It’s an appealing idea, isn’t it? Living on your wits, travelling from glamorous casino to glamorous casino, picking up five or six figure winnings along the way and being answerable to no-one. This is exactly the kind of lifestyle that more and more people are enjoying today as they throw in their hand with regards to the world of steady employment and decide to take their chances as poker professionals.
So how would you fancy joining them, and how simple could it be? Well hopefully this article will shed a little light on the matter.
It’s undoubtedly true that there is a living to be made at the poker table either at the tables themselves or online, and when it comes to jobs working from home then the latter has the potential to be one of the most lucrative you’ll ever find.
How to join the high rollers
But if it’s such a great way to make a living, how come more people aren’t doing it? Well the simple answer is that it takes a particular kind of character to make it to the top in the game, especially if you want to have the chance of making the multi-million dollar earnings of top players like Daniel Negreanu whose lifetime winnings exceed $34 million and Vanessa Selbst with $11.85 million.
Like all fields where people make good livings, the first essential is to have a real passion for the game of poker as well as an insatiable appetite to learn as much as you can about both it and the way you tend to play. So this is going to mean not just hundreds of hours spent playing, but also studying the history of the game, the techniques of leading players and taking tutorials showing the most successful strategies in given situations.
It takes dedication
Then comes the question of whether you really do have the dedication to go through all the stages of becoming a poker pro. Like all sports from tennis to baseball, many hopefuls fall by the wayside along the way. In physical sports this may be because off career-ending injuries but in poker it’s more likely to be because of a mental fallibility of some kind.
It’s easy to underestimate the level of mental robustness and discipline needed to succeed and nowhere is this more vital than when you’re enduring a lengthy losing streak. This happens to even the best of players because, however skilled they may be at bluffing and undermining their opponents’ confidence, they can only ever play the hands that they’ve been dealt.
So it’s essential to always be able to walk away when things are not going your way, chalking it up to experience and coming back to fight another day. This is also a good moment to bring up the subject of bankroll discipline – something you’ll hear a great deal about in all forms of gambling, not just poker. This is the admission that you have a finite amount of funds available to play with, so you need to exercise caution and foresight to make sure that you have enough to stay in the game long term. So, you have to start thinking about it in terms of cashflow, just as you would if you were any kind of business.
The personal cost
The next thing to consider is the effect of being a poker pro would have on your personal life. Often games are going on at anti-social hours and tournaments might involve a great deal of travel and living out of suitcases. So often personal relationships, whether with families, friends or partners, have to take the back seat. This means that you also need the self-discipline to compartmentalise the working and leisure parts of your life and hope that those around you are happy to do the same.
On a very practical level, it’s also going to be important to understand the legal aspects of setting up as a poker pro. There are myths that go around that gambling winnings are not taxable, but the IRS certainly doesn’t take this view. In fact, the tax implications can be quite complex so getting a good accountant could be vital.
But, having said all this, there are a great number of reasons why becoming a poker professional could be one of the best moves that you ever make. You could find the highs of the good times greatly outweigh the lows of the bad and you’ll never have to turn up at the office at 9am again. And who wouldn’t want that, any day of the year?