In reading MyTurn2Raise's “Shortstacker Illuminati” thread on 2+2, he lays down some certain strategy points for short-stacking. He also has to field the typical complaints of short-stacker etiquette (some of which I have already addressed) and also the common sense approach as to why he was engaging in it. When someone had piped in the quip that anyone knowledgeable and skillful enough to show a large profit short-stacking should be buying full anyway, his response was even more illuminating than the advice he gave. In a nutshell, he said that playing poker for a living was never really about the money, but rather about not having to get a traditional job out in the “real world.” And besides, he added, relieving himself of the stress of full-stacking is more likely to add years on his life than making a few extra bones in his time on this planet.
Think about this for a minute. A long minute....
So now as a mental exercise, I pose two possibilities before you. Would you rather make
A) $400,000 a year for the rest of your life or
B) $600,000 a year for the rest of your life?
Even those non-materialistic charitable types would certainly choose option B, if nothing more than for the reason that they would have an extra $200,000 a year to do good works with. But wait! There's a catch, of course....
To earn $400,000 a year you would have to work (or play) the normal 40 hour work week. To get the $600,000 you would have to work 59.5 hours a week. The payback ratio here is slightly skewed in favor of option B, but is getting a good ROE (return-on-effort) really worth sacrificing all of that extra time?
Now I know that they say that money isn't happiness, but that doesn't entirely support the facts. The first thing that needs to be addressed is “what is money really good for?” Here is the short list, in the order in which they are satisfied:
1)Fulfilling basic needs
3)Recreation and materialistic wealth
I would say that money that covers your basic needs “buys” the most possible happiness. While the extra money to cover security issues might not buy you more happiness directly, it frees you of certain burdens that will allow you to enjoy happiness that comes from other endeavors more intensely. Recreation is obviously important, but the manner in which it is enjoyed and consumed may or may not be directly tied in with your income. After these first three facets are filled, the value of any extra money you make rapidly begins to decline according to The Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility. Even though the creation of extra wealth may gain you status, that status is relative to the wealth and prestige of those around you and many other factors. After all, making $600,000 a year may make you a big timer in the world of poker but your wife or girlfriend that you have been habitually ignoring is probably not all that impressed.
So back to short-stacking...
I do this for the same reason that MyTurn2Raise does. It prevents stress and gives me a solid income. By relieving myself of normal poker-related stress, I have more energy, sleep less, eat healthier, and generally am more pleasant to be around. These things are no small matter and could not possibly be bought for an extra $10 an hour.