Poker as an EC?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by xjustbreathex, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. xjustbreathex

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    I have been playing No-Limit Texas Hold'em since my freshman year in college. Since then I have gone semi-professional (a portion of my income comes from winnings) and have dedicated a good amount of time to studying the game and playing. I play in home games, online and live at casinos.

    I have submitted my AMCAS and mentioned nothing of poker. However, I have read several secondaries (from the prompts posted from last year) which ask for other extracurricular activities. I will be listing SCUBA diving and wanted to know if poker would be inappropriate?

    Keep in mind I play both for money and play for free, so I could play up the face that I often play for fun rather than the money.


    Thanks for any advice...
     
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  3. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!

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    Perhaps you can include your sexual escapades and other sinful activities as well?

    Haha, I'm just playin'. My guess would be you should put it in there and present an honest picture of yourself and what you like doing, but it *may* be detrimental (which I doubt) if reviewed by someone who views the gambling aspect in a negative light.
     
  4. harposnarpo

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    I suggest leaving it out. Anyone can interject their own biases too much and there's not too much benefit (from the diverse/unique aspect you've already got SCUBA diving, so you're getting marginally decreasing returns).

    You could bring it up during interviews since you'll be able to sense and respond to the interviewer's biases should they exist.
     
  5. PokerDoc

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    As someone who has probably taken this a step further than you, i strongly advise against this. You and I may understand the dedication, skill, and thought that goes into the game, but i damn sure guarantee you that the people reading your application wont. People who dont play like us dont understand it, view it as gambling (which it absolutely is) and it does not shed you in a positive light.
     
  6. Textuality

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    Bleh...nevermind.
     
    #5 Textuality, Jun 19, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2008
  7. Stick1360

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    Personally, I doesn't hurt being honest just as long as you portray it as non-addictive, plus one of the goals of the med school interview is to be remembered and not just one of the cookie cutter bio majors...and something so uncommon as poker will not let you be forgotten.
     
  8. academician2008

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    I would definitely mention it, but at the end of the list. You want to stand out and poker is smething you do not see in pre-med ECs very often.
    I did put my fashion/modeling experience and even though it could turn some AdCom members away, few even asked me about it on the interviews. Make sure you explain how it could make you a better doc in future.
     
  9. ACSurgeon

    ACSurgeon Acute Care Surgeon
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    Yes. It would be very inappropriate. It could only hurt so leave it out.
     
  10. ACSurgeon

    ACSurgeon Acute Care Surgeon
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    Right... poker will without a doubt make you a better doctor :rolleyes:
     
  11. SirGecko

    SirGecko Go Navy

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    What school do you go to?? I'd say poker is one of the most common EC's for college kids.
     
  12. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!

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    Depending on how you spin it, anything can make you a better doctor.

    "Throughout my previous career as a drug dealer, I learned that no two drug seekers are alike: each situation is different in presentation and scope. Further, the avoidance of malpractice lawsuits is indeed a valid concern and oftentimes shapes the way in which my work was conducted. Although this is unfortunate, the declining reimbursements were much more of a concern. In the end, I realized that these factors should not matter if I truly loved what I was doing. At this realization, and armed with the emboldening experiences from my line of work, I resolved to pursue a career in medicine."
     
  13. PokerDoc

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    you dont really believe that do you virgil
     
  14. Virgil

    Virgil Hi hi!

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    What, that you can spin anything to your benefit?
     
  15. unsung

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    I say list it. It's actually really impressive to play at a high level in anything. It's not like you're going out and gambling all your money away. Poker takes a lot of skill and strategy and that certainly showcases you in a positive light.
     
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  17. PokerDoc

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    that what you just wrote should EVER be in an application
     
  18. xjustbreathex

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    Thanks for all of your replies guys. Unfortunately, there are some very different and opposing opinions about what I should do. :confused:

    PokerDoc: I dont know "how far" you have gone with poker, but I can tell that you understand the dedication and mental stamina it takes to play the game. I disagree however that it is purely gambling... I am not rolling a dice or picking black or red. I am playing mathematical odds while using psychology to read my opponents.

    academician2008: totally agree with adding it at the end of the list. It wouldnt be a major feature of my application and I would most likely list it in terms of tournaments I have won or placed in rather than just "I play at the local casino 2 nights a week..."

    The reason I wanted to add it is because I proud of my ability to harness my skill at reading people, use it to my advantage while controlling what people consider "addictive" (In my opinion, most gambling addicts prefer the rush of winning large amounts from slots and probability games like blackjack rather than sitting around for 8 hours at a time during a cash game)

    I think I might leave it out until my (hopefully) interviews. Then I will be able to explain myself and demonstrate my maturity with the game a bit better.

    Thanks again guys...
     
