most of the schlock people bring to their apps. Managing risk inside complicated decision trees is a critical skill in all branches of medicine. Perhaps I'm a little biased because I have dabbled in Texas Hold 'Em a bit over the past few years, and I can appreciate some of its qualities (both as a study of probability and human behavior) more than many non-players can.

In my residency application I mentioned that homebrewing is a hobby of mine, and I received more comments on that than anything else. Even my PhD got brushed over to discuss hops. So don't be too afraid to stand out a little.

That said, I think the operative phrase here is "a little." While I wouldn't necessarily shy away from including some mention of your interest in/mastery of poker, I would certainly shy away from the online money making angle. It would be difficult to lay that out there without having it appear seedy.
I certainly agree. It's actually quite pathetic what some premeds these days have as outside activities. I know the few people who brought up "professional masturbation" on this thread were kidding, but I'd bet they weren't too far from the truth - it's sad actually. Who the f says crap like that on a professional forum anyways? That alone should tell you the quality of some premeds out there.

I have a few friends who have participated in poker professionally. The skills needed to be able to actually make money in poker beat the skills needed to make it to medical school by a million miles. It's a shame that very few people know that.

I would love to tell the OP to mention it on their app, because if I were an adcom, I would certainly appreciate the aptitude and skills needed to do something like that. However, the fact does remain that it wouldn't be such a good idea, simply because medical school committees (and the medical profession in general) are very conservative people. Unfortunately, professional poker isn't exactly looked kindly upon (yet).
 

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I wouldnt mind, but if you only have poker to talk about on your PS, or poker is the focus of your PS, then you haveta go fix your lymph nodes and go out and do something with real people.
 

cpants

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Really bad idea to put this on your app, even under hobbies. As a player, including a lot of online play, I realize how difficult it is to make money playing poker. That said, and regardless of the spin you put on it above, online poker does not teach you any skills relevant to the field of medicine. Admission committees are not going to look on this as valuable work or learning experience. At best they will see it as a hobby, at worst as a questionably legal activity (which it is). The poster who was a professional had a much different scenario. Making money traveling to tournaments which are completely legal and held in legitimate casinos is way more impressive and makes sense to include.
 

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OP, this is not a real smart idea. I have also played online for a long time. I have played up to 400nl, typically 12 tabling. While poker does teach you important things, such as not being results oriented, discipline, and etc, it is not a good thing to put on applications. From your tone, it almost seems like you were trying to brag on here that you could make a living from online poker, but to be honest, it would be a pretty mediocre career. If you want to post your sn's on sites maybe your PTR will say otherwise.

I'm also a coach on a training site and part owner of a rakeback-affiliate site, but I still think it is not a good thing to put on apps. Most people will always view gambling as morally wrong and it is better to be safe rather than sorry. Also another thing is, you (as well as I) spent countless hours behind a computer monitor(s) to benefit yourself financially. Surely this time could have been better spent on other ECs.


***Edit***
Here is your FTP PTR graph:




Based on what I see here as well as how you ask for advice on the most standard hands on 2+2, I suggest you stay in school. Yeah you haven't played a lot of hands on FTP or AP, but please post your Stars sn [:
 
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Dianyla

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Law school? Sure.

Med school? No. Just No.
 

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As an adcom I would be asking how long before you get bored with medical school and start playing online poker again and letting your grades slip? As a premed student, you should have been getting the best grades possible and getting clinical experience. It sounds to me like you neglected this to play online poker. Do you really want to be a doctor?
 

plsfoldthx

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OP, this is not a real smart idea. I have also played online for a long time. I have played up to 400nl, typically 12 tabling. While poker does teach you important things, such as not being results oriented, discipline, and etc, it is not a good thing to put on applications. From your tone, it almost seems like you were trying to brag on here that you could make a living from online poker, but to be honest, it would be a pretty mediocre career. If you want to post your sn's on sites maybe your PTR will say otherwise.

I'm also a coach on a training site and part owner of a rakeback-affiliate site, but I still think it is not a good thing to put on apps. Most people will always view gambling as morally wrong and it is better to be safe rather than sorry. Also another thing is, you (as well as I) spent countless hours behind a computer monitor(s) to benefit yourself financially. Surely this time could have been better spent on other ECs.


***Edit***
Here is your FTP PTR graph:




Based on what I see here as well as how you ask for advice on the most standard hands on 2+2, I suggest you stay in school. Yeah you haven't played a lot of hands on FTP or AP, but please post your Stars sn [:
I don't know when this site started recording hands but this graph is inaccurate. It also shows only 5k hands.... on my pokerstars data it only has 1k recorded. I have plaeyd FAR more than that. Also, 5k hands is a lot of room for variance. Keep in mind also that I havent played in a while.. i also duno why it shows me having played 100NL in October of last year... I did not play then. the graph below is directly from holdemmanager and is just a fraction of my total hands when I started recording... it has 63K+ hands and this is only from stars. If you must know my stars, it's chachaAK ... and it only has 1k hands recorded on that site.

I will admit one thing though... I have not really been able to beat 200NL... I think the biggest jump in online poker in terms of skill is 100NL -> 200NL


 
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onb2014

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Maybe useful if applying to bank / hedge fund, will not be useful for medical school.
 

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What the hell is up with these graphs? If you really need an excuse to wave away your bad grades just say you were young and foolish but have now learned from your mistakes. No need to go into detail
 

michaelrack

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a WSOP bracelet would be impressive to list on your application, otherwise leave poker off.

Seriously, I play 1,3 NL once a week at the Ameristar casino in Vicksburg MS, and if I saw on-line poker on an application I would not be inclined to admit that person. Even among us poker-playing doctors, there is a stigma against on-line poker.
 

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I like to think of it this way.

Would you put basketball everyday with friends on app? prolly not
would you put college basketball on app? prolly yes.

how about online chess everyday? prolly not
or nationally ranked top 10 chess player? prolly yes

I think with hobby, it's only worth putting if it's very impressive and it's done almost in an obligatory style.

Which makes me wonder. Would somebody here put themselves as a professional starcraft player if they were sponsored and made 40k a year and used that money to pay tuition?
 

plsfoldthx

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2009
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Medical Student
Appreciate the responses guys. I won't include it in my application unless I win a WSOP bracelet. Just to let you know it's been a while since I played poker heavily and my grades have improved dramatically since then... poker wasnt the only reason my grades dropped low.... I had a health issue which I thought was very serious at the time (got a biopsy, all sorts of test, etc.) and it just helped me to get my mind off of it.

Just a question for you poker playing docs/med students. Do you find time to play at all? Is it a legitimate source of income for any of you?
 

PingPongPro

7+ Year Member
Jan 28, 2010
590
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It is a very legitimate source of income. I'm not in med school, but I am still very strapped on time. Even if I am not playing a lot I can make a good amount. My hourly rate is 120$/hr with rakeback, so even if I can play only 4 hours a week, that is still an expected monthly earnings of about 2000$.

However, if you are just breaking even at 25nl, there is probably no point in continuing playing poker =x.