I have claimed that I have paid for vacations with winnings from on-line poker.
This is true. At least the cash part, before credit cards were accepted in small places and when I could cash out in US $.
Poker is the only hobby where with a little study and experience it no longer costs you money; you earn money instead. Attain the level of an intermediate player and it is not difficult to be a winner.
The two full years where I played poker regularly I cashed out $1,000 each year while keeping enough money in the various sites to allow myself to continue, meaning there was another $2,000 or so in my accounts. This after initial investments of $50 to one site, $50 to another, a topup of $50 to earn a bonus, and $50 to a third site. You can add in another $200 for books. Now, $400 for a hobby is not too much if you’re going to take up birdwatching or skiing or macrame but it’s not likely that those hobbies will return you $4,000 on that original investment within a few years.
And I’m no poker genius. I never got comfortable playing more than eight $25 tables (called multi-tabling). I had the bankroll and skill to play $50 or $100 tables and I dabbled at them but never was happy having $400 dollars out there at one time.
And then Black Friday hit. April 15, 2011. The Department of Justice managed to shut down all international poker sites operating within the US. Being in Canada I was eventually able to play again but I’m on the west coast and most of my opponents were in the US. The games dried up. And my interest faded.
But prior to that I studied, was a regular in the second biggest poker discussion forum, had a blog, complied some of my learning of basics into a book. And it’s still available and free: The Free, Online, Concise Guide to No Limit Holdem Poker