By Vincent Olmos
Salutations poker fans, donks, crushers, noobs, and abiding degens! Over the last five years as a prop in Northern California, I’ve received many interesting questions. In this article, I intend to answer the most probing questions I’ve received. Hope you enjoy!
Q: Hey Vincent, do you make money? Is this a real job?
A: This is the largest piece of the pie graph when it comes to the most common inquiries. Yes, as a poker prop I worked 40 hours or more, five days a week. I took very few days off and rarely called in sick. I came to work on time, according to my schedule and behaved in a professional manner. If this sounds like a job, it’s because it is. I would be paid hourly and keep the game going, many times playing short-handed limit poker for hours.
Yeah, but do you make money? If so, how much?
Poker propping is a full-time job. I have bills to pay and a family to support. If I wasn’t making money I would have quit a long time ago. In reference to how much I make/how much I’m up for the day/what’s my bankroll, it’s always the same response: I do okay.
Doesn’t it suck days when you lose?
Do you want to hear my bad beat story?
On the clock Vincent: Sure. I’d love for you to tell me a hand where you likely made a mistake, so that I can exploit that later!
Off the clock Vicente: You’ll have to fill me in another time, for I am needed at the bar.
How do you deal with the bad beats?
Think of the hand as a small blip of the thousands of hands you will play this year. As long as the actions taken were profitable long term, I have no problem with getting hit by the two outer. If I made a mistake, there is always something to learn.
What about tilt?
Tilt can definitely occur and it’s something you should be constantly mindful of. Early in my career, repeatedly losing 30+ big blind pots to 10 outs or less was extremely frustrating. Later it became the myriad of tactless acts people make on the table. Whatever the source of tilt is, I recommend you identify what irks you and take yourself out of that mindset ASAP. I suggest taking a round off, putting on your headphones (a must-bring item), or calling a buddy on the phone. The more hours you play with a calm mindset, the better.
What can I do to improve?
Read, study, and get a poker buddy that is better than you. Treat poker like a job, decide how many hours you will devote to improving and how many hours you will play. Stick to that and keep track of your results.
What’s your favorite hand you’ve ever played?
I remember it fondly. I was in a $2/5 no-limit Hold’em game in my home casino in Lodi. Stacks were about $2K effective in an eight-handed game. I opened for $20 in the hijack holding the duke of stars and the dame of apples. Everybody folded, and I took it down. I love all hands that involve everyone folding to me. In cases like this, my holdings do not even matter.
What’s the best part about being a prop?
Supporting yourself by playing a game is a dream. However, meeting new people every day and sharing your love for the game is hands down the best part of being a poker prop. That has been my favorite part and has given me endless takeaways to use in life.