Poker players, even the most successful ones, don’t necessarily intend on sitting at the felt until their bodies start to wilt. Some have left after only a few years of winning, while others, like Doyle Brunson, become an icon of the game. Vanessa Selbst retired at the beginning of this year, only to return a month later to participate in a tournament.
There are a number of reasons why players make their choices—they lose interest, the lose sponsorships or they lose the lifestyle. One player left the game and found a great deal of success in the tech industry.
French poker pro Ludovic Lacay was a regular at live tournaments for a number of years, participating often in the WSOP and the EPT. He earned more than $3.2 million in cash between 2007 and 2013 with his best win coming at the EPT San Remo tournament in 2012 where he raked in just over $918,000. His luck seemed to change in 2014, though, earning a mere $38,053 after winning a minimum of $170,000 in each of the previous seven years.
After the downturn, Lacay weighed his options and decided it was time for a change. He dropped a sponsorship deal with France’s Winamax poker site, boxed up his cards and walked off into the sunset. He never looked back—almost never.
It turned out to be the right decision at the right time, as the then 29-year-old picked up an internship at Tictrac, a data-based health and wellness app company, Lacay said in a Business Insider. Tictrac produces a wearable device that helps people “build healthier behaviors.” Users can set goals, whether dietary or exercise goals, and the platform will monitor their activity until the goal is reached. At the same time, the device is used by businesses to engage their customers.
Lacay’s internship worked out well, and led to a position as the head of product development with the company. He attributed his success at Tictrac to the skills he picked up playing poker, but still hasn’t been able to completely walk away from the game. He can still be found at a tournament now and then. He cashed during the 2016 EPT Prague Main Event for $14,638, as well as last year’s WSOP, earning $6,420 at a $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament.