What does it take to Become a Professional Poker Tournament Player?

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What does it take to Become a Professional Poker Tournament Player?

Have you ever wondered how you could make money at poker? Maybe you’ve fantasized about quitting your mundane 9-to-5 work and spending your days grinding on the internet. Perhaps you fantasize about going to Las Vegas and winning the World Series of Poker.

While some players do manage to become poker professionals, how easy is it in reality? And do the rewards justify the long and hard hours you will have to put in? Here are a few things you can do to start you in the right way.

Where do you even begin when it comes to playing professionally?

When you play poker as your sole source of money, it’s not the same as when you play for fun, as it is with any other profession. As a result, you’ll need to approach it differently.

You would attend law school if you wanted to change careers and become a lawyer instead of a doctor. If you wanted to be a car mechanic, you’d enroll in a school. You can probably predict where I’m heading with this.

Fortunately, you now have a plethora of options for learning poker, and if you want to take it seriously, we strongly advise you to join one of the top poker instruction sites online.

Because one thing is certain: if you want long-term success, you must outperform your competitors.

You must also realize that being a professional poker player is a solitary endeavor, and this is something you must adjust to from the start.

So, to begin, you should respond to a few simple questions:

  • Why do you want to be a professional poker player?
  • What makes you think you’ll be able to do it?
  • What do you hope to get out of this job in the long run?

All of these questions are crucial in determining whether this is something you truly want to achieve or if it’s just a pipe dream that sounds appealing.

Why do you want to be a poker pro?

Are you thinking about it because you’re sick and tired of your current job or because you love the game? Can you see yourself playing poker for hours on end and loving every minute of it?

If you’re looking for a job shift or to make more money, you should probably look at other options first. You will not succeed unless you have genuine enthusiasm and dedication.

It’s especially true in today’s harsh poker scene, where you have to work hard every day to outperform your opponents.

It’s not going to be an easy ride, so you need to be prepared from the start.

Professional poker players are constantly honing their skills and learning new things.

Even if you don’t particularly enjoy your job, there are several occupations in which you can succeed.

If you don’t appreciate all of the game’s phases, you’re unlikely to succeed in the long run. It’s not easy to love poker.

We’ve all had our fair share of terrible beats over the years, but when you play for a living, you have to understand that it will happen more often than you’d like and accept it as part of the game – which isn’t easy for most people.

Furthermore, if you want to become a professional poker player, you must understand that you will be spending a significant amount of time at the tables, and I mean a significant amount of time!

Obviously, this only applies if you desire to succeed, but that should be obvious.

Serious players work hard at their games and spend a lot of time at the table honing their abilities and learning new techniques.

As a result, if you want to give it a chance, be prepared to put in long hours. Let’s talk about how much you may expect to earn in different formats if you’re ready.

Know the rules

If you want to learn how to play poker and make living playing it, this may be the most basic guideline. You will lose money if you enter a game without a thorough understanding of the rules.

The most prevalent and popular poker variant in the world is Texas Holdem. It’s the simplest to pick up, but it also attracts the most talented players. Determine where you may obtain value from weak players and select the appropriate level to avoid losing money.

However, you may find a variety of unusual variants like Badugi and Razz at online poker sites, where the pool of good players is limited. Learning lesser-known varieties is an excellent method to learn how to play online poker like a master.

Whatever game you play, you’ll need to understand the following basic poker concepts:

  • Drawing Hands
  • Poker hand hierarchy Combinations
  • Ranges
  • Pot Odds
  • Implied Pot Odds
  • Reverse Implied Odds
  • Fold equity
  • Independent Chip Modeling
  • Expected Value

Game Theory Optimal will also be well-understood by more serious professionals (GTO). It’s a complicated poker strategy for avoiding being taken advantage of at the poker table by other players. Mastering GTO, on the other hand, is a must for progressing to the next level as a poker pro.

Practice makes perfect

Do you want to learn how to make money playing poker? It all comes down to repetition. Because of the large number of hours they put in, online pros will earn a lot of experience.

Plus, playing multiple tables at once can enhance your experience. Start by playing two or three tables at once, then gradually expand the number of tables as you gain experience.

If they don’t increase their volume, low-level pros may start at minimum wage. Even so, it’s easy to go on a losing streak or have your profits eaten away by fees and rake.

You can get more value out of your extended game sessions by practicing long and hard at smaller stakes.

Learn how and when to bluff

You won’t always be dealt a monster at poker. When studying how to become a professional poker player, it’s crucial to master the art of bluffing.

