Money Ain’t a Thing

This article in the NY Times blew me away (found via You Might Find Yourself — read the the abbreviated version there).

The author Jay Caspian Kang follows 21-year-old millionaire and online poker champion Daniel Cates around for a few days, watches him win and lose millions, and generally takes in the kid’s outlook on the whole deal. Unlike most poker superstars who win big dough at big tournaments with the help of big luck, Daniel Cates made his million by “grinding”, which is described as “the process of pressing a skill advantage over an extended period of time”.

Daniel spends his life in front of the computer, which has resulted in killer poker skills, but also kind of detachment from real life that allows him to say things like “You can do anything with $10 million. Like, you can buy a house and still have around $5 million left over.” He admittedly struggles with human interaction, and does not think it a bit strange to be a millionaire sharing a condo with roommates and eating most meals at The Cheesecake Factory.

Here he gives a look into the mentality:

“Most of us young kids who play at nosebleed stakes don’t really have any clear idea about the actual value of the money we win or lose,” Cates says. “Most of us see the money more as a points system. And because we’re all competitive, we want to have the highest score. But really, we don’t know what making $400,000 or losing $800,000 means, because we don’t have families or whatever. This blind spot gives us the freedom to always make the right move, regardless of the amount at stake, because our judgment isn’t clouded by any possible ramifications.”