Imagine the possibilities, playