So you want to start a career in professional poker? Holding on to that dream is the first step in the right direction. But, as with any professional sport, the dream has to be partnered with blood, sweat, and tears in order to reach them. Being a professional poker player doesn’t come cheap, with others spending years of time and a whole lot of cash to reach their place in the professional poker scene.
Luckily, you came to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of best practices aimed at developing skills needed for a successful poker stint. So, if you plan to level up from pay n play at casinokokemus casual games to the big leagues, these tips are sure to help jumpstart your budding poker career.
Top tips for pursuing a career in professional poker
1. Have a real passion for Poker
2. Be a student of the game
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
4. Develop a Poker Mindset
5. Set a proper playing limit – and stick to it
6. Stay healthy
7. Learn from your mistakes
8. Retain a consistent schedule
9. Know when to throw in the towel
Have a real passion for Poker
While many players enter the professional level for their interest or skill, not everyone stays engaged for a long time. Why? Because the interest dies fast when the game turns into a grind. Just like any job, if you don’t have a deep love for what you’re doing, you’ll get burned out faster than a candle on a hot summer day.
That’s why it is important to ask yourself the big question before moving up in your poker career: “Am I in it for the long haul, or is this just a hobby?” Most professional poker players with decades-long careers encourage a real love of poker as the driving force for playing.
If money is the main goal for pursuing professional poker, then going full-time might not be the best option. Although it is true that many professional poker players earn up to $1000 per hour (https://www.blackrain79.com/2020/09/professional-poker-player-salary.html) for high-stakes games, getting to that caliber takes years of experience and a really long grind.
Be a student of the game
It’s one thing to play poker for fun, it’s another thing to make the decision to play poker for a living. Becoming a pro at poker takes more than just knowing the basics, but having an in-depth understanding of how the game works inside and out.
• Choose your specialization. Begin your journey by choosing the game type (https://www.888poker.com/magazine/strategy/poker-variations) you want to focus on, whether you prefer cash games, multi-table tournaments, or online poker. This gives you a concrete path to follow and a direction on where to put your efforts on, instead of wandering around from game to game. The big mistake rookies make is not specializing in a poker type, which eats out a lot of time, resources, and energy, causing faster burnout.
• Hit the books. After choosing your desired game type, take time to research the game type you’re specializing in. There are a lot of resources online and in print that provide all the information you need regarding these game types and ways to master them. This also applies to learning the rules for the game, along with the nuances it has. Having the game’s rulebook mastered will guide you in making the right plays and save you a lot of losses in the long run.
• Ask other professional poker players. Nothing beats a wise sage in getting first-hand information regarding the field you want to dive into. Most pros nowadays have social media accounts where you can ask questions regarding the game and take inspiration from what they did.
• Keep learning. Poker is a dynamic game, with new strategies and insights discovered on a regular basis. Staying on top of your game is the best way to remain relevant and in tune with the current poker scene. The day you stop improving in the game is the day you begin falling in poker.
Practice, Practice, Practice
They say “practice makes perfect,” and this adage applies in professional poker more than anywhere else. The top names in professional poker spent countless hours in practice, perfecting their craft through constant exposure.
Playing games is the best way to see how well you understand the game’s rules, as well as how to best implement the strategies you’re learning along the way. This also boosts your confidence in playing poker, giving you a much-needed boost for bigger tables and larger bets.
When starting out, seek out smaller tables with lower bets to maximize your learning while extending your bankroll. Take time to learn from each table, see what works and what does not.
Once the confidence builds up, take it one step higher and go for the next table. Keep raising the bar and continue to enhance the skills you are getting, refining techniques and improvement strategies.
Develop a Poker Mindset
Poker is more of a mental game than a physical one, where having quick wits and great control over emotions play key factors in winning tournaments. Making bluffs, staying composed at all times, and dealing with the day-to-day grind brought by professional poker take a lot of mental fortitude. As such, professional poker is not recommended for the emotionally weak or unstable.
The good thing is that having the right poker mindset can be learned through training and constant practice. Developing this skill helps in handling difficult and stressful situations both in-game and in setting up strategies. Hiring a professional mental coach to aid in training and improving in having the “Poker Mindset” does wonders for aspiring stars.
Additionally, avoid playing when you’re not in the proper headspace. Not only will this greatly affect your decision-making skills, but could also cause bigger problems in the future when left unchecked. There are great poker players that had their careers cut short due to flared tempers and unfortunate mishaps brought by uncontrolled emotions.
