4 min read

How I am Going Bankrupt

Catching trains and making zero income at 45.
How I am Going Bankrupt

I'm going bankrupt, and I'm afraid it's not clickbait.

This is the story of how I'm going bankrupt.

You may wonder how a seemingly successful professional gambler and web publisher can go bankrupt. After all, I'm known for beating casinos by counting cards in blackjack, making six figures in sports betting, and, more recently, running websites in my pajamas by working only four hours a week.

Well, let's start from the beginning. Because this is not the first time I've faced bankruptcy. Or watch a train go by.

The Blackjack Train

Back in 2003 casinos didn't allow me to play blackjack. I had been counting cards every day for a whole year. I thought they hadn't noticed me.

But the last month that I played there, I made ten thousand euros. They showed me the door, and I got off the first train I caught in life. With no student loans to my name and still living with my parents, I wasn’t going bankrupt.

But my income went to zero overnight.

The Sports Trading Train

I returned to my chemical engineering studies. Still, I was looking to find another way to make money similar to blackjack. I spent a summer digging into the internet. And in 2004, I found sports trading.

Sports trading it's like trading in the stock market, but instead of stocks, you trade betting odds. For a full explanation, read this.

Starting with €500 I was making €3,000 a month in the beginning. Eventually, I made almost €100,000 in the first year as an odds trader.

I was 25 at the time and over the moon. I was riding a better train this time!

That's when I made one of my biggest financial mistakes. Buying an expensive car with half of that money.

If I had invested that money—50k, that is—in SP500, I would now be 200k richer. If you're young, hear me out.

Don't spend before you're 35. Invest everything and work like crazy.

At 45, like I am today, you won't have that luxury. But you don't have to listen to me. Do as I did. It didn't work for me. I hope it works for you.

Sports trading didn't last long, either. Three years later, I couldn't make it pay. So I jumped off my second train in life. Still living with my parents, I wasn't going bankrupt, but once again, my income was zero.

The Poker Train

Again I went hunting for the next money-making endeavor.

It didn't take me long to start playing online poker shortly after. It was now 2008, the golden era of online poker. I had another train to catch.

During my best month in poker, I made more than 60K. That's $60,000 net profit in thirty days. My bankroll was experiencing swings of 25K per day and it was nearing 200K. But until I get it in my hand, it's just numbers on a screen.

I was a regular in high-stakes cash games and once again over the moon. Then my confidence was shattered as I ran very cold. Running cold in gambling means I'm betting on tails during a hundred coin tosses, and I only win ten times instead of fifty.

I dropped stakes to preserve my capital and I was playing with scared money. Oh, do I have another piece of advice for you.

Never risk money when you're afraid. You'll never make good decisions.

Again, you don't have to listen to me. It just happens that it didn't work for me.

During this time, I got married. I kept playing poker but it was clear as day, I couldn't make a meaningful income. Then, the US legal system came down on online poker on what's known as Black Friday in poker.

Again, I was out of business. Third train gone.

The Web Publishing Train

Meanwhile, I was building my blog and other websites.

My Greek blog had started becoming popular and profitable when they let me know that state authorities were watching over my shoulder. I wasn't doing anything illegal, but I was operating in a grey market so to speak. Gambling has always been that kind of market, even today.

Anyway, that's a whole story for another video. Long story short, I took the website down and ended partnerships. Income zero.

Time to become a dad, I suppose!

I can see you laughing now. Yes, looking back, I myself wonder what I was thinking at several points in my life.

Anyway, one of my other websites, which's totally irrelevant to gambling, had begun getting significant traffic. Talking about thousands of visitors per day. And I had published only five articles there.

I quit poker entirely, focused on that website, and began making 2k a month in profit. Constantly. With no variance. While I was sleeping.

I could now call myself a web publisher. Or a solo entrepreneur. Or any other title that could make me look professional.

Because I wasn't.

And we come to this very week that I'm making this video. The week that everything fell apart because of a Google update.

The website is losing top rankings in the search engine. The site no longer ranks for 70% of the keywords it used to rank for six months ago. Traffic is down 50% and by the looks of it, it will continue losing traffic.

No matter what I do, Google doesn't love it anymore. I'm holding onto the train for my dear life. I’m going to income zero. For the fourth time. Only now, people depend on me. And this time, I am going bankrupt.

With bills to pay, a family to raise, and not enough income, that's how you go bankrupt.

What's the point of going public?

So, Jim, why do you make this video? Shouldn’t you be working on recovering the website?

Yes, I should. And I am. But I’m working on that 12 hours a day, for two weeks now. I sleep 5 hours a day max. I have panic attacks and severe anxiety. I need a break. I need to share this story.

Maybe I’m doing it for my daughter. Perhaps my story will go viral one day that I won’t be around. And then she is the one who gets all the rewards from my work. Because right now, it looks like I will leave nothing behind for her.

Oh did I tell you that she didn't go to school today because she's sick and she's watching TV in the living room? Yes, absolutely nothing seems to work lately.

So, this is the story of how I am going bankrupt.