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I am a recently graduated Mathematician in Western Europe and looking for my first job. My interest would going towards the data-related world (Data Analysis, Data Science, Statistics...) in a business environment.

I have a three-year "gap" on my history, though, as I lived as a professional online poker player during those years before resuming my education. I am afraid that many companies will not like that on my CV. Are my fears justified?

Even if many companies will refuse hiring me for my previous job, is there anything I can really do? They will ask for that gap anyway and then I will either have to adress the topic or lie, which I don't really think is a way forward.

It may also be the case that some recruiters (Western Europe) find the "poker thing" as something that makes a difference between myself and the rest of the candidates. I am not sure about that. What are your thoughts?

EDIT: I've already read this question, but the advice there is a bit outdated as both the job marketplace and the poker world have changed a lot since 2013. Playing online poker for a living was quite common in 2013, now only a handful of people do. Also, the recruiting processes of many companies have been updated and the skills needed quite different (almost nobody knew what Machine Learning or Big Data were five years ago, for instance)

It's not region-specific, I haven't made any coaching/material (which is the focus of many answers) and, finally, I am not a software developer (so "make a poker-based code thing" does not apply)

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    @gnat I've already read that question, but the advice there is a bit outdated (both the job marketplace and the poker world have changed a lot since 2013). It's not region-specific, I haven't made any coaching/material (which is the focus of many answers) and, finally, I am not a software development (so the "make a poker-based code thing" does not apply) – David Aug 26 at 10:19
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    @David The answer still applies. – Jonast92 Aug 26 at 11:17
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    @David - if you can explain how you think things have changed since that other question, in a way that shows your question could get different answers, that may help your case for reopening this question. I'm willing to guess that many people here are not familiar enough with professional poker to know the significance of any changes, so it's hard to know if your question is eligible for reopening or not. – dwizum Aug 26 at 13:52
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    @Jonast92 Since you are closing the different ones, a unique (rather than many) question is exactly what you are aiming for! Playing online poker for a living was quite common in 2013, now only a handful of people do. Also, the recruiting processes of many companies have been updated and the skills needed quite different (almost nobody knew what Machine Learning or Big Data were five years ago, for instance). If you read the answers to those questions, most of those don't apply here for the reasons I already stated – David Aug 26 at 13:58
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    @Jonast92 Let's see. The original question goes like: "Should a programmer include poker on his resume". A bunch of correct programming-focused answers pop-up. Now I want to ask a similar question applied to a different situation but for some reason I am directed to those programming-specific answers – David Aug 26 at 14:15
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You should include in your resume those experiences that you feel best demonstrate your capabilities. I would find a poker career interesting for a number of potential reasons:

  1. You’ve successfully navigated being self-employed. Self-employment, regardless of your source of revenue, is a challenging responsibility and very transferable experience to managing a budget or P&L for a team/department.
  2. You’ve demonstrated a true knack for quantitative reasoning. Without the benefit of being able to see your fellow players, you had to depend on an understanding of the mechanics and statistics of poker to be successful. You not only knew the odds, you knew how to act on them.
  3. You’ve demonstrated an understanding of human reasoning. You’ve gained an insight into the way people take risks and respond to rewards in your experience with poker. This is universally relevant to business.
  4. It’s interesting and unique. The experience definitely would stand out against a stack of average resumes.
  5. It helps me understand you. You chose to devote a substantial chunk of your life to poker. The experience is and the decision to pursue poker are both a part of who you are.

Best of luck in your job search!

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Your CV should include the most relevant experience you have which makes you suitable for the job you're applying for.

Did you use your knowledge and skills in statistics and data science during your poker career? If yes then they could be worth including, as long as you're able to highlight them as the key skills you used to be successful.

If not then don't worry - since you're at the start of your data science career, it doesn't matter very much what you did before you graduated. You don't actually have a gap on your CV at all!

You could have been working full-time in fast food for those three years, or as a lawyer, or studying part time, and it would be just as irrelevant as playing full-time poker. Your data science CV starts from the point you graduated with your degree, unless you choose to make it start earlier.

Personally on my CV I have a degree that took three years longer than expected due to circumstances in my personal life. I list my graduation date only (i.e. not the date I entered the program), because that's all that's relevant. No one has ever asked me for further details.

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