More than once I’m sure someone has told you that you should choose a career in something you love. Decide what you want to do, attend a college or university in that subject and spend a lot of years perfecting it. Then, hopefully, you get a career you enjoy. What if what you enjoy is playing poker? What if you want to make a day job out of it? Many people would consider this both a risky and crazy option, beyond the realm of reality – a dream. But making a career in poker is not as crazy as people would lead you to believe. In fact, thousands of people have left their day jobs to pursue a career in poker and many professional poker players – GOOD poker players – could make around $500 plus a month. Take famed poker legend Tommy Angelo, for instance!
Born in 1958, he first played poker with his brothers at the tender age of five before playing for actual money at 14, but it wasn’t until the age of 17 that he first heard the title “Professional Poker Player” and he realised this was something he could make some serious cash out of. It took a further 13 years for his dreams to come true, but not before making a career playing piano and drums in rock and country bands. In 1990, though, he quit this gig and turned back to his first love, and that’s when Tommy Angelo turned into a pro poker player.
Anglo because a pro because he was “so insanely addicted to poker that there was literally nothing else” he wanted to do, in his own words. Then, he says, “because of obsession and necessity, I learned how to win.” Playing predominantly home games of poker for the first few years of his career, he learned he needed to play tight and play “tilt” – a poker art he perfected. He would assess, dissect and analyse his game and before long he had assessed, dissected and analysed his way to a Poker Master level. He lived, breathed and ate poker so avidly that he catapulted himself to poker stardom, playing in mostly cash games over tournaments.
It wasn’t long before the likes of Bluff, Poker Digest and PokerPages realised his poker genius and enlisted him to write articles and he became a columnist for five years. This is what led him to pen his first poker-based book entitled ‘Elements of Poker’, released in 2007. He wasn’t simply sitting back and writing his book all this time, however. That took merely a year. He also coached other hardcore poker fans to reach the best of their ability and became renowned for his Tiltless Coaching program, which offered a unique and ground-breaking new approach using meditation and spending time alone with his clients, smoothing out psychological issues, honing their mental attitudes and leading the likes of Phil Galfond and Jay Rosenkrantz to greatness whilst establishing himself as a poker “deep thinker”.
Not only did he carve out a name for himself playing poker professionally, this career choice also created avenues in which he could express himself creatively and teach other’s everything they need to know to be able to achieve poker greatness the likes of his own. Keeping his feet firmly in the door of the poker community with the release of his series “The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment” for poker training site DeucesCracked in 2010, Tommy Angelo could never leave the world of pro poker, even if he wanted to! He has had a taste of being penniless-broke as well as riding high with money being thrown at him from his articles, coaching and book sales and though he claims he rarely plays poker himself these days, this self-confessed poker addict is sure to be a pillar in the poker community for a long time coming.