Remaining frugal

Reflections on week 24 of regular poker play at Sands Bethlehem Image: Swarm mobile app
Reflections on week 24 of regular poker play at Sands Bethlehem
Image: Swarm mobile app

Since posting about my continued poker success — particularly following my recent $13,800 poker tournament win — I’ve received varied feedback, mostly from non-poker players, concerning my frugal lifestyle. I explain why I maintain to stay true to my frugal nature.

I keep a modest monthly budget and lack desires to make extravagant purchases or otherwise radically change my spending habits. I’m rather content with my current quality of life and modest budget.

I own a 2013 car with low mileage that is in great working condition. I pay monthly installments on my smartphone which I do not feel compelled to upgrade until the payment plan allows for a no-cost upgrade following the contract agreement. My laptop works quite well. I’m content with the clothes I own. I’m happy living in a nice area of Allentown with the owner of a modest home.

I don’t eat out much. I prefer to save money by cooking at home. I buy food at the casino in which I play, but only use comps — free money only usable for casino purchases — I accumulate through poker play when eating at the casino. I restock groceries on a weekly basis and don’t spend too much on food. I spend some money on entertainment, but have no plans to fly anywhere or spend extended amounts of time on lavish vacations. I typically set aside one day of the week to take a break from poker and occasionally take an additional two to three days off per month to¬†attend special events.

Shoutout from poker instructor Evan 'Gripsed' Jarvis following my tournament win
Shoutout from poker instructor Evan ‘Gripsed’ Jarvis following my tournament win

Additionally, a large portion of my poker winnings/overall wealth is tied up, set aside as a poker bankroll — – the lump sum of money I need to play poker so that I can persevere through and recover from the occasional short-term financial downswings inherent to poker — kept secure at the casino in which I play.

I’m also saving money to account for dental expenses (sadly, the work isn’t cheap even with insurance and is not all covered by insurance) and hefty six-figure student loan debt which will, in months to come, increase my monthly expenses. I’m also¬†hoping to move up from my now standard $1000 initial buyin in the $2/$5 cash games I regularly play to a higher stakes $5/$10 cash game with a higher maximum buyin which will allow for greater hourly earnings.

Just because I make large bets while playing poker does not mean that I am a heavy or reckless spender. Just because I play poker does not mean that I have or want a ‘baller lifestyle.’ Just because I play poker does not mean that I have little concern about my money. Just because I play poker does not mean that I have money to give away. Just because I play poker does not mean that my personality has radically changed.

What better card and treasure protector can there be?
What better card protector can there be?

It typically takes money to make money, at least in poker, and by maintaining a frugal lifestyle I can accumulate money to make even more money. Making wise financial decisions is essential for long-term success in poker.