I far more easily recognize the old guard professional players. I don’t think it is age as much as losing interest in watching a lot of televised poker. My frame of reference at that is the earlier season of the WPT. But I do at least recognize some of the new guns. So, when I saw a link to Slate that has an article by one I stopped by for a read.
The player is Shaun (shaniac) Schleger. The article is entitled Busted. It is a rather honest look at his transition from a series of minimum wage jobs to making a living playing poker.
He questions his worth relating to “contributing to society” and that a valid question. It doesn’t seriously prop up our GDP or come up with a cure for cancer — true enough. But, based on his educational background, his contribution frankly had doubtful merit in that regard. But, lets look a bit closer.
Until poker came along, he was getting by and avoiding being a drain. That’s true for a lot of us. Then, poker came along. His income increased. He lived better and had more disposable income. We can’t say for certain the true source of that income. It likely some was from overseas and some came from those with great disposable income. The overseas part improved our balance of payments a bit. The whales might have helped the balance go the other way to a degree. Shaun used it for housing, food, and some nice perks because he now had disposable funds.
While his job didn’t make him a titan of industry or such, it did contribute to society. He worked hard, long hours to provide the ability to buy more and that helps others. So, yeah, Shaun, you are a contributing member of society and our government lowered our nation’s economic strength when it put you out of work. Your contribution to that isn’t noticeable but that can be said of most households — up to and including upper middle class.
Taken all together Black Friday isn’t really a blip on the economy but it has its modest effect. The government is always now hyping job growth/loss. The major part of that is based on our spending and you and your colleagues have lost your income due to government intervention. Government intervention happens every day and across industries. Every requirement they add to business affect jobs. That’s the part average folks like us often miss. OSHA and the EPA act for gains that may or may not be important; they are just two of many similar government processes. None of their goals contribute to society as much as yours, mine and that host of others who pay their way through life.
Whatever one might need to apologize for in life, making a legitimate living isn’t on the list.