Dutch Boyd is a professional poker player and a “part-time” domainer as he describes on his blog, DutchBoyd.com. He has won 2 WSOP bracelets and has some other interesting facts on his resume. Dutch has a bit of a roller coaster of a past with some highs and lows. Coming off his latest WSOP and focusing on domain development for some items in his portfolio, I’d say he’s on a high at the moment. He took a few minutes to share some information about himself.
Mike: Looking at your bio on DutchBoyd.com, there are a few interesting facts. First, you are the 2nd youngest law school graduate ever, starting college at age 12. Tell me more about your early years that led you to college at such a young age. What attracted you to Law School?
Dutch: I pretty much just fell into it. I was going to middle school in a really small town in Missouri. Less than a thousand people. When I was 11 and going to middle school I took the ACT as part of an enrichment class I was in. I ended up scoring a 23 on it out of 36, which isn’t exactly stellar, but it beat out the average score of the high school seniors. There was an open admissions policy at the local community college. They’d let anyone in who scored higher than an 18. My mom asked if I wanted to start taking classes there instead of going to middle school. When she explained that going full-time and taking 12 hours meant sitting in class for two hours a day instead of eight, I jumped at it. I dropped out of middle school and started going to college part-time in January 2003 a few weeks after I turned 12.
I only took 6 hours that first semester because we didn’t really know how I’d manage college… but I did fine. Went half-time that summer and then started full-time in the fall. After I got my associates degree at the community college, I transferred to Central Missouri State and started working on my Bachelor’s in Computer Science. In my junior year, I took the LSAT, which is the test you take to get into Law School. I kicked ass on it and got a 165 out of 180. Which is a pretty decent score for anybody… and I was 14. So I was going to be able to get into most any state law school. I applied and got accepted to Missouri University in Columbia and started law school at 15 after finishing up my BA. I can’t say I was superpassionate about law… it was just going to be a job for me. I was a teenager and didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I didn’t really find anything I was super passionate about until I discovered poker.
Mike: How did you get involved in poker?
Dutch: I always really loved all games growing up… Scrabble, Monopoly, Nintendo. I remember the first hand of poker I was ever dealt was when I was 10 and visiting my grandma for a weekend with my little brother. She pulled out a deck of cards and a big back of tootsie rolls and sat down on the living room floor with us and divvied the candy up. Then she dealt us each five cards and taught us how to play Five Card Draw. It was an awesome night.
I didn’t really get into poker, though, until law school. I think I must have been in my third year when Rounders came out in theaters. The movie, which stars Matt Damon and Ed Norton, focuses on Damon’s character who is a law student who plays pro poker in some of the underground cardrooms in New York. That movie changed my life. Up until then, I had never even heard of Texas Holdem and I certainly didn’t know people were playing cards for a living. And then this movie comes along with my favorite actor playing a law student who drops out to be a poker pro. It struck a chord and felt like a calling. I went to the library and checked out every single book I could find about poker. Then I searched on the Internet and found a couple places to play online. I missed a lot of classes that last year. I was hooked.
After I finished law school I moved out to San Jose to live with my brother who was working a Silicon Valley job. I started playing at some of the bricks and mortar cardrooms around the valley like Bay 101, Lucky Chances, and Garden City. I was underage, but very rarely got carded… when I finally turned 21 I got a job as a prop player at Garden City. That’s where I’d say I really grinded my teeth and came into my own as a poker player. After a little time there, I started following the tournament trail and doing pretty well. I made a really deep run in the World Series main event in 2003, finishing 12th and bluffing all my chips off in front of the ESPN cameras to the eventual winner, Chris Moneymaker. I won my first World Series bracelet in 2006 and my second this summer.
Mike: You’re also a domainer, how long have you been involved in the domaining industry? How did you get started?
Dutch: I registered my first domain in 1999. My little brother and I decided to try to make an online poker site and we picked up PokerSpot.com for the project. We spent about two years on the project and were definitely over our heads. For awhile it was looking like the site was going to be huge, but it eventually failed and I went back to the felt. I registered a lot of really good poker domain names back then… but I didn’t know what I was doing and let all of them expire.In 2003 after I had my deep run in the WSOP main event, I ended up cashing for about $80k. I still thought there was a lot of potential in domain names and the Internet and I used about $15k going on a hand-regging spree. All the great poker domains were already taken, but I did manage to handreg some real gems.
