Playing poker for a living

Can you Play Poker for a Living?

I am often asked the most common question that crops up during any conversation related to poker: Can you play poker for a living? And my answer is yes, you can make a living out of poker, but it’s not as easy as it seems. Looking at the pros making millions of dollars in prize money, all of us harbor a secret dream of becoming a multi millionaire just like them, overnight. But, the truth is, these pros have gone through the grind that is poker and have managed to come out tops. Not all poker players can be world champions raking in millions of dollars in winnings per tournament. However, there are a number of online poker players who may not be millionaires but yet manage to make a decent living out of playing their game of passion, that is, poker. And their strategy does not involve investing a huge amount of money in the game; rather they make their money by playing low stake games like Sit-and-Go’s and multi-table tournaments.

Okay, so when we talk about making a living from poker, we aren’t talking of collecting huge six-figure amounts, but making enough money to justify the hard hours of work put in by players. Unless you actually take the plunge, you won’t fathom the trials that the game puts you through or the respect that poker demands of any player. Playing poker professionally involves giving more time and dedication than a regular job and doesn’t exactly lead to a fantasy lifestyle that most people imagine. There are always moments of financial insecurity and there are emotional swings that you need to live with. To be successful and to keep up paying the bills, you need to be a talented player with a will to constantly improve and have an immense passion to drive your game.

Playing poker for a living has many benefits, but you should be prepared for some negative consequences as well. Sitting before a computer, staring at the screen for long hours can be tiring and boring. My advice to those wanting to be professionals is this: try out the concept for a month or two and see if you can do it day in and day out and then make your decision. Let me caution you as to the disadvantages of professional poker before I explain the positives.

Playing Professional Poker is not without problems

  • Your online poker fortunes are given to wild swings so you must be prepared for the bad patches that are a constant part of your life. Sometimes, you might be sitting for hours at the tables hoping in vain for good cards.
  • A poker professional does not make a fixed amount of income each month. As I mentioned earlier, there are good days and bad days for your poker run so obviously your winnings depend on that.
  • Sitting for hours on end playing online poker can be an exhausting activity leaving you constantly tired, especially if you are not playing the high stakes.
  • To make up for the bad runs, you have to spend more time at playing poker. This might hardly leave any time for family and friends. Poker is a daily grind if you want to be playing for a living.

Playing poker for a living can be a an advantage too

  • Firstly, you are your own boss. No need to be up early morning and get ready to go to work. For that matter, you don’t have any schedules to follow – you can play online poker whole night and sleep the whole day if you so wish.
  • Once you know how to handle those unavoidable swings that are so much a part of poker, you can reach a level of expertise that helps you be the winner consistently.
  • Dedication to the game is the hallmark of a successful poker player. If you have the patience and the dedication to keep at the cards till you can turn luck in your favor, then there’s nothing like it. Dedication to change your strategy and your approach according to the circumstances makes you a winning poker player.
  • A winning poker player can expect the money to pour in, especially if he is a tournament winner. These days, tournament championships run into millions of dollars and if you are one of the champs, you can not only pay your bills, but have a great lifestyle too.

Some things to keep in mind for a professional poker player

Bankroll Management

Let’s face it: Playing poker professionally is all about money. You want the money for your daily living, but to do that you need to first invest a little money in the game. If its only supplemental income, you could start with a small bankroll to play low-stake games. The size does not matter, but it’s very important how you manage that bankroll. You may be an expert poker player, but if you don’t manage your investment well, you will not be successful. On the other hand, and average player can reach a high level of expertise in the game if he knows how to manage his bankroll to his advantage.

Playing Multi-Tables

Winners of online poker often make their money by playing at multiple tables at a time. But this course of action may not be for everyone. If you lose your games most of the time, there’s no way you can play at multiple tables at a time and win. Although this is a good way to make money, the actual profits may not be very lucrative, unless you are playing for reasonably high limits.

Aptitude for the game

It is not easy to play winning poker for a long term and winning consistently. To do that, you need to have the talent and the aptitude to play the game. An average player can improve his play so as to reach a high level of expertise provided he acknowledges that he is not a natural at the game. The game of poker is always evolving and someone who adapts to the changing environment can literally go places.

As a professional poker player, your main objective should be to increase your wealth, improve your lifestyle and provide for the family. This can be achieved if you play poker with a cool head and can accept downswings in the game. Bankroll management is equally important, but it pays to keep your cool and bring you best game to the table. In conclusion, I’d say that the decision is yours – if you are a passionate and talented poker player, take it up as a profession by all means.