  19. PokerDoc

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    If youre a poker player who wont admit poker is gambling you have a problem or youre not as experienced as i thought you were.

    With all due respect and I dont mean to belittle you. Poker IS gambling. Yes you can put yourself at a tremendous advantage by knowing odds, reading your opponents and all that, but at the very bottom of it all, it is still gambling.. otherwise the best player would win every time, there would be no such thing as bad beats. I never said it is 'purely' gambling as you put it , but if you do not admit it is still gambling, thats just incorrect. And you shouldnt say anything but that if asked about it at an interview. This is why i strongly suggest leaving this out entirely. I understand your mindset, if you get an interviewer or someone deciding your fate who doesnt: you dont stand a chance.
     
  20. xjustbreathex

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    Of course poker is considered gambling. You are placing money in the middle and playing a game for it. I didnt mean it wasnt. However, in my experience, in meeting the pros I have met, reading the books I have, you ask any real poker player if they are a gambler and they will reply "no, I am a poker player" The word gambling is a very misleading word, and when discussing gambling between two players who understand poker theres no issue. However, when outsiders begin comparing the risk associated with cash games to the risk associated with shooting craps, I take issue with that.

    Its like telling someone who plays the stock market they are gambling; technically they are BUT they will look at you like you are crazy right? The word takes on many different meanings and I dont like using it without clarifying what you are talking about. Thats all I was saying.
     
  21. PokerDoc

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    Ever read one of David Slansky's books? The first sentence in almost all of them is "POKER IS GAMBLING"

    nevertheless, you know how I feel about your original question, we got kind of side tracked here.. just be careful, and good luck in your quest for medical school acceptance.
     
  22. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    Include it. I can remember at least one strong application that we saw in the last year or two (strong enough to be interviewed which put the applicant in the top 20% of all applications to our institution) who was a professional poker player. It helped distinguish the applicant from the crowd but didn't help or hurt in a measurable way.

    Not everything on the application needs to be directly related to the practice of medicine. It is nice to see a well rounded applicant with interests outside of science/medicine. I know of at least one group of academic physicians who get together for poker games as a social outlet.
     
  23. Fibroblastman

    Fibroblastman A stumble prevents a fall

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    Honestly, if I were reviewing someone's application and read that they played poker... I'd most likely cringe and make some comment like "are you serious? Okay, and...?"

    I would be impressed if you won a bracelet from a tournament or something, but if it's just a sit-around with friends on a Friday night with some beers... or anything less than a major tournament win, I'd leave it out as it might be taken either way. I wouldn't risk it -- Just my two cents.
     
  24. pianola

    pianola MS2

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    You seem to talk about it intelligently and maturely; you come across as someone who has studied the game.

    Maybe including it in the secondaries/interview is a better bet for you so that you KNOW you have space to address it in a manner that makes you comfortable; however, I think you're fine mentioning it wherever. I know I'd be interested to hear more.

    Unless you're carrying around wads of debt and you've had humongous losses and/or primarily play in strip clubs....you're probably fine.
     
  25. xjustbreathex

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    Again, thanks so much for the responses. I really needed the advice. I think I am going to include it where applicable in secondaries (under interests or other ECs). Like many people said, in the secondaries I will most likely have a place to really explain it and give the Adcom the impression I want. It will set me apart a little bit and it is a part of me after all...
     
  26. Chuck's Right Foot

    Chuck's Right Foot Class of 2013

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    I was hoping to go to WSOP this year, but I've taken a LONG break from the game. I'm a big fan of O8/b.
     
  27. PokerDoc

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    I went last year.. i didnt cash but its an absolutely awesome experience being there.
     
  28. KnuxNole

    KnuxNole Sweets Addict

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    I play poker a lot, but only for play money. I don't see the point in playing real money, it ruins the fun of the card game.
     
  29. LucidSplash

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    I think you should ask this question over at the forums at 2plus2. There's more than one medical student/doctor there and they would probaly be able to give some good insight into what they did in their application process.

    http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/
     
  30. xjustbreathex

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    I've been in Vegas for the WSOP twice (including this year). I haven't entered into any other tourneys because I am much more a cash game player than tournament. Plus, since Moneymaker, there are way to many amateurs entering with their parents money thinking they can win - and then they outnumber the pros. I am really glad to see the pros are CLEANING UP this year.

    During one trip, I got to watch Phil Ivey push a 50k raise into Barry Greenstein in the Bellagio High Stakes room - and then got a picture with Ivey. I almost died right there.

    What events have you entered?
     
  31. SirGecko

    SirGecko Go Navy

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    Naw, poker without real money on the line is no fun. That isn't to say that small five dollar buy ins (nickel blinds) are not fun (its all I play) but you have to have something on the line or people don't play correctly.
     

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