A Guide on How to Become a Professional Poker Player

how to become a professional poker

Is playing poker your hobby? Have you ever thought of turning your hobby into a career? It isn’t hard to become a professional poker player. Though it’s not assured that playing a poker game gives you regular rewards, there are a few players who have succeeded in getting a lucrative paycheck. Know how to become a professional poker player.

Before deciding to go by the success stories of poker players and deciding to go down that road, you must know that poker is a highly skilled and thrilling game and, of course, rewarding if you put your skills to test at the right time. It is important to note that being a poker professional is different from being able to play well. Becoming a professional poker player takes time, effort, money and a lot of hard work.

Poker Skills to Be Possessed by a Player

One of the major poker skills that great players possess is the ability to tell which card the opponents have. A professional poker player will be able to know what cards their opponent has by keeping note of their bets. If your opponent is an aggressive player then they are more likely to bet more even when they have small hands.

If you are determined to become a professional poker player you must be disciplined. You must know when to quit playing and have complete control over your emotions. The next must-have skill in a poker game is reading ability. You should have the ability to read the minds of opponents, their body language and emotions at the game table.

You can see subtle but important cues that can give you an insight into your opponent’s card. On the other hand, you should keep your body language and table image in check. During live games make sure that you pick your cards only when your turn comes, however curious you are to see what you have.

The next key skill is bankroll management. You should know to manage your money so that you can control your cash flow. A player should always play within their means. For instance, a player with a $200 buy-in cannot consistently play at $2/$4 and still manage to have a sufficient amount of funds to compensate for the big losses incurred.

How to Become a Professional Poker Player in Steps

If you have ever thought of making your dream of becoming a professional poker player a reality, then these steps will help you.

Step 1: Learn Every Aspect of the Game

Before playing any game it is important to study the game. Know everything about the game. Like other professions, it is important to study to become a professional poker player.

Step 2: Win to Prove Yourself

Before quitting your current job, make sure to prove that you are a winning player. Just because you have won a big poker tournament and got a lucrative pay equivalent to your wages for three months, doesn’t mean it’s time for you to quit. You need to train yourself to think in numbers because poker is a game of probabilities and precision because a single win isn’t synonymous with a streak or the ability to play the game.

Step 3: Have Realistic Expectations

Once you have established yourself as a winning player, you need to ascertain how many hands or tournaments you should play and win to sustain your lifestyle. Your aim should always be to match the amount equivalent to your current salary. You should invest more time to practice the game and you simply can’t expect to double or triple your salary.

Step 4: Build a Proper Bankroll

Figure out your budget. Bankroll is the amount of money a player sets aside to play the game.  There are poker players who have tucked away at least six months of their living expenses separated from the bankroll to manage in case things don’t go well. You should only add recreational funds to your bankroll so that even if you were to lose all your funds, you will still be able to manage your rent, healthcare, and other bills.

Step 5: Play a dignified game

Best poker players are those who show discipline and professionalism in their game. Approach your games with a professional attitude to be successful.

[Also Read: Career Guide of Sports Agent]

Perks and Downsides of Being a Poker Player

In any profession, being able to set your work hours is an advantage. In addition to this, you are doing something you love. Being a professional poker player lets you travel, explore and meet new people. Apart from playing poker online, you can attend different live poker tournaments that take place in different countries.

The main disadvantage of the poker game is that you are not going to have a monthly fixed income. And what you earn depends upon your win-rate which is unpredictable. Before deciding to play this game for a living, you must ensure to keep aside a good amount of money for bad times. Though the game is fascinating, you cannot deny that it is mentally draining. Poker is often seen as gambling by anyone outside the game and so people around you may not accept it. (1)

Professional Poker Player Salary

It is impossible to determine the average annual salary of a poker player because the pay is entirely determined by his performance, win-rate, and many other factors. However, the average annual salary of a poker player is $38,560 a year.

Becoming a Professional Poker Player – Is it For You?

If you have decided to take down this path, then ensure to commit yourself to the game. Be honest with yourself and play a dignified game. Though the online casinos are gold mines for some players, you should be aware of the sharks in the waters. (2)