Treat Your Poker Like a Business

Treat Your Poker Like a Business by Dusty Schmidt
Treat Your Poker Like a Business
by Dusty Schmidt

There is a vast difference between having poker skill and making money – Dusty Schmidt.

The above quote is taken from the last few pages of Dusty Schmidt’s new book “Treat Your Poker Like a Business”.

I am sure that this quote will reverberate around the minds of a lot of today’s grinders. Not necessarily those grinders who are making a profit from poker but those thousands and thousands of grinders who cannot make a profit from poker. Grinders like me.

I have been grinding online at stakes ranging between 50nl and 400nl for 12 months and I have failed to make a profit. I am writing this review at 06:57 in the morning sat on a train on my way to Sheffield to attend a meeting that I have absolutely no interest in. I awoke this morning at 04:30 and I will return home sometime this evening after travelling on five different trains. What a complete and utter waste of a day. Days are very precious. I am not Highlander I am not going to live forever.

There is hope. I have just finished reading “Treat Your Poker Like a Business” and as often happens after reading a poker book or watching a poker video I feel invigorated. I want to play and I want to play now. Show the world the new me. Let leash my new weaponry.

I didn’t obtain the book to learn more poker skill per se. I bought the book to help me learn to make money. The first thing that attracted me to the book was the title. I wasn’t a Dusty Schmidt fan. I don’t play on Poker Stars and had never watched a poker video by him. I had admittedly heard radio interviews by him on Cash Plays and read player profiles in various poker magazines but nothing grabbed me by the balls. Nothing made me want to learn more about him.

The title was what I was searching for and I am glad I found it.

There is an excellent chapter on strategy towards the end of the book. Written very simply and to the point. But you won’t buy the book for this reason. You will buy this book if you are serious about playing poker for a living.

This book gives you the framework to start your poker business right from the off. Don’t dive straight in. You will waste valuable time and money. Follow Dusty’s principles and I am sure you will have a much better chance for success.

His 41 different chapters can be reduced down to three main principles:

  • Bankroll Management
  • Dealing with Variance
  • Setting Process Orientated Goals

Dusty has very different views on bankroll management than most poker sources you will come across. I am a Gambler at heart. I take chances and I secretly ignored poker articles, posts and advice telling me that I needed a bankroll of 30 buy-ins at least. I just loved to read the articles from poker experts selling the lure of a 20 buy in bankroll. This suited me perfectly.

Dusty advocates a bankroll of 100 buy ins. What? I here you cry!

“I will be playing 5c/10c for the rest of my life!”

But remember the title of the book. Dusty is selling his trade secrets. The man won over $3 million in cash games setting these guidelines. He is living proof that his advice works.

If you want to think of your poker playing as your full time job then your capital is very important. Dusty tells you that your capital is your money and your time. If you lose your bankroll then you lose your business.

Take my experience as an example. My coach has recently reviewed the last 25k hands that I have played and has told me that I am down 8 buy ins in all in equity for pots 100bb or above. I do not move down stakes. Like my Dad always used to say “I do not have a money tree in the garden”. When I hit variance like this I lose my bankroll. I lose my capital. My business crumbles. Then because I love this game so much I will take out a credit card and reload some money into my account that I don’t have. It is like taking out a loan for more capital to restart your business. You now have to earn even more money just to pay your debts off before you can start earning a profit.

It is when talking about bankroll management that Dusty first starts to show the reader that he believes he has at times been a poker pariah. The only other time I have heard the name Dusty is when I was watching WWF American wrestling back in the late 1980’s. The American Dream! He used to come out dressed in black and yellow polka dots. He was a showman. He was brash, loud and an extrovert. Look at me. I am the King of the World. The poker world would love this type of player. He would be a media darling. This Dusty is the mirror opposite of the man behind this book.

I believe one of the reasons he has been so successful is because he is not a showman. He does not gamble. When he first stumbled across poker not long after realising his dreams of being a professional golfer had disappeared he created the framework that appears in this book and through damn hard work made it a success. He may not have known it at the time but these pages were at the forefront of everything that has made him successful.

I believe he has some quiet satisfaction realising that he managed to be a success. Stood in front of his mirror with a comb to his mouth singing Sinatra

“I did it my way!”

It is equally fascinating when you understand that his playing style is very aggressive. You would assume that his bankroll and gambling ideals would be the same. They could not be further from this assumption.

Given his statistics you could be forgiven in thinking that this man is a machine. Instead in Chapter Two he shows a little bit of insecurity about his writing as he describes why his book is written the way it is. I think his constant battle against “What should be right?” in the poker community bares it sole in this chapter.

There is also a little bit of tug-of-war with life in this book when it comes to dealing with the social standing of being a professional poker player or a professional gambler as most people will see it. Dusty talks about the similarities of people who trade stocks for a living and he is quite clearly sticking up for the profession he loves in the same way a big brother would protect his little brother in the school playground.

I mentioned dealing with variance as being one of the core principles of success on this book and his relationship with Jared Tendler was obviously one of the milestones in his success. Jared works with Dusty on “Drag the” and also wrote some of the chapters in this book.

I believe learning to deal with the variance in the game is a massively important facet to the life of a grinder and you will learn a lot about it in this book either literally or through the association with and Jared Tendler.

There are sections of the book explaining good old-fashioned business processes. As someone currently in the business world these sections were not new or creative for me. What is new and creative is applying those processes to your poker playing lifestyle. Treating your poker playing like it was a business.

What I did find very innovative was the chapter written by Dusty Schmidt’s wife, Nicole.

It is just such a shame that he had never experienced a losing month. Nicole’s chapter could have been so much more interesting!

When I take the framework of this fantastic book and finally turn my hobby into an Empire I will allow my wife, Debbie, to provide input into the book I write. It would go something like this.

“For over a year he kept telling me when he had won some money. He would often give me money for shoes and it would be a nice feeling. Those days were few and far between. In between those days were days of quiet. He wouldn’t discuss poker with me on those days and he was never happy. I knew he had lost. I didn’t know how much he had lost but I knew it was more than we could afford. I wanted to speak to him about these moments but realised he wouldn’t listen. He would never be able to give up playing poker. So I would just smile, say thank you, tell him I love him, take the money, buy the shoes, cross my fingers and pray!”

Does this sound familiar Grinders?

If so, only you can do something about this and start by buying this book. If Dusty Schmidt was born with a natural talent to do anything it was probably play golf. He showed that it is not just talent that makes you successful but having goals, planning how you are going to achieve them, having belief and working your (golf) balls off!

If you like this review and would like lee Davy to carry out a review for you then you can contact him at [email protected].

If you like this book you can purchase a copy at