Hobby or Business: A Millionaire’s Take on Online Poker

Money talk always takes an entertainingly serious avatar when the poker industry, as one may call it, is referred to. Poker underwent a serious boom in the mid 1990s with the rise of the online poker room, and despite North American players now being banned from most online poker-playing sites, there are still plenty of real-world opportunities for those who know their full houses from their royal flushes. Here is the story of the man whose poker earnings have left us in the finance world baffled. And whose understanding of the game and its promises is of utmost importance to us now!

Ticking Finances: The Hellmuth Saga!

Right from his successful run at the WSOP in 1989, he has gone on to win an amazing 13 WSOP bracelets, and holds the records for the most final tables reached (49), plus, in October 2013 he become the first-ever player to finish “in the money” at a WSOP event for the one hundredth time. Naturally, all this poker success has helped swell Hellmuth‘s bank balance just a little. By the start of 2014, Hellmuth had amassed a staggering sum of tournament winnings – just $11,000 shy of $18 million. Not bad for “just” playing cards, although Hellmuth now has stakes in publishing, clothing, real estate and casino games companies as well. He is also an amazing philanthropist, having helped raise over $20 million through charity poker events.

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Follow in Phil’s Footsteps?

If you go to your local bookstore and pick up a “How to Win at Hold’em” paperback, you’re likely to be dazzled by the Einstein-level mathematics that seem necessary to be performed every time a card is dealt – something that puts off many “common” players. Phil certainly bucks that trend and is happy to admit it. “Absolutely!” he said in an interview with ESPN, “We have hill-billies with third grade educations and eighth grade educations who have conquered the poker world. There is no telling why someone is great at reading other people. Some people just are …”

When it comes to the online version of the game, Phil is a keen advocate, especially how it gives the “common man” a place in which to grow as a poker earner.

“It is much easier to become a pro now,” he said in the same interview with ESPN. “You no longer have to depend on your home-town games which might only run 2 or 3 or 4 times a week. Now you can go to ultimatebet.com and play for any amount, anytime. And play tournaments 10 times a day, if you like! I play a little at ultimatebet.com in a typical day. I play my cell phone game for a bit each day also. The business of poker is booming!”

Yes, you have it! Online poker is the next big thing in making money through a game that tests your luck, and challenges your mathematics. As a hobby, you are more to be called in by the tax man, for your earnings alone. However, if you start out on serious business, poker losses are covered under tax laws, and that is where you save loads. Talking of tax returns, Phil has kept his earnings entirely transparent to the law. Therefore, the IRS has been enjoying cool tax returns from the $18 million winnings of the “brat”. Not to forget, he is a great philanthropist at heart, who has given away eleven of the thirteen WSOP bracelets he has won. That is definitely a lesson for all those who win at Texas Hold’em events and walk away unrelenting to their social responsibilities.

Steady Beliefs Lead To Dream Lives!

Every financial expert understands that stability and discipline is at the core of success. Phil’s dedication towards family, his hard work in learning up the game, and his persistence towards philanthropy and transparent investments, is what inspire every man to be called a “Poker Brat”, just the way he is!

Author bio:  Andrew Stratton is an avid gamer and a financial expert, who also loves writing. He played in poker tournaments around the world and is most attracted to online poker these days. While he almost made a living off it, he has also ghost written a number of articles that have been featured in reputed journals.