Do you think you have what it takes to play poker professionally?
There’s a list of things you should consider before diving into the glamorous world of becoming a professional poker player. The first and the foremost thing before you even consider poker as a profession should be whether you have been playing it long enough to know all the prerequisites of the game. Do you even enjoy playing it rather than simply looking at the money you can potentially make. It doesn’t remain just a game after this, it becomes something you do for a living and a purpose, so take it seriously. And unlike most other jobs you should actually enjoy doing it on a regular basis.
Here’s a list of pros and cons that you should be aware of before coming to any conclusions.
You don’t need a college degree.
Let me state the obvious here- You really don’t need a college degree or diploma of any sorts or even years of training before actually diving straight in the field. Heck you don’t even need a school degree. There are tons of material online for you to read and understand the game better. And there is no alternative to actually playing hands everyday. You learn and grow as you play. Now don’t get me wrong here, becoming a WSOP champion isn’t a cakewalk and requires immense practice and skills before you even become worthy of competing against the high-ranking players, but the good news is that with enough dedication, willingness to learn, observation skills and experience it isn’t impossible to achieve and you can surely get there.
The money is good.
One of the biggest drivers is the big bucks that you can potentially make. If you’re able to up your skills you can definitely make (or don’t get me wrong but also lose) blinding amounts of cash. However it isn’t as easy as it looks and doesn’t happen overnight. You need to be good or develop the art of efficient money management over time before dreaming of the luxurious and lavish lifestyle already. Also, be weary of the swings of the game and going on tilt time and again.
A chance to do what you love.
Let’s face it, you considered becoming a professional player and made it this far in the blog post mainly for your love of the card game. And what can be better than making a living out of doing something that you absolutely love. It acts as such an intrinsic motivator and provokes you into becoming better day-by-day. It is a game which offers you something new with each passing day and the fact that you’re risking something with each bet in itself gives some people that kick.
Lots of game variants to try out.
Although Texas Hold ‘Em is the most frequently and widely played form of poker out there, there are various other forms of the game like Razz, Omaha Hi, Draw Poker and the Seven Card Stud, of which so many people haven’t even heard of. You can always attempt to learn these and diversify your portfolio to switch things up a bit every now and then or simply because you feel that there’s too much competition in the more common form of the game. If you want to get at the top, considering these isn’t a bad idea.
Say goodbye to 9 to 5 jobs.
Probably one of the best things of being a Professional poker player is that you get the freedom to decide your “working-hours”. Now of course when you take part in tournaments and championships you do strict fixtures to adhere to but it’s totally up to you when you want to take something up. There might be certain days when you’re feeling a bit under the weather, nobody is going to push you into playing those days. Similarly on certain days you can probably spend hours together at the table. You have the complete freedom!
It takes time to make the cut.
The most important thing to consider is that you’ll be in it for the longer-run. Don’t just expect to wake up someday and somehow become the world champion or a pro. Poker is more of a skill-based game and it may require you a couple of years even to fully understand the game, it’s players and your own gameplay and strategies. In order to ensure regular winnings you need a great deal of practice. You shouldn’t get demotivated in between and simply get tired of it.
There is a significant capital requirement.
As many may beg to differ, poker does require a considerable amount of buy-in capital in order to play in the higher leagues, and not just once but rather time and again. This can be simply because you did lose a good amount of money in that one turn of events. The question is where are you going to get that kind of money to get back on your feet again? Even when you’ve just started with your journey as a professional player you will need some buy-in capital to play a sizable amount of hands or rounds.
Irregularity and Inconsistency of income or cashflows
This is a game filled with risks and a professional player has to be ready to face all sorts of risks at any given point of time. Although exciting and challenging, it can definitely get mentally, physically and financially draining at times for even the best of the people. It doesn’t ensure you a very regular source of income and you are going to come across those hazy days when you get up from a table with an empty pocket. You can’t always paint a rosy picture. Some players even get frustrated looking at their net earnings in a given time frame compared to the amount of time and effort they put in. It can also take a toll on you due to constantly losing money in a series of games to the point where all you want to do is give up. It happens even to the most dauntless of the lot; it’s definitely not for the faint at heart.
A High Level of Skill Requirement.
Poker is a game that requires a high level of skill set that only comes with practice and experience. In fact, maybe only 10% of the players are making good money of the game. You might not be just as good at it as you think you are and therefore assessing your overall win-rate as well as rating yourself is crucial, although it is very difficult to actually ever measure it considering that you play with different opponents and a different hand each time. The odds of that being replicated are minute. Over-assessing or underestimating yourself may only lead you into huge losses.
Relatives and family might not understand.
Something that you will mainly have to face in our country is criticism from the orthodox set of society who will keep judging you and will criticize you for taking up Poker as your profession. It is still considered as gambling by a large chunk of people who have very little or no knowledge in this field and you will often find them arguing that poker isn’t a real profession. The key here is to stay true to yourself and pay a deaf ear because at the end of the day it is something you like and you want to do.
At the end of the day my only suggestion is that after considering all of this if you’re still a little dicey and indecisive, try testing the waters first. Nobody is asking you to hands down quit your existing job and jump right into it. The beauty of it is that you can always give it a try first and if it is something that interests you, go ahead. However do not form an opinion based on a few initial wins or losses, there's a long way to go.