The last winner of the World Series of Poker, 22-year-old Joe Cada, had been legally able to play poker in a casino for less than a year. Yet by the time he blew away the competition at the WSOP, Cada had played millions of hands—by his reckoning, 2,000 a day—for real stakes, online. Internet poker has revolutionizing the real-world version, helping teens gain impressive amounts of experience—and the winnings to prove it.
Before hitting the big time, Cada says, he won $20,000 in a good week on his home computer. There are scads of other examples, though not all of them will win a WSOP: Blaine Brount, a 19-year-old University of Illinois student, sees it as more employment than entertainment. "I'm not gambling to see what's going to happen, I'm trying to make a profit," Brount tells ABC News. "I pay my rent, I pay my bills by playing online poker ... if you're smart about it and manage your money well, it absolutely can be a real job."