Can anyone become a poker pro?

Aug 21, 2019 by

All of us dream of doing what we love for a living. For some, it can be something of a pipe dream, for example becoming a pro footballer, while for others it can be a more achievable vocation, for example taking care of animals. But how about simply playing a game that you enjoy and getting paid for it?

The increasing profile of the World Series of Poker has boosted the image of the world’s most popular card game. At the same time, the internet has made it easier than ever for anyone to play poker and improve their game. There are tournaments taking place every week, and the prize pots can be truly eye-watering. So what does it take to make a living from playing poker?

Challenge yourself

It might sound like a statement of the obvious, but to make it as a pro you have to be good – really good. That means putting in hours and hours of gameplay against as varied an opposition as possible. Regularly beating your buddies means nothing, you need to go up against different people who play in different ways. Those with a strategy, those with none, those you can read and those you can’t.

Continuous improvement

You should also keep a record of every game you play – and there will be thousands. By analyzing your results, you will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses. You will also have a clear picture of how much you are actually winning, and whether it is going to be sufficient to live on. 

Accumulate your bankroll

If you were starting a new business, you would need a certain amount of capital. Launching yourself as a poker pro is no different. The amount you need will depend on the type of games you play and the stakes. For example, in no-limit poker, you would want around 20-25 maximum buy-ins. For $500 buy-in games, that equates to a bankroll of $10,000 – $12,500.

Play online

Online poker is big business, and if you live in a location where it is permitted, this is a great way to both hone your skills and play in a low-pressure setting. Let’s be honest, it’s easier to take money from some faceless opponent in cyberspace than across a table.

Learn on the job

We’ve all heard the cliché that poker – and Texas Holdem in particular – takes minutes to learn and years to perfect. Even successful pros are on a constant learning arc, and the new pro will have lots of opportunity to develop his or her game. Be ready to learn from the best in the business – Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book is the sort of resource you will return to time and again. 

Baby steps

As your poker craft improves, you will be able to move on to bigger and better tournaments. Just keep in mind that your bankroll will need to be bigger, too, so don’t try to do too much too soon. If you overreach yourself, there is no shame in stepping back down a level for a few months.

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