All (In) or Nothing

The perils facing university students are well documented: wake up, go to school, go to work (if you have a job), go home, study and go to bed, all with the belief that all the hard work, suffering and knowledge you’ve accumulated will pay off in the future. Sound familiar?
Former Concordia student Rob Pope no longer deals with the hustle and bustle of scholastic life, nor does he stress over submitting T4 slips to the big bad boss at his nine-to-five desk job. No, Rob is not a graduate from Concordia University. Yes, he is self-employed, but not in the conventional sense. Rob Pope is a professional Internet Poker Player and has been perfecting his craft for over three years. Within his profession, Rob is able to live the way he envisioned life, one day at a time and very carefree.
Most poker players have been characterized as living their lives by the seat of their pants. The “live fast die hard” philosophy may in fact be inherent in most professional poker players. but not Rob. Rob insists that he plays poker, not for the glory, not for the big payoffs (which are nice), but to do the things we take for!
Catching up with Rob at his downtown apartment, his cool calm demeanor makes a person feel like he or she is being analyzed . He is constantly examining, wondering and pondering his way into your cerebrum. But his laidback approach to life and his willingness to open up about the profession he holds so closely allows Rob to briefly escape from his mental game plan.

Giovanni: So Rob, how did you get into the world of online poker?

Rob: “It was more of a hobby when I started off, and I started making money.then I realized I was making more money at it then working, so I decided to become a professional.”

G: “Where were you were working before you got into Online Poker?”

R: “I was a security guard at John Abbott College, I also worked security at McGill and I also worked in office buildings downtown, sparingly.”

G: “What does Internet Poker provide that your previous jobs didn’t?”

R: “It’s the lifestyle, it’s (a world) without structure. Everyday is the same day. I basically do whatever I want throughout the day, I take as much time off as I want to, just stuff like that, there’s a lot more freedom.”

G: “When did you realize that school wasn’t cutting it for you?”

R: “It was my playing that influenced my decision. Most people, when they graduate from University don’t make enough money, they get stuck in, at best, middle-class jobs and it takes them awhile. to make a decent living. Most of my friends who’ve graduated from university are still doing the same things and it just didn’t interest me.”

Rob is no slouch when it comes to honing his craft. He currently plays up to eight online poker games simultaneously on his two 21″ monitors, an online poker player’s dream. He also has a poker software called “Poker Tracker” which traces all the betting patterns, folding patterns, etc, from all of Rob’s opponents and imports them into a database called “Poker Ace Hudd”, which displays all the information of Rob’s opponents on his screen. Rob has gained extensive knowledge through Internet training sites such as and where professional poker players give you an in depth perspective into their thought process during a given hand. Rob’s fiercest ally is the professional poker book collection he owns. Even at his stage, Rob finds himself turning to his “buddies” every once in a while for advice.

G: “During your training, which books stood out and helped mold you into the player you are today?”

R: “There are around eight great books that are out there, you have all the Dan Harrington books, the David Sklansky books as well as the new book from Full Tilt poker.”

G: “Any advice for the new crop of internet gamblers?

R: “If you want to be a hobbyist, or professional, you really have to learn everything now, and then start playing as opposed to starting to play, then learning as you go.”

Rob’s lifestyle has taken him to so many different places. Next year, Rob is planning to go down to Las Vegas for the third time. He will be participating in one of the smaller tournaments at the World Series of Poker. Even though his chances are slim, he feels the experience is payment enough.

G: “Are you living the life you want to live?

R: “Currently right now, I’m just living life. That’s what it is, as far as living the life I want to live, not yet, but my bankroll will dictate that later on.”

Until he takes off for Vegas next year, Rob will continue to dominate the Internet poker world and assured myself and Concordian readers that his cool calm demeanor turns to stone when he’s in the zone.

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