Is poker your biggest passion in life, and do you dream about turning it into a career? Then you’re not alone. At some point in almost any poker player’s life, they play with the thought of living off of their earnings. But if that’s the case, why aren’t we all pros at this point? Because, as with any other profession, professional poker takes much more than just a love for the game. To be successful, you’ll need to have the right mindset and skills, be OK with an ever-changing schedule and be realistic about the lifestyle that comes with it – and know whether that’s something you can thrive in long-term.
How Much Stability Do You Need?First of all, it’s important that you’re honest with yourself about whether you can deal with having no one to impose any kind of structure on your life. Sure, it’s not all 100 % up to you, since you don’t control the times, locations or rules of tournaments. But with that being said, no one’s going to force you to sign up for games – and if you do win big, you’ll also need to have the backbone to not gamble, eat, drink or shop it all away immediately. Plus, if you’re planning on having a long-term partner or starting a family, it’s also important to consider how you’ll provide the structure needed to maintain those relationships while gambling professionally.
How Hard Are You Willing to Study?Next, you’ll have to assess how extensively you’re willing to study to learn all you need to. Especially for those who have only been playing for a few years, this is an extremely important step in building a sustainable career – and simply cannot be skipped if you wish to keep winning beyond your first few lucky streaks. To do this, take time out of your day to watch legendary games between famous players, analyze them and read up on strategies – and keep playing practice games outside of tournaments, e.g. on online platforms like the PokerStars online casino, with friends at game nights or perhaps even with a coach. And yes, experienced players will also have to keep studying on the side if they wish to keep getting better – which is the only way to stay in the game long enough to build a long, legendary career like those of the greats.
Do You Have the Right Kind of Intelligence?This is by no means meant to imply that you need a long degree in order to succeed in poker. However, you also can’t get by with nothing but good luck, nerves of steel and people skills, which is what some poker stars of previous generations claim to have started out with. Today, poker is more competitive than ever, and at the very least, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the maths at work in the game and how to utilize this knowledge to your advantage in a number of different situations.
Make Sure This Is the Life You WantLastly, don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Far too many players start out with the expectation that a successful career in poker equals a life of luxury. But unfortunately, this will never be the case for the majority of players. In reality, the lifestyle of a professional poker player often involves travel expenses like tickets, hotel stays and food, which can quickly chip away at your winnings – and if you fall into the trap of drinking and gambling beyond your means, you’ll have little to nothing left. Plus, going in with a decent bankroll is imperative to winning big, and far from every player is able to get backed, meaning they’ll have to fund it themselves.
So, if playing poker professionally is still something you want to pursue despite all of this, there’s only one thing to do: Get to work. Good luck!