Many players decide to play professionally for awhile, but eventually decide to rejoin the traditional workforce for one of many reasons.
There’s no shame in this. Perhaps a big unexpected expense came up and put excess financial strain on your family, or you lost passion for the game over time, or maybe the games got worse or became illegal. Whatever the reason, know that while it will be difficult, and you may have limited options, you do have a future after poker.
There are 3 main paths that former professional poker players are typically drawn to.
1. Investment Banking and Trading
Many poker players find their way into the financial industry. There are many similarities between poker, financial transactions, and trading.
All of these professions require a strong analytical ability, being able to dissociate emotions with your decisions, and knowing how to read situations.
These professions are some of the few where a hiring manager won’t dismiss you based on being a poker player. You’ll get a few interviews just because it sounds interesting, but you’ll have your work cut out for yourself to get the job.
2. Go To School
Even if you’re older, going back to school is still an option. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, consider an advanced degree like an MBA.
A new degree will help make you more appealing to a potential employer. The best part is, you’ll have some down time so you can still play some poker and help pay for school.
Getting a degree gives you more options than the limited jobs that are highly related to poker.
Poker players are a rare breed, and share a lot in common with entrepreneurs. It’s tough for many poker players to go back to a standard 9-to-5 job. You get used to the control, the freedom, and the constant challenge as a poker player. All of these benefits can apply to being an entrepreneur.
But there are many types of entrepreneurs out there, so you have a fair amount of flexibility. Most poker players are best suited to bootstrapping their own company, which gives them full control of all the aspects of the company.
Realize that this option isn’t right for everybody. Starting a new company can take months or years of work before you start seeing significant revenue. If you have no backing or savings, your options will be more limited and less feasible.
Should You Put Poker on Your Resume?
For most jobs, it’s better to leave poker off your resume. The average hiring manager thinks poker is gambling, and doesn’t understand the skills that a good player has developed.
If you are able to explain the gap with any other freelance work or education, that is a much better option. If not, you’ll have to hope you get an interview and have a good explanation of the skills that poker has taught you.
This post isn’t meant to be depressing, just realistic. It is hard to get a normal job after having an unconventional job. The longer you’ve been out of the workforce, the harder it will be. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible, just that you have to treat job hunting like poker and embrace the variance.