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Brian Hasting wrote an extensive blog recently about why he will no longer pursue poker as a full-time job. Rather, he will soon open a Tea Shop called UniTea in South Florida. Hastings spoke about the evolution of poker and his struggles with depression in explaining why he left from the game.

The three-time WSOP bracelet winner has over $2.47 million in live earnings and over $5 million in combined online cash game and tournament earnings. Despite doing so well in poker, Hastings has decided it is time for him to do something more with his life than simply chase down straights and flushes for a living.

Even the Best Players Sometimes Want More Out of Their Life

Towards the end of Hastings’ blog, he wrote the following:

“I can remember seeing therapists 4 and 5 years ago taking career inventory tests and talking about how I needed to move on from poker to be happy. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the self-confidence to do it until now.

“onya, whom I met in August 2013 and started dating in December 2014, has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s been a long, sometimes painful journey, but with her help I have realized that yes, I am brilliant, and yes, I am capable of great things bigger than mastering a game and winning other people’s money.

And while I love the game itself, I loathe the politics and a number of industry players.”

With that Hastings announced his plans to open his new Tea Shop in Florida. Like some other poker pros, Hastings is attempting to branch out into his own business in hopes of finding happiness and fulfillment in his life.

And there is NOTHING WRONG with that. Poker is a unique occupation in which your only goal is to win money. You aren’t making a product or delivering a service. Your only objective it to play a game with the goal of winning money.

Even in a poker tournament, you goal is to win the tournament and the money associated. Take out the prize money associated and remove any monetary value from winning a poker tournament, and a vast majority would never pay a dime to play them again.

Some of us want more out of our lives than to win money from players. The path that one takes is dependent on their personality and their beliefs. For a few players, poker winds up providing the financial means to pursue one’s true passions.

In some cases, poker helps one to discover what they really want to do with their life and they adapt their poker skills to their new path.

That Doesn’t Mean You Have to Completely Quit Poker

There are many former “poker pros” that still play poker either recreationally or semi-professionally. Hastings admits that he will still play poker about 10 to 20 hours a week. The big difference is that poker will merely supplement his income rather than become the foundation for it.

Many poker pros decide to make similar choices in their career. Sometimes it is because they want to do something else with their lives or perhaps their life circumstances have changed.

Jennifer Harman is one of the game’s top cash game pros but had to change her playing lifestyle in order to raise her twin sons. There are many other players that have to make similar changes to their poker lifestyle.

Other players step back from playing full-time due to other obligations. Hastings isn’t the first pro to start or invest in a business. Some pros become successful with their business ventures and poker no longer is their primary source of income. As such, poker takes a back seat.

For a number of players, this becomes an awesome transition. They go back to playing recreationally and are no longer results oriented. For some, this allows them to take a few more chances or open up their game in ways they may not have done when they were grinding for their monthly nut.

When the financial pressure of poker is removed from the equation, players can focus exclusively on the game itself and some can become more successful. Even if they don’t become more successful, often they wind up enjoying the game more.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.