Personal Statement: My journey from poker to law

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:36 pm

Personal Statement: My journey from poker to law

Postby sneaks[ap] » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:39 pm

Hi guys, I just finished revising my personal statement, and would really appreciate a new set of eyeballs to glance it over. I would much appreciate your takes on my statement.

I am applying to law school because I have discovered a fire within myself which burns to pursue the noble value of justice in order to provide my positive contribution to the world. I realize that this is an incredibly idealistic statement for a twenty-four year old. However, its genuine aspect derives from an epiphany that I experienced after having spent the last year playing poker professionally in many major cities across the United States. Until recently, my biggest ambition in life was to be a successful international poker player. But, after attaining this dream and living the lifestyle that went along with it, I realize just how empty and shallow it truly was.

The concept of bluffing was what initially attracted me to the game of poker. I was sitting around my friend’s poker table holding two of the worst cards in the deck with a large chunk of my paycheck on the felt in front of me. I took a deep breath, stared my friend in the eyes, and pushed my mound of chips into the middle of the felt. After a moment of contemplation, my opponent folded. I could breathe again. Bluffing gave poker a magical quality in my eyes. The fact that a player could win with any two cards if he had enough heart, grit, and determination gave poker a psychological aspect the likes of which I had never experienced in any other game. I began to study poker intensively.

My studies paid off, as during my senior year at my university I found myself deciding to quit my retail job in order to play poker professionally. Having become such a regular winner at my friend’s home games, I soon felt confident enough to venture to my local casinos to play higher stakes with tougher opponents. These local casinos were a stark contrast to my friend’s home games. While the friendly games I had grown accustomed to were filled with friendly faces, smiles, and laughter, the casinos that I frequented contained only bitterness, sadness, and resent. While people sometimes spoke at the table, these conversations were usually somber and dejected – most often tales of loss or misfortune. However, I still very much enjoyed playing poker and was making very good money while attending my university full time.

Playing poker in order to make a living is without a doubt one of the biggest rollercoaster rides on the planet. There’s a saying among professional poker players that “poker is a hard way to make an easy living”, and this statement perfectly describes my experience with professional poker. Only weeks into my professional poker career, I had already lost my regard for money. I played in high stakes games that were over my head, but I felt that I was better than the players in the game so I still sat in on them. Several times, I played games with my rent money on the table. I had no margin for error: either I won and paid the bills, or I lost and went broke.

And alternate between winning big and going broke I did. I remember winning enough in a single night that I realized I did not have to work for the next few months if I did not want to. The feeling was liberating – euphoric even. But, it did not make up for the times that I went broke. My bank account has hit zero twice in my lifetime, and I hope to never experience that feeling again. My vision went blurry, the world was spinning, and out of the corner of my eye I could make out my opponent’s wide smile as he raked in my life’s savings without remorse. I was forced to borrow from a seedy bookie in order to build my bankroll up again, a dangerous and pressure filled venture which I never wish to go through again.

However, despite rebuilding my bankroll and very consistent winning, I slowly began to notice the onset of a new emotion in my conscience: emptiness. This emptiness felt far worse than the deepest valley I had ever experienced, as it was not a result of an unfortunate event, but rather my conscience’s reaction to my lifestyle as a whole. No matter how much money I won, no matter how many vacations to Las Vegas and Los Angeles I took, no matter how well I played the game of poker, I could not rid myself of the feeling of emptiness that gnawed at my conscience incessantly. Try as I might to talk myself out of it, the emptiness would not subside.

And then it hit me one year into my professional poker career: I felt empty because I was not a part of anything bigger than myself. Poker is an inherently selfish and isolating game, as its aim is to acquire all the money on the table for oneself. By consuming myself in poker, I was missing out on much more important and vital things in life – being a part of something larger than just myself and fostering meaningful connections with others in the community. It was at this moment I realized that I was the only person who would ever benefit from my playing poker. Poker would never allow me to change the world for the better or to impact someone other than myself in a positive way. To the contrary, poker isolated me from the community and discouraged me from fostering connections with others lest my poker earnings suffer.

Upon realizing that poker was leading me away from what I want to accomplish in life, I quit playing professional poker and have taken up a warehouse job instead. Although lucrative, professional poker contributed nothing to anyone but myself. I realize now that what I dedicate my life to must have a purpose beyond accumulating wealth. It must have positive implications for the community at large, not just myself. It must have an impact on the lives of others so that I will be able to look back and know that I made a difference in the world. I desire with every fiber in my body to make a positive contribution to the world and to be surrounded by others who feel as strongly in this regard as I do. I understand that my view of the legal system is very idealistic, and that participating in it will require some compromise between idealism, pragmatism, and politics. However, I would wish to sacrifice as little idealism as feasibly possible, as in it is found the fundamental desire to improve the world.

I realize now that my conscience was correct in leading me away from poker, as I was heading down a path of emptiness and inevitable self-destruction. George Washington once provided the advice that one should “labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience”, and that is precisely what I mean to do.

User avatar

Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:25 pm

Re: Personal Statement: My journey from poker to law

Postby BentleyLittle » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:42 pm

I was hoping this was another DaRascal post. Didn't read yet OP but tagging for later.


Posts: 581
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:15 pm

Re: Personal Statement: My journey from poker to law

Postby ZVBXRPL » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:55 pm

Include your Hendon Mob link.


Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:36 pm

Re: Personal Statement: My journey from poker to law

Postby sneaks[ap] » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:58 pm

ZVBXRPL wrote:Include your Hendon Mob link.

What is that? Seems like a poker database tracker of some sort? I'm not on there because I played exclusively live cash games.

Return to “Law School Personal Statements?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.