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  • Sam Holden Semi Retiring from Poker

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 by Ryan

Every once in a while in poker, there is a big named player who decides
that they are going to take time off, take a short leave from poker, or
skip out on something like the World Series of Poker or another big poker
series. This situation isn’t quite like those though, as we have
officially found out that a member of the 2011 World Series of Poker
$10,000 Main Event’s November Nine, Sam Holden, has decided that he is
going to be “semi-retiring” from the game of poker. His decision was
broken down by his blog at 888poker.com. If you know about his role with
888poker, he was a poker ambassador for the site, and he was definitely a
very big part of the site as it grew.

The start of his blog post included information about the fact that Holden
had decided to attend the University of Kent this September. He will be
studying philosophy, and he broke down at the end of the blog post exactly
why he chose to go with philosophy. It was a long quote, but it included
the fact that Holden often listens to “debates, podcasts, lectures, and
speeches” while he’s playing online poker. He said that he has started to
“develop some pretty strong opinions on politics and ethics”, which he said
was a position that is opposite of his “previous relentless fence-sitting
stance.” He continued on with his explanation by saying that the passion
for what he “thinks is right in the world”, has led to him looking further
“into the arts, and reading more than ever.” He also said that more than
anything he wants to “question every opinion, listen to others, and be
consistently skeptical” of his own views. He stated that he enjoys looking
at arguments from multiple different angles.

After Holden earned his original degree, he said that he “fell into” the
world of poker, ending up as a professional. At the time, he didn’t know
what he wanted to do for a living, but he enjoyed playing poker so he stuck
with doing that for a while. His thought process was that if things didn’t
work, then he would move on to something else. The plan for Holden to play
poker and see how it goes worked out incredibly well though. In total
we’ve seen him win over $800,000 in online poker tournaments alone, not
counting the cash game profits that he’s brought in.

Looking at the live poker tournament circuits and many events that he
played in, he’s made a ton of money there as well. He originally got into
the live tournament scene back in 2011, and this was when he reached the
final table of the WSOP Main Event. He finished ninth in the event and won
a great pay day of $782,115. He has two other six figure cashes in events
as well, and also made a deep run in the Main Event in 2012, finishing in
55th place. His live tournament earnings are somewhere close to $1.2
million, and his success is insanely impressive.

Holden explained on his blog that he never saw poker as a “long term
option.” He went on to state that he knows the games are going to get
tougher and tougher, and that the “market is vulnerable to reasonably
sudden changes from legislation or economic swings.” He said that he does
think there is plenty of money to be made currently in the game of poker,
but that he personally did not want it to be his long term plan. He
included that his plan was always to “leave poker on his own terms”, which
is a good way to sum up his decision to semi-retire.

When you look at it, it seems like Holden doesn’t want to continue the
grind of a poker player. He also said that the “larger tournaments” have
become “less fun”, and that Vegas made him feel “quite uncomfortable last
year.” He stated that five trips in three years was “overkill” for him.
He plans to “travel for pleasure” and said that he’s looking forward to it
quite a bit. It’s definitely a big change from normal plan for a poker
player, but it’s nice to see that players who have even made a ton of money
still plan on going forward with whatever they enjoy and strive for in
their lives.

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