It takes a certain kind of person to become a professional poker player. Among the qualities you need are resilience, skill, luck and a dedicated work ethic. But, in exchange for these, there are many advantages too. The first is the flexibility to work where and when you like, hopefully doing something you enjoy. And the second is the potentially huge payback that you can expect if you do make it.
Though, of course, just like all things in life it’s a matter of pros and cons and if you speak to any poker player they’ll be only too quick to explain all the disadvantages of trying to make it in a cut-throat world.
It’s inevitable that every player goes through losing streaks, but it’s the players who can make it through these lean periods that end up being winners in the long run. This is also going to take many hours spent at the table – one professional player interviewed by the New York Post who preferred to be known by just his first name Dave, estimated that some months he had to spend up to 400 hours to end up on top.
Strict financial discipline is also needed to protect yourself against the dangers of losses so all pro poker players agree that it’s essential keep their living expenses and their poker bankroll completely separate, never using one to pay for the other.
Even though it may be potentially a very lucrative career, telling people that you’re a professional poker player is often looked down upon. As one, also anonymous, US player has said “If you go pro, you’ll have a major gap in your resume if you ever decide to return to the working world. The general population is astoundingly ignorant when it comes to poker so if you tell a future employer that you were a professional online poker player, the odds are they will assume you were some kind of degenerate. It’s frustrating but that’s how it is”.
Forgetting the Value of Money
Another professional, called Matthew Wheat has also observed that playing poker professionally can also give a completely skewed idea of the value of money because,
” . . . when money comes and goes from your hands that quickly for long periods of time it basically becomes impossible to be frugal with your money. Most players I know will tell you that anything that costs less than $1,000 is completely irrelevant and that they don’t even give a second thought to purchasing it. This is because purchases less than that amount have no emotional impact on them; it feels like it’s free”. So while it may sound like a good problem to have, the reality is probably rather different.”
With fierce competition, the fact that you may not always be playing against the most scrupulous and honest of people and occasional stress levels that could tip many over the edge, professional poker is obviously not for everyone. But if you do have what it takes then the glamour of the casino and the prospect of the occasional six-figure win is certainly more appealing than the regular 9-5. You just need the skill, commitment, and financial reserves to turn it into reality.