How to Become a Pro Poker Player

Since Texas Holdem became popular, many Americans have been interested in playing poker professionally. Pro poker players seem to have quite glamorous lives. They make tons of money in what’s certainly a very cool way. If you’ve played in a few tournaments and you’ve done fairly well, you might consider playing poker as a career.

Before you get started, though, you really need to take a few minutes to understand what will be required of you. Professional poker players live in a harsh world. Here’s a look at the steps you’ll need to take in order to become a pro poker player.

First of all, consider what you’re getting into. Playing professional poker is a serious move. If you’re successful, you’ll have a hectic schedule. You’ll have to fly out to different cities for tournaments. Your income will be completely random. Credit can be difficult, given the occupation. You’ll have to do a lot of work to play poker, and you’ll have to play extremely often.

That’s just if you’re successful. If you aren’t successful, you’ll lose a lot of money. The old gambling mantra, “don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose” is especially true. If you can’t afford to live a few months without any income, professional poker probably isn’t for you.

Do your research. If you’re serious, you’re going to be reading. A lot. You need to look into the playing styles of all of the greats. You’ll have to read up on different strategies. Most importantly, you’ve got to read about every poker game to pick one that’s right for you. Holdem is great, but the market’s very crowded. You’ll have a tough time gaining a foot hold in that game.

There are big differences when stakes are brought into the equation. High stakes poker is a completely different game from low stakes poker. No limit is different from either type. The game that you play on Friday nights with friends will need to change extensively. Poker is a highly psychological game, but it’s scientific, too. You need to do a ton of research before you even get your first professional hand dealt to you.

Be ready for hard work. In addition to the reading, there’s memorization to take on. You need to know the odds of every hand. No professional poker player ever plays a hand on “a hunch.” It’s a careful mathematical equation for many of them. For others, it’s psychological, reading on cues from the other players. In any case, you’re going to have to know the odds every time.

Keep your day job. The best way to become a pro poker player is to start it as a past time. This will give you an opportunity to learn everything you need to know, without putting you in financial danger. Enter tournaments occasionally, but don’t up and quit your day job immediately. Supplement your normal income with poker winnings. Play every night on the Internet, and play in person anywhere you can afford to. If you begin to do really well, then consider quitting.

Do you know of any great tips for becoming a pro poker player? Post in our comments section below.


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