If you look closer, however, that might not be the case.
Many young players earn themselves a fortune in poker within a very short period of time only to quickly burn out.
In the last two years the poker world has seen a surprising amount of young players “retiring” prematurely.
Take Mike “Timex” McDonald as an extreme example. The Canadian player exploded on the live poker scene in 2008 when he won the EPT Dortmund and over €1 million euro at the age of 18.
In the following months he made several more final tables in big European events – and accordingly, a lot more money.
Then, out of nowhere, he announced in his blog that he felt there was something missing in his life and that he would stop playing to “do something real.” When McDonald wrote this, he was 20 years old and still too young to even enter a casino in the US.
Or take Peter Eastgate. The young Dane became the youngest-ever player to win the poker world championship in 2008, a title worth $9 million dollars that year. One year later he had won another event in the Caribbean and came second in the EPT main event in London.
And then he seemed to be done. He announced that he had lost all motivation for the game (and several million dollars in sports betting), that he was feeling empty and would never play professional poker again.
It took several months before Eastgate showed up again at a big tournament, and since then he’s been seen occasionally at some international events.
Then there is Shaun Deeb, one of the most successful online player of all times.
After a few years of playing an unprecedented amount of hours online Deeb posted in poker’s most important forum that he couldn’t take it anymore and that he hated what he had become.
It seems that some players, despite their success, simply go too far. They play too much, they overrate their ability and they take too long to question their reasons for playing.
When they finally do, the result of their self-analysis sometimes turns out to be devastating. After all, these young men might have a lot of money but they often lack higher education and a “normal” social environment.
Older, more experienced players, on the other hand, rarely suffer from fatigue or burnout.
Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey are two of the biggest names in poker and recognized as two of the best in the game. Their stars rose in the 1990s when nobody was even talking about online poker.
They had to grind their way up through the limits in the brick-and-mortar casinos of Las Vegas, but 20 years later they are still playing almost every day – despite the fact they’re 20 years older.
Both Negreanu and Ivey have been active internet players, too, so the reason is not online poker as such. Much more, it seems that players like Ivey and Negreanu just don’t lose control.
They know how much poker is good for them, and they make sure to spend enough valuable time away from the poker tables. Quitting poker has never even crossed their minds.
Poker, then, is not about age or stamina, but about self-control. If you can avoid the pitfalls of poker, play according to your bankroll and manage to estimate your skills properly, you can start playing poker and become successful at any age.