Hac and Di Dang: A Career as Professional Poker Players
Hac and Di Dang don't have the job of a typical 20-something-year-old. Or the salary for that matter. These brothers started playing online poker in college and they are now high stakes cash game players on Full-Tilt Poker who have won millions of dollars. Not bad for two engineering majors at The University of Virginia. AOL Jobs caught up with Hac to learn more about their rise to the top of the online poker scene and their plans for the future.
Q. How did you get started in poker?
A. I saw Chris Moneymaker turn a $40 investment into $3.2 million in 2003 on ESPN and so I got interested. I began playing with my friends around school at smaller $10 or $20 buy-in games. Eventually, I deposited money online because you could play anytime in your own home. Aside from a few small bumps here and there, we've been pretty lucky and never had to redeposit.
Q. When and why did you decide to turn it into a career?
A. Around 2005 and 2006, when I was finishing my third year of school, I knew that I could average over $100K a year if I played 40 hours a week. The freedom and fun factor of playing poker made me decide to do it over an engineering job. You get paid based on how good you are at your job.
Q. What did friends and family say when you decided to try to turn your hobby into a profession?
A. Like all Asian parents, obviously, my parents hated it. They've seem gambling destroy so many of their friends and relatives' families. They even tried to ban poker from the house computers so we actually paid money to play it at the local PC cafe. It took us forever to convince them that it wasn't "gambling" but rather "investing."
Q. What do you love most about playing poker professionally?
A. I really like how much freedom it offers. We can wake up when we like and work when we feel like.
Q. What's the most stressful part of playing poker professionally?
A. Losing a ton of money in one day. Sometimes, the cards just don't fall right and you see a significant chunk of your net worth go to another player. It's very hard to stay level-headed and calm when this happens over and over again.
Q. Where do you see yourself in five years?
A. Hopefully, doing something more productive to society than clicking buttons all the time. I probably will open a few businesses here and there but I don't have anything in mind at this time.
Q. What advice do you have for other poker wannabes?
A. Don't overrate your skills. Everyone tends to underestimate their opponents and overestimate their own skills. That's why poker games exist.
So make sure you study your game extensively to know exactly where you stand and don't play too many games against players better than you!
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