Whether you’re playing tournaments, Sit ‘n Gos, or cash poker games online, you’ll need to use your bluffing skills. You must learn to steal the blinds and be more aggressive pre-flop in order to maximize your gains.

If you have a draw, you should also 3-bet the flop and make hefty continuation bets (c-bets) if you’ve missed.

It’s all about making the most of any situation when it comes to learning how to make living playing poker. Create a persona at the table and prey on the weaker players.

Remember to use your HUD or jot down notes on the screen. You can increase your chances of winning by focusing on weak players who are prone to bluffs.

Manage your bankroll

When studying how to become a professional poker player, prudent bankroll management is essential.

To deal with the buy-ins, you’ll need a sizable bankroll. However, if you go on a long losing streak, you’ll need to keep some money in reserve.

If you’re a poker tournament player, take advantage of internet satellites. These can be good value and a terrific method to get into a tournament at a low cost.

If you’re going to play cash games, make sure you have enough cash on hand to cover rebuys. To open several tables and buy back in if you go bust, you’ll need 50-100 buy-ins.

Remember to set aside money for taxes. Professional poker players in the United States are subject to income tax on wins, so keep detailed records regardless of whether you win or lose.

Choose the right games

It’s critical to select the best poker version for you. The most popular poker variant is Texas Hold’em, which is widely available both online and in land-based cardrooms.

Before you begin, figure out what you want to play. If you have a short attention span, you should avoid tournaments and stick to cash games. Grinding cash games, on the other hand, necessitates dedication and a sizable bankroll.

Tournaments may be for you if you like the security of a guaranteed prize pool. If you enjoy tournament tactics but prefer shorter games, you might want to consider becoming a Sit ‘n Go pro.

Play responsibly

Learning arithmetic and picking the proper game aren’t the only things that go into becoming a poker pro. You must also have a positive attitude toward your bankroll and be able to recognize when to quit.

Poker is a skill game that also includes a lot of gambling. It can be incredibly addictive for some players, especially when they are pursuing losses.

Professional poker players will occasionally dabble in other types of gambling, such as sports betting or casino games. In this instance, it’s critical to keep a poker bankroll separate from any other expenses.

You should keep your poker money in a different checking account. If you win a large prize, keep track of everything that comes in and out of your account and make regular withdrawals.

Using the services of a financial expert can also be beneficial. They can advise you on how to invest your money and manage your finances.

Also, don’t be scared to ask for a stake from other participants. Staking discussions may be found on most poker forums, where you can pitch for a tournament buy-in in exchange for a share of the winnings. You will not be exposed to any financial risk, and you will be able to keep a percentage of the prize money.

Leave emotion at the door

If you want to learn how to make money at poker, you must have the right mindset. When playing, you should be mentally attentive and avoid hitting the tables if you’re “on tilt.”

Even if you make a flawless play, the odds are always in your favor. Even if a lucky player hits a two-outer against you, you should remain philosophical and accept it as part of the game.

You may prevent tilt and bad attitude if you know that your wise play will gain you money in the long run. Before you sit down to play, check your anger and emotions at the door.

Know when to quit

Not every poker pro goes on to win the World Series of Poker. Hundreds of elite players have left the game due to boredom, career changes, or simply a lack of finances.

Professional poker players quit for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is going bankrupt. They are unable to continuously gain an advantage over their opponents and are unable to break through their present stake level. They discover that they are barely getting minimum wage after laboring for 16 hours a day.

If you find yourself in this situation, take the plunge and quit. The appeal of poker is that it is always available. Playing online or in a live event can help you supplement your normal income. You can also enroll in a coaching and staking program and set your own hours.

Remember that you may often make money for free by playing poker online. Most of our top-rated sites have freerolls throughout the week, allowing you to earn some extra cash while regaining your confidence.

Pros & cons of being a professional poker player

The life of a professional poker player is not for everyone, and while it may appear to be easy on the surface, it is not.

To end off this section, here are the benefits and drawbacks of this profession so you can get the complete picture.


  • You can make a living doing what you enjoy.
  • You don’t have somebody telling you what to do or giving you commands.
  • You have more time and schedule flexibility.
  • There’s basically no limit to how much money you can make.
  • Your achievement is all yours, and you get to reap the benefits.
  • While playing poker, you can travel extensively and see the world.
  • You can develop personality traits that will benefit you in the future.


  • To begin this voyage, you must have sufficient funds.
  • Variation can be excruciatingly painful and emotionally draining.
  • There will be more effort than you anticipate.
  • It’s difficult to put in long hours of play and learning on a daily basis. It can get exhausting after a while, especially if you don’t notice any benefits.
  • Poker is a vocation that your friends and family may not approve of.