Set a proper playing limit – and sticking to it
Professional poker involves a lot of money and knowing how to properly manage it makes the difference between a successful pro and an early retirement. Many great poker players are forced to end their careers prematurely because of a depleted bankroll.
Securing a bankroll that can sustain you is paramount to a prolonged professional poker career. You’ll need some funds to pay for buy-ins to participate in games, as well as some rebuys when the slump comes crashing in. If going for the live poker scene, you have to consider travel expenses, accommodations, and food during events. For online players, internet bills have to be added to the expenses.
We recommend setting a budget for playing, especially during practice games. Following a good budget, strategy keeps you in the game without affecting your bottom line. It also lessens your emotional and mental burden, allowing you to focus on the game rather than on what will happen next.
If the budget is low, satellite tournaments are your best friend (https://www.poker-king.com/dictionary/satellite/). Buy-ins are usually lower than most high-stakes games, and finishing well on these tournaments helps you qualify for bigger and grander tournaments.
Losing months are a part of a professional poker’s life, and that’s a hard truth that beginners must accept and deal with before venturing forward. Securing an emergency fund that covers at least a year of living expenses should keep you afloat when times go rough as you pursue a professional poker.
It’s no secret that living the professional poker lifestyle is prone to unhealthy habits that can cause serious health risks in the long run. This is especially true in live poker games, where the alcohol is free, the buffets are cheap, and you spend long hours at night sitting on tables. Plus, having sick days not only means missing important events but also racks up the hospital bills, directly affecting your budget.
The key to staying healthy is deciding to practice a healthier lifestyle. Having a proper diet and regular exercise can do wonders to the body and the mind, helping you stay in the proper condition and mindset. No need for a gym membership of exclusive food as well, as maintaining good eating and workout regimen are all you need to stay in shape.
Also, seek the benefits that playing poker can give you. Studies show that gambling helps with the reduction of stress (https://www.businessmodulehub.com/blog/casinos-and-health-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-gambling/), sharpens the player’s mind, and makes a person relatively happier. This stabilizes a player’s mental condition significantly, improving both the mind and emotions.
Learn from your mistakes
Making mistakes in poker games is a part of growing with the sport, more so in a professional’s early years. Whether it’s tipping others off on your hand or making the wrong calls in bets, mistakes will happen over time. Even the greatest of poker players will slip up once in a while.
When times like these occur, it is best to reflect on them and see how to improve. Study your wrong calls and avoid making the same mishaps. Check your weak spots and bolster them to enhance your gameplay.
Practice plays an important role in learning from mistakes, constant play exposes your blind spots to you and other players. Having regular sessions, whether with friends or on online tables, lets you tweak your playstyle to suit your personal taste.
Retain a consistent schedule
As a professional poker player, it’s understandable to have a deep love for poker and would want to play at all times, whether for fun or for profit. However, this could be detrimental to a player’s long-term career, as it often leads to burnout or exhaustion from frequent exposure.
A great way to circumvent this issue is by having a consistent schedule that allows you to have enough time for practice, to play games, and to have personal time to do other things. This way, you get to enjoy the game you love without smothering yourself with it.
For those who struggle with keeping a schedule, it will help to have a manager to guide your activities. Speaking to a life coach or mentor can also assist in developing the right mindset to maintain a healthy work schedule.
Know when to throw the towel
Professional poker is not all rainbows and butterflies; there are times when we have to accept our losses and move on with our lives. Not everyone gets to live the dream, with the competitive poker scene only becoming more competitive over the years.
So, whether knowing when to fold or when to end a poker career, know when it’s the right time. Most pros that consistently fail in tourneys and deplete their bankroll take these as signs to end the journey. This is way safer and more beneficial than continuing a losing battle and accruing debt as you go along.
Even when players quit or stop going pro, the beauty of poker is still there. You can still play small matches or local events for small pots, you can even play online for fun. Some even turn their professional playing career as inspiration for others, becoming coaches or mentors for the next generation of professional poker players.
Conclusion Poker is indeed an interesting game that captures the hearts of many, with many players desiring to go pro. Now that you have the basic knowledge to pursue a professional career, make that decision and start chasing your dreams. Remember that more than skill, a strong mindset, and a proper bankroll propels a professional poker play