About six months later, one of the Fabulous.com guys emailed me and invited me to park the portfolio with them. I had never heard of parking domain names and up until then all of my domains were basically just a big $15/yr money hole. I started parking them and couldn’t believe how much those clicks paid. It still boggles my mind that people actually click on parking page links… but enough do that it started paying the bills and definitely was more consistent money than poker.I fell in love with domaining then… and for the first time since I discovered poker, I found something that I was really passionate about. I’ve been pouring over drop lists ever since!
Mike: Do you have any developed domains, or are you primarily an investor?
Dutch: I have a few good developed domains… PokerTells.com
is one that I’m pretty proud of. One of my handregs. Also worked up my own parking pages that I think look pretty good… you can see an example at PokerTilt.com
. Primarily, though, I fall into the trap that I think most of us do… the acquisition is the fun part for me. I kind of feel like we’re in this golden age of domaining where there are so many great acquisition opportunities.
For awhile, I decided that most of my time was best used picking up new domains instead of developing the ones I have. I will say, though, that I’m starting to spend a lot more time developing then I used to. I recently started kind of getting into the mindset that if a domain isn’t at least making it’s regfee every year then it’s not worth having… so I turned off my autorenew and started saying goodbye to a lot of my domains. That really got me in the developer mindset and now I’ve been trying to turn all these little $8 moneypits into small profits. Started building out really ugly mini-sites… WatchNecklace.com and WannaBeAModel.com were my first couple of attempts. Those domains were making a couple bucks a year parked, but fell short of the reg fee. So I slapped up the mini-sites and now they are each making several times what they cost me. They’re very ugly sites, but they’re making a few bucks a month and I don’t have to do anything with them.
My newer efforts are a little more polished. A couple examples are ArcadeNinjas.com
, which I handregged a few months ago and tried parking with no luck… so I ran a $30 logo contest on NamePros and bought a $10 arcade script. It’s not making me millions, but it made $2.64 in the last week on adsense… so it’s no longer a money pit and it’s worth keeping.
VegasAnswers.com went a similar path (although I still haven’t done a logo contest for it and did the ugly logo myself). Handregged… installed a script… turned a domain that makes less than $regfee a year into one that makes greater than $regfee a year.
Mike: What are some of the names you have in your portfolio?
Dutch: I’m sitting on about a thousand domains right now. My best one is hands down Cured.com. I picked it up for a grand last year from the original owner when it expired and was in the redemption period. Sold it on sedo about a month ago for $25k.
I’ve got a lot of good poker ones… HeadsupPoker.com, PocketJacks.com, Checkraiser.com. Some better non-poker ones are Player.tv and PrisonLife.com.
My favorite domain in my port right now is probably Nineball.com.
Mike: Can you share the some of the other names you have sold and at what price?
My biggest sale so far (that went through 🙂 was PokerHost.net for $10k. There was a company who started a site at PokerHost.com and I had registered PokerHost.net when I tried registering the .com and it was already taken. They actually tried to take it through a UDRP, but they had started their site well after I had registered my .net so they lost their case after I pointed that out in my response. I sold UniversityPokerTour.com for $5k, CruisePoker.com for $2k, PokerMax.com for $3k, ReviewPoker.com for $2k… a lot of $1k domains. I’ve got about five on the top 100 list of poker domains that have sold.
Honestly, though, I can’t really say that I’ve sold a lot of domains. Probably less than hundred in my domaining career and the bulk of those for less than a hundred to other domainers on the forums.
Mike: Which do you find more fulfilling, domaining or poker and why?
Dutch: I definitely see more of a future in domaining. Even though an hour grinding online pays better than an hour spent domaining, I love the whole passive income aspect of setting up a mini-site and watching it turn a profit. I don’t think a lot of people, even domainers, really get how much of a future there is in what we are doing. The kids growing up right now that are natives to the Internet… in ten years they’re going to be dropping out of Harvard and coming up with the next killer app and they’re going to need a domain name for it. The old guard who balks at spending seven or eight figures on category killer domains… they’re going to be replaced by these kids who aren’t going to argue that a domain like Candy.com or Sex.com is worth eight figures.
Domaining is also much more of a socially positive endeavor than poker. Every dollar I take at the poker tables comes out of the pocket of someone else. It’s an even sum game until you factor in the rake and then it’s a negative sum game. Domaining is different than poker in that respect… it’s a positive sum game and something I can feel better about doing. There are no losers with what we do.