It’s time to knock the dust off this blog. Multiple times in the last year I’ve sat down to write a blog post, only to get a bit discouraged. This website (and this blog) is primarily about our poker staking operation. The only issue is that in the last year I’ve reduced my role on the poker side (will get into this more), so often times I’ve been a bit lost as to what to write about. So I’ll re-open this blog with an update of what’s going on in my professional life and then future blog posts will likely be more general gambling related rather than solely focused on poker.
In 2008, my business partner Eric and I started backing poker players, starting small in the beginning, and growing to be the largest operation in the US, peaking out with 80 players. Along the way we made 2 significant hires in our managers Sean Kraper and Dan Thomson. As we grew, more and more responsibility landed on their plate and eventually, as of late Summer of ’19 I significantly reduced my role and we promoted Sean Kraper to CEO of our poker staking operation. We’re currently working with approximately 35 players who play primarily mid stakes, both cash games and tournaments. The games are certainly quite different than they were at one time, but we’ve been saying that since Black Friday back in 2011, and guys are still finding a way to make a living even in an increasingly difficult environment. In fact this year many of our players are having their best years of all time due to an uptick in game quality during early quarantine when everyone nation wide was staying at home with nothing to gamble on. Poker staking will always be what I built my foundation in gaming on and it’s very comforting to know that Sean and Dan are continuing to carry out that vision.
Since my focus has shifted away from poker staking, I’ve been spending my time on 2 other businesses. The first, is our sports betting operation which started in 2014 but we’ve seen exponential growth in recent years. As we have become more experienced and finetuned our systems along with the US seeing a huge surge in interest in sports betting, it’s proven to be a significant opportunity. Just like poker, the game certainly gets harder each year, and our margins compress, but our volume has seen tremendous growth to combat the compressed margins. Most recently, sports betting has experienced a wrinkle during this time of Covid-19. A significantly reduced college football schedule for this Fall will negatively impact us, but we remain confident that our long term prospects in this industry are bright and I’m as motivated as I’ve ever been to grow this business.
Finally, in the last 3 years I’ve put a heavy focus into investing in rental properties. Specifically, I have been buying distressed properties in southern Alabama in the neighboring towns of Mobile. I’ve been purchasing foreclosed and neglected homes, renovating them, and placing tenants in them. Similar to the old poker days where I would scour the 2+2 forums learning about poker strategies, I’ve done this with the site Bigger Pockets soaking up every bit of information I can retain about real estate investing. The primary method I’ve been using is the BRRRR method, which involves:
Buying a distressed property in cash
Rehabbing the property in cash
Renting out the property to a tenant
Refinancing the property with a bank to get my capital back out
Repeating the process
During quarantine specifically, I spent almost all of my working hours on real estate. Since my initial investments in the Fall of ’17 I’ve learned a lot of lessons. I have all of the standard horror stories of being a landlord, as well as horror stories of rehabs, but after it’s all said and done, this has proven to be the most significant long term wealth generator I’ve ever seen. There are certainly ways to make real estate investing create short term income (primarily thru flipping), but what I’ve focused solely on is foregoing the income and creating a long term asset portfolio that’s paid for by tenants. My gaming businesses won’t be here forever, so while they are I’ll have that income, but hopefully the 3rd business of real estate investing will set me up for the long term once markets have just become too efficient in poker and sports that there’s no money left to be made - which shouldn’t happen anytime soon.
It feels good to be back blogging after such a long hiatus. In the near future I’ll post more about my recent real estate investment.