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"I was looking for a profession that I would enjoy, and that I thought I could make a pretty good income here in San Diego with. That profession turned out to be poker, and I couldn’t be happier."
David Souter: Executive Leaves Corporate World to Become Full-Time Sit & Go Pro
David Souter’s first real poker experience came as a young man visiting his uncle in South Dakota, when he played limit lowball at the local cardrooms. He set himself to learn the game, reading everything he could find, and actually had enough success with lowball tournaments to support himself between jobs.
“It was just a few months when I was first out of college,” he says, laughing. “But I was able to win a few tournaments, and stay alive.”
It never occurred to David that he’d make a real commitment to professional poker, however. He graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in economics and had high hopes for his first job, working at an Arizona savings and loan. But when the S&L scandal caused the industry to implode, “It was back to the drawing board,” he says.
David entered the world of retail, becoming a manager in men’s wear, where the departments he ran consistently were among the top-selling units in his company. But eventually, David says, “I decided that I enjoyed the holidays too much to be in retail for the rest of my life!”
David went back to the prestigious business school at Yale University, where he got an MBA. After a brief stint in the insurance industry, he found his way into the investment field. Inspired by the works of Warren Buffet and the “value investing” philosophy of Benjamin Graham, he eventually found himself creating a hedge fund. Although his own fund never lost money, the company he worked for “blew itself up” during the hedge fund crisis. Subsequent financial crashes cost him his next job.
Through it all, David had never stopped playing poker.
“I had it as a continual hobby,” he says. “Just as a source of recreation. I had read books about it, kept on it–it was one area of study that I kept a focus on. It wasn’t really a focus on making money,” he says. He simply concentrated on learning everything he could.
David had some success in low-level online tournaments, and he realized how much he loved playing. Although he knew he could get another job, he began to think about turning his favorite game into a career.
“I wanted to see if there was a way to feel confident that I would earn a stable and secure income playing poker,” David says. By this time, he was married and had three children, so “stable and secure” were key words. Still, David says, “I had gotten tired of having bosses. I had been to a lot of firms, and I was often much more knowledgeable than most of the people I was supposed to be working for. That was frustrating! And with all the big firms going belly-up, working in the finance industry was definitely not a secure situation.”
David was also committed to keeping his three kids happily settled in the schools where they were doing well and enjoying their friends. “I moved around a lot when I was a kid,” he says. “I wanted to keep a stable environment for my own kids.” Poker seemed as though it might offer him a way to do that and taking a WPT Boot Camp gave him a jump-start and the confidence to take the plunge.
David said taking a Boot Camp filled in some important gaps in his knowledge. “For example,” he says, “I didn’t know how much of my stack I should put in with suited connectors, or how much with small pairs. There were a number of things that I had read a little bit about or knew something about but hadn’t really filled in all the details.” These key points were so helpful he attended another camp which he said gave him “valuable information about when to go all-in and how to ramp up his tournament aggression.”
Eventually, David settled on Sit & Go’s as the field where he’d feel most secure making a living. He liked the fact that they had far lower variance than the larger tournaments, and he felt they were an underappreciated form of poker that not enough players understood. Thanks to WPT Boot Camp, he felt he had the knowledge he needed to make a success of online poker, a field where only a small percentage of players make any significant profits. And armed with the knowledge he gained in WPT Boot Camp, David was soon making a six-figure income, supporting his family while playing the game he loves.
After taking several WPT Boot Camps and playing over twenty thousand Sit & Go’s online, David had gotten so proficient that the student became a teacher. His enormous online poker success led him to become an instructor at WPT Boot Camp, helping others to excel at his own specialty in the game. He’s also branching out into multitable tournaments, with significant success so far. He credits his time at WPT Boot Camp and all the experience he got playing online with his ability to analyze tournament situations, especially final-table play.
David is excited about where his poker journey will take him next. Meanwhile, he’s pleased with where it’s brought him so far.
“I was looking for a profession that I would enjoy, and that I thought I could make a pretty good income here in San Diego with,” he says. That profession turned out to be poker–and David couldn’t be happier.