All good things must come to an end, and poker is no exception. It's been a lot of hard work and effort, and it has paid off well over the years. Unfortunately, real life, namely graduate studies and my career, have simply become too time-consuming for me to dedicate the proper amount of time poker requires. Also, despite having a nice hourly playing cards, my real-life career hourly is now higher with much less effort and much more long-term benefits; thus, the opportunity cost of poker has now become too high for me.
I started playing casually in 2004, and more seriously in 2009 up until now, and poker has been a great teacher for many life lessons. Discipline, mental toughness, work ethic, emotional roller coasters, psychological tests of strength, poker has honed me in all those things and more over the years. It also allowed me to never work a "real" student job all the way through college, which was a very nice perk.
Perhaps one day when i'm much more established in real life I will come back as a casual player; but as of now, my online bankroll is 0$ for the first time in 8 years. Almost 2,000,000 hands later, this chapter of my life comes to an end. It's been a lot of frustration, sweat and effort, but overall i'd say poker has brought more good than bad in my life, even discounting the financial benefits. Thus, to all the grinders still playing out there, I say one final good luck at the tables!