His (slightly over a) year poker odyssey is up. His book publishing advance is exhausted. ESPN.com’s poker Odysseus, Jackpot Jay, is done.
Jackpot Jay’s journey can best be described as "uneven." His play and writing started off strong. When his play faltered, so did his writing. The two were uniquely intertwined. He picked it up some about three-quarters through, then ended the journey with a thud.
His final column ran today. It’s Jackpot Jay’s 10 Commandments of Poker. For those who read his column every Tuesday, there will be no new light shining from your monitor with this piece. For those who never read his column, you may glean a bit or two of useful information. The best pieces of advice are…
Commandment 1 (A Man’s Got To Know His Limitations) – Know your limits. If you’re serious about making money, stick with the games (limits and styles, be it SNG or cash) that you most succeed in playing. I picked this up from Jay’s columns early on and it helped greatly in lessening the swings in profits/losses I used to face.
Commandment 4 (Bad Beats Shall Set You Free) – Don’t complain about bad beats because: a) no one cares, they’re glad it was you and not them, and b) it means you’re getting your money in the pot with the best hand, which is your goal. Think about it like this, if you were able to see your opponent’s cards before you get all of your money to the center–and you’d still make the same decision after seeing your opponent’s cards–you’ve done the right thing. In the long run, you’ll be significantly more profitable by making the same decisions. Just stick with it.
Also, Commandment 3 (It’s A Tough Way To Make An Easy Living) is very interesting. Jackpot Jay spoke with two online poker site managers who said only 7-8% of their players will end the year in the black. So most of your friends that tell you about all of the money they are winning online are likely not telling you about all of the money they’re losing too. Having heard this before, I suggest doing something that should hopefully keep you (in a worst case scenario) at least even for the year. Every time you reach a certain level of winnings–like $100–cash that $100 out. Be consistent about it. I do the same thing in a casino. Let’s say it’s one of those rare nights that I’m making a killing at the blackjack table (or, more frequently, at roulette). Every time I’m up maybe $50, I set those $50 in chips aside, not to be touched for the rest of the night. This will continue until I’m either: a) too drunk to see straight and have to go to my room, or b) until I’ve lost all of the money I started with for the evening. Do the same with online poker. Take X amount of your winnings out of your initial deposit and deposit that in your bank account. It may limit the amount you can use for larger events, but it will limit your losses and swings too.
Or don’t. Up to you.
While Jackpot Jay was up over $30k for the year at one time, he ultimately ended his trip down $1k. Regardless of your opinion of Jay (his playing and his writing), he still got to live out something just about everyone reading this sentence wishes they could do: play poker for a year on someone else’s dime. And he still gets to make money off this whole adventure by writing a book about it.
So in my book, Jackpot Jay cracked the code, man. Hats off on doing the unthinkable. If he can sell someone on that idea, he should run for president. Or run a pyramid scheme. Either way, Jackpot Jay, if you stumble across this column one day, send me your publisher’s email address, please, cause I’ve got an idea for a great book…