I just finished up my taxes (or more accurately my friend Eric at NinjaTax finished them up for a very reasonable fee), and since I made like no money in 2010, and therefore wasn't really required to make any estimated payments in 2011, I ended up owing a rather large sum. But I knew that was coming so it's fine really. I also had to go through my session results to figure out every time I drove from one casino to another (as a professional poker player you can deduct mileage spent driving from one casino to another, but not any drive that starts or ends at your house), which was a real pain in the ass. I'm glad I did it though, because I'd kind of forgotten that I stopped in at Hawaiian Gardens quite a few times and that ended up helping a fair bit. But in total it was less than 1000 miles so many might ask why bother and those many wouldn't be completely wrong.
I've had several discussions with poker players about taxes, and I get the sense that the vast majority are not very honest regarding how much they win. And I can only imagine that this trend is going to get worse, not better, in the wake of Black Friday and the federal government and full tilt basically stealing lord knows how much money ($400M is the number I always hear bandied about that is owed to players still). I mean, imagine you had like $10K sitting in Full Tilt and it had just completely vanished....would that make you more or less likely to take some liberties on your tax return? I'm not saying it's a good idea, but...I understand. I've always been completely honest, which to be completely honest makes me feel like a bit of a sucker. Like, none of these people are going to get caught. It's just not going to happen. And to be clear I'm not saying everyone cheats; I know at least three poker players who have always been 100% up and up with everything they have won (other than me), and I do commend them for paying their fair share.
I suppose today marks the beginning of the second quarter, and that lead me to just spend a few minutes with my sheet and figure out just how bad things have been going for the first 25% of the year. It's pretty hilarious, actually. I've played 472 hours (above the pace of 150/month I set for myself) and am basically break even. Now a huge percentage of the hours I've played have generated income in the form of either paychecks or the bike promo money, so counting that things are going of ok. But that money is supposed to be a supplement, not the lion's share of my earnings. I do think I've been running particularly badly, but I've also noticed that I have been spending more and more time in mediocre or even not good games. The biggest reason I was able to justify quitting the prop job was that I thought doing so would allow me to sit in higher quality games, but I sort of forgot that at the bike that's not always true. Like, I get to sit MORE often as a customer, but sometimes I am stuck in a main game that is no where near as good as the must move. As a prop, I'd have gotten to log an hour or sometimes more in that game, and it's frustrating whenever I see situations like that as they're occurring. But on the whole I've definitely been able to log more high quality hours now that I'm a happy go lucky free agent, not only by holding seats that I used to have to give up, but also also by managing my energy reserves and tilt control abilities longer and (at least so far) being able to man up for longer sessions when conditions are favorable. So that's good...but I still need to do better because you can't just play 500 hours and win zero dollars when you're not a prop...or at least you can't do it twice in a row.
Staking, on the other hand, has been a massive success. So I have that going for me, which is nice. Tomorrow it's back to the grind, after a day of relaxing and todo list trimming. I actually "weeded" today for the first time since I was probably like 13 or something, and it sucked just as much as I remembered. And for some reason I'm about to watch a women's college basketball game, but you know, it could actually be kind of fun.