Do you have what it takes to become a professional poker player?
That is a question facing profitable players around the world on a daily basis. Still, it’s one thing to make a little cash playing online or casino games and it’s another to be of the elite few that affords you the luxury of quitting your day job.
Don’t let that dash your hopes; all professional poker players started somewhere, and continuing to develop your skills is vital for any successful gambler.
The decision of going pro or not can be excruciating. Fortunately, there are a few boxes that you can check to help determine precisely how ready you are at this moment.
Let’s look at 10 indicators that you’re ready to go pro.
1 – You’re a Master of Discipline
I can’t recall ever meeting a successful person who didn’t practice incredible discipline regarding their chosen field.
That remains true for people in business, professional athletes, fellow writers, and even professional gamblers. For our purposes, we’ll focus specifically on poker players.
Poker players face enhanced risk when they begin engaging in undisciplined behavior. The entire game is far more a game of skill than it is left up to chance.
The fact that poker is skill-based means that each decision you make on the poker table will impact how you perform.
Discipline is necessary for every aspect of poker life, from bankroll management to continue to improve. If you’re not willing to practice the discipline required, you’re better off stopping the bid now.
2 – You’ve Demonstrated Excellent Money Management
Being a professional gambler requires excellent money management. Possessing the fundamental skills of bankroll management may not be enough to sustain a professional poker player.
When you’re using your gambling bankroll to fund your gambling habits, things are relatively light and fun. However, becoming a professional puts an incredible amount of pressure on your bankroll management skills.
Suddenly, simply breaking even isn’t fun and games. Every area of your life is depending on your money management, inside the casino and out.
Your mortgage, groceries, phone bills, car payments, fun money, and other expenses are all being covered by your poker winnings, not to mention your kid’s college tuition and retirement account.
The life of a pro poker star isn’t always easy, and the strain can send some players to the brink of a mental breakdown.
If you’ve shown past inabilities to manage your finances, get that in order before you make a run at the pro circuit.
3 – You’re a Pro at Picking the Right Games
More often than not, winning at poker comes down to being better than the players around you, not being the best player around.
That may be the lifestyle of the well-established elite players. Still, far more professional poker players never make it in front of the television cameras.
You’d be shocked at the number of professional poker players that spend their days on the lower-stakes games. That boils down to finding the most suitable games.
These games are full of less skilled opponents, which can spell a nice payday for a poker pro. If you’re having trouble finding profitable games, learn to spot where you have an advantage before putting in your two weeks.
4 – You Enjoy Your Time at the Tables With Other Players
My dad always told us to find something we love and figure out how to make money doing it. That goes for professional poker players, too.
Let’s suppose that you enjoy the time spent at the tables. You’re likely on the right track. There will be days when you pull marathon sessions trying to squeeze every last dime from the well as a professional.
It’s essential that you’re enjoying what you’re doing. If you dread your time in the poker room, you may be barking up the wrong tree.
Take some time to find pleasure in the little things, and the big things will begin to fall in line.
5 – You’ve Learned All the Numbers
If you don’t understand the basic probabilities of poker hands, you’re wasting your time chasing a poker career.
If you haven’t taken the time to learn the math behind poker, you’re still okay. However, it’s paramount that you take this vital step before turning in your key card and parking permit.
Luckily, this is a matter of simple practice. The resources are all over the internet. Several books can get you headed in the proper direction.
6 – You’re Able to Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic goals is an essential attribute for successful gamblers. Many people have the tendency to set goals that are unattainable in the early stages.
For example, I knew a guy in college that dropped out to make a million dollars playing poker. I’m not exaggerating; that was the full extent of his plan. He did not make a million in poker or anywhere else, the last I heard.
A successful person will make realistic long-term and short-term goals. So, you may have a goal of making $52,000 your first year as a poker pro.
That may be broken down into a goal of $1,000 per week, then down to $200 per day. It’s certainly easier to win $200 than it is to win over $50k.
7 – You’re Bluffing the Proper Amount
You’re not always going to have mammoth hands when it’s time for you to make a move. That means you’re going to need to utilize the proper bluffing technique.
In poker, when you bluff is often as important as how you bluff. There’s a subtle science to the art of bluffing. A good player will spend years perfecting their technique; great players will spend a lifetime.
One of the most effective techniques for making money on the poker table is stealing blinds. Bluffing pre-flop is an excellent way to push weaker opponents off their chips.
If you get caught, allow discretion to the better part of valor and cut your losses. When you’ve mastered the art of bluffing your opponents off pots, you may be ready to make a living playing poker.
8 – Patience Is Your Best Virtue
Professional poker players must have an immense amount of patience. Otherwise, they’re destined to be bankrupt.
Poker is as much a waiting game as it is anything. You’ll need to endure hours on the tables where you only get a few feasible hands worth playing.
Impatient individuals will become bored quickly and begin trying to force opportunities. Inevitably, this will lead to costly mistakes.
As a professional gambler, you can’t afford to make mistakes regularly. However, suppose you’re able to wait for hours until the conditions become favorable. In that case, you may be ready to join the ranks of a professional poker player.
9 – You Don’t Like to Quit
To become a sustainable poker pro, you need to eliminate any notion of quitting. I’ve seen hundreds of aspiring poker stars call it quits at the first sign of adversity.
Look, making a living as a poker player is challenging under the best of circumstances. You’re going to be faced with setbacks.
If you’re prone to giving up when the going gets tough, you’re not cut out to be a professional poker player.
10 – You’re Only Committing to the Best Hands
Committing to only playing the best hands is a confluence of patience, persistence, discipline, and knowing the numbers.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to play trash cards and chase hands at the poker table. It’s the players that can sit idly by and wait for the best hands that turn a profit.
Taking a tight-aggressive approach with premium hands is an excellent technique for playing the best cards. Once you’re confident that you’re only committing to the best hands, you may start looking at making the step up to the top tier.
Making a living as a professional poker player is the dream that tons of casual and advanced players share. Don’t let fear stand between you and your dreams.
If you’re good enough to make a living playing poker, you likely already know. Still, you can become good enough with devotion. You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
Mark the boxes of the 10 indicators that you’re ready to go pro and be confident that you’re prepared to enjoy the ride.