Professional poker players can enjoy the same level of celebrity and the same sizable earnings as sports stars in other fields. So it’s definitely a career path that might appeal to aspiring amateurs who enjoy poker and think they could make a living from it. With that said, it’s not an easy path, and it takes a lot of work to get to the elite playing level.
So what are the steps you’ll need to take to transform yourself into a poker pro, and how can you be sure that this is the right decision?
Get plenty of practice
Before you can even think of going pro, you need to cut your teeth on the poker scene, learning the ropes and building your skills.
The best way to do this and speed up your learning curve is by getting as many hands in as possible quickly by playing online, as it is both the most convenient and accessible form that poker takes.
Of course you will need to live in a jurisdiction that has online poker available, because rules and regulations differ from place to place. New Jersey is a great example of a U.S. state that supports legal online gambling, and you can get familiar with poker at an NJ online casino if you are a resident or physically located within the confines of the Garden State.
The more you play poker online, the more experienced you will become. Of course not everyone is cut out to be a pro, and if you find that you are losing more than you are winning, or you are simply not able to handle the pressure of playing for real money, then it’s probably worth sticking with your day job.
If you discover you’ve got a particular aptitude for poker during online play, then all the better. Some professionals just stick to making money from web-based games, and never head to land-based casinos, so this could be the first and last step if you are content to adopt an introverted career in poker.
Learn from the experts
Another great way to get better at poker is to see how the world-class players handle things when they are under the spotlight.
Checking out televised poker tournaments, such as the WSOP, and watching live streamed games on services like Twitch as well as poker vlogs on YouTube, will let you absorb the tactics and techniques that separate the professionals from the wannabes.
There are also plenty of great books on poker which you should aim to devour if you can. While hands-on experience is all well and good, sometimes it’s better to get clear, concise instructions both on the rules of the games and how to use them to your advantage.
Build a bankroll
Without a bankroll, you can’t hope to gain traction in the poker scene. Having cash set aside to fund your poker career is important, both as a means to get your foot in the door of tournaments and cash games, and also to ensure financial stability.
It’s a bad idea to go all-in on poker from day one. Instead, start small and manage your bankroll as wisely as possible without dipping into any of your other savings.
If your bankroll grows organically as you play and win, great! If it shrinks and needs to be replenished, then again this is a signal that you should probably choose a different way of making a living (or that you’re approaching poker wrong and might need to get some proper training).
Keep up the momentum
Like any skill, poker is something you need to work on consistently. You cannot afford to stop playing or studying for long periods of time, or else you’ll have become rusty by the time you return, and it could be a real setback versus the competition that hasn’t relented.
In short, people with a passion for poker could go pro, so long as they weigh the risks, dedicate enough time to it, follow in the footsteps of icons of the game and manage their bankroll responsibly.