By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Odds are, Jared Hubbard has one of the more unconventional jobs of anyone in his Farmington neighborhood.
He plays online poker for a living, and he plays it well. Sometimes, for a change of pace, he’ll sit in on a couple of live games. Chances are, he’ll do pretty well there, too.
Take, for instance, the Fall Poker Classic held at Canterbury Park earlier this month. Hubbard emerged at the top of the heap, earning a cool $70,769 from the tournament. Not bad for three days of work.
Mostly, though, Hubbard works from his home. He’s got four monitors set up, all connected to one computer. His mouse is set on its highest speed. He’s got it that way so he can keep tabs on the 12 to 16 games of online poker he’s playing all at once.
He prefers single table “Sit-n-Go” play over group, six-person games. Those took too long, he said, so he focuses more on Heads Up poker, which is just one-on-one games with one other person.
Usually, people go to college to learn the skills they’ll need in their chosen career path. The same applied to Hubbard, but he didn’t start out planning to play poker for a living. It just kind of happened.
While playing basketball in Winona, Hubbard suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon. The injury sidelined him, so he wanted to find something else to do in his spare time. He and some friends started playing poker. They started out with home games for fun, he said. But that only took up so much of his time.
He started poking around online and found a couple of games. Hubbard started out small, playing $50 games at first. But it turned out he had a certain kind of skill when it came to playing poker. Before long, he was searching websites looking for strategy suggestions. He was reading books about poker strategy. He kept playing.
He kept winning, too. He started playing a couple of games simultaneously. And then he’d add a few more and a few more. Pretty soon, he was playing a dozen games at once.
Hubbard found he could make about $50 an hour playing online poker. And that was about the time he decided it was time to quit his job and take up professional poker.
“I saw where I could keep getting better. I’d heard about the World Series of Poker on TV, and I figured out that I could probably make a pretty good living at it,” Hubbard said. “I certainly was not going to find anything better than that, so I just went from there and got better as I got more experience.”
Hubbard figures he was 20 or 21 years old when he started playing. He’s 27 now, and he’s a long way from being a poor college student. According to his website, Hubbard has netted somewhere around $1.5 million in winnings over the past six years.
He is considered a poker pro, sponsored by the online company Lock Poker . He keeps all of his results in Excel documents, and he tracks how his game has changed over time. He’s been interviewed by several online poker sites, and he participates in online forums, too. Luck, though, really has very little to do with his game.
“There is a certain amount of luck in it, but the more you play the less luck there is in it,” Hubbard said.
To his credit, Hubbard has earned the distinction as leader in the sharkscope.com six player SNG profit earner in 2007, 2008 and 2010. He also led in profits in the sharkscope.com SNG single player table ranks.
Generally, Hubbard tries to work while his wife is at her job in Northfield. Occasionally, he’ll get into games in the evening, and sometimes be up until 2 a.m. But that’s part of the game, too. And he also plans time to continue the learning part, too – studying the game, coming up with new strategy, and so on.
“I plan on doing this until I retire,” Hubbard said. “I can’t imagine going something else after doing this.”