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Sun, Sep. 28th, 2008, 04:37 am
chumpjuice: Working as a prop player

Im thinking of applying for a job as a prop player at a local casino. Does anyone have any experience with this? Whats the normal pay? How hard is it to play 40 hours a week, 8/hrs a day on a fixed normal schedule? Does it completely kill your enjoyment of the game?
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Sun, Sep. 28th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
botd

Do you still enjoy playing as a prop, or is it just a job to you? If it's become "just a job", do you put in your hours/wk and afterwards move to other sites and limits to play according to your own rules? Do your guidelines for playing as a prop prevent you from moving up (i.e. help start games from 5/10-20/40, no higher/lower), and if so, do you think you profited more from the prop playing than you would have while being able to move up and down as you wished while exercising game selection, or did you take the hit in EV to lower variance?

I'm genuinely curious, I've stuck to nothing but micros for 4 years but seeing other players' opinions on questions like these are really cool to me.

Sun, Sep. 28th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
adb_foldem

I propped for several years. It will definitely make the game less fun for you. The emotional swings can be awful when you're running bad -- and you will run bad, some times for months at a time. You don't say what stakes or what shift (I assume graveyard), but the earlier comment about playing short handed is right on the money. You'll also, of course, require a decent bankroll.

Mon, Sep. 29th, 2008 06:32 am (UTC)
pimpofpoker

Geez Pete,

If I have a single bad night, I spend the next couple days in self reflection pondering the weaknesses of my game. Just how blind to the truth must a prop be to lose for months at a time without realizing he should get a different career?

Sun, Sep. 28th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
pimpofpoker

A good way to evaluate a job is to observe those doing that job. From my experience, props live some of the worst lives in this world. They are almost always unhappy, stressed out, least valued casino employee, and never have or are affraid to spend the money it takes to live a quality life.
If you have any aspirations about having a family, normal friends, or any type of retirement plan, you sure as hell shouldn't become a prop.
Having known props, I can tell you there are some miserable situations you can be put in. For example, rather than let 4 props stand around, an idiot floorman may open up a new table and seat it entirely full of props. You might also want to negotiate with your hiring manager to ensure that they allow you to play some good games in addition to those terrible short games. It doesn't matter if you think you are a great short game player, those games are such high variance, that inevitably, you'll go on a serious downturn that most people don't have the bankroll or emotional stability to fade. So, if you feel suicidal, take a prop job and make sure you buy an american car so you have enough room to live.

Mon, Sep. 29th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC)
chumpjuice

the games spread at this casino (regularly) are 4/8 LHE, 1/3 NLHE 3/5 NLHE and 5/10 NLHE. I was lead to believe that I would not be required to prop in the 5/10 game. I can definitely handle playing any of the other games shorthanded, I actually find shorthanded NLHE more fun, and I can handle the swings in a shorthanded LHE game if its as small as 4/8.

Given that these are the games were talking about, what kind of bankroll should I be thinking of? Im probably about a $25-$30/hr winner in the 3/5 game.

Also, how "nice" will I be required to be to customers? Im generally super friendly and chatty at the table, but sometimes the talking annoys other players, and I also make a lot of jokes that every once in a while will rub someone the wrong way. I guess Id just be better off shutting up and wearing an ipod?

@Bastard: Im not sure if im a dick. Sometimes? Anyway, it sounds like propping online would require me to play higher than I want, and at different games than I want. I dont think I could beat many HU 15/30 LHE games, let alone tough ones.

@Pimpofpoker: Right now I have very little aspirations of having a family or retirement plans. If I can get hours that arent completely awful it seems i should be able to have a normal social life. Also, it seems like as long as I stay rolled for these games, they shouldnt crush my sould too badly.

Mon, Sep. 29th, 2008 06:28 am (UTC)
pimpofpoker

No, what's going to crush your soul is waking up tomorrow only to find out you are 40, have no family, no retirement, no education/career to fall back on, and dwindling opportunity and health. You'll never be a winner in poker without luck and doing the right thing in life always makes you luckier. Get an education, get a career, THEN get a part time gig as a prop.

I've never met a prop that could beat the game. Sure, there are a few that remember an occasional streak like Al Bundy remembering scoring 4 TDs in a game, but show me a prop with a house, a nice car, a happy family, etc. They don't exist. Even if you can beat the game, you'll find that'll only encourage the floor to put you in tougher and tougher games with more variance. So, there's no way you will be allowed to thrive and you'll be left jaded, scorned, and vile like every single prop I've ever seen.
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Mon, Sep. 29th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
pimpofpoker

Ya, don't believe one of the most experienced poker player around like me. Make sure you buy into the bullshit of some addicted prop player who has deluded himself into thinking being a prop is a high quality life.
FYI, Bastard, one doesn't need to waste his life as a prop in order to understand what losers they are. You can smell loser on them a mile away.

Mon, Sep. 29th, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)
chumpjuice

wow, that was really friggin bleak.

OK, adressing your points:
Im already playing poker professionally, everything you say is already applicable to me. As for waking up at 40: if I make it to 40 doing this, I would say I DO have a career. Unless I magically lose my ablility to play at 40, I dont really see the problem. Im also pretty sure that the benefits package at the casino would include a retirement package.

You are probably coming from a place with enormous casinos. This is in Washington state and all of the casinos are comparatively small. This one has maybe 20-30 tables, but during the times that Id be propping, there are normally 5 or less games going. Often there will only be 2 or 3 going. There is a limit to how tough a 1/3 or 3/5 NL game is going to be @ 4 AM on a thursday night.

Tue, Sep. 30th, 2008 09:03 am (UTC)
adb_foldem

I don't want to get into it with Pimp, but if you can't beat the games, you can't prop for long. He has no experience as a prop player. Every prop I know that has kept the job for more than a year is a winning player. In addition, most places have 401K and benefit plans. Plenty of props have family. Forget about "fun" playing though - that goes by the boards.
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Tue, Sep. 30th, 2008 01:39 am (UTC)
chumpjuice

OK, my actual winrate is $41.31/hr in the NL games, my standard dev 238.95.
These numbers are gonna be ridiculously silly and rough though (as indicated by that huge standard deviation), as I have NOWHERE near the sample size at this that I do at any of the levels ive played online. What kind of risk of ruin would you assume for this sort of thing, or is that a purely personal choice?

As far as snarkiness: Im probably one of the most gracious losers ever. But as I said, my normal chatter could be a little more than some people like.

As far as propping online: Would this be at tiny sites no one has ever heard of? Im a little nervous about small sites that are just starting up as Ive heard a lot of horror stories.

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