If you are an internet denizen who has even dabbled in poker, the thought has probably crossed your mind: “Wow, what if I could make my living playing poker online. How hard could it be, really?”. An excellent question, but one which underestimates the difficulty of making an easy living. As the old adage says, if it were easy everyone would be doing it.
Blah blah blah, it’s hard…we get it. But what does it actually take to make your living this way? In fact, there are some pretty comprehensible ways that poker players become great at what they do. It’s important to note that a real world poker player will not necessarily be an instant smash at online poker. Understanding the differences between video poker and regular poker can be helpful, but there are certain skills which will definitely translate. The trick is to learn those skills. Here’s how people do it.
- You’ve Got to Play a Lot of Poker. While poker is and always shall be a game of theory, it’s also a game that rewards experience. You’ve got to have experience that penetrates all the way into your bones, knowing exactly what to do when certain hands and certain flops coincide. You’ve also got to have an innate instinct to judge other players’ behavior (even behavior as simple as how long it takes the online player to make a decision) so you can make the right call even when the cards might suggest a different path.
- You’ve Got to do Your Homework. The best players have a great deal of theory under their belts. They know the odds of winning with any given hand. They understand the microeconomics that go into determining how profitable it is to call or fold in certain circumstances. Read books, talk to great players, and get a coach. You might have to spend some money to get some of this knowledge, but this is the only way to become a professional. Very few great poker players are entirely self-taught, but if you feel you are capable of that level of commitment, by all means give it a shot.
- Know When to Fold ‘Em. One of the very most important aspects of being a professional poker player is knowing how to manage your winnings. There are more than a few great players who can kill at the table, but who overextend themselves and lose their winnings before they walk away. No matter how many hands you win, you won’t be able to make rent if you don’t have the self-control to maintain your winnings by quitting while you’re ahead. This is an art in itself, and it’s one of the most important you’ll learn once you understand the game itself.
Becoming a professional poker player, online or in the real world, is harder than you might think. However, it’s possible for a whole range of people providing the right research, experience, and financial management skills are put into place. Start small, work hard, and you might find out that professional online poker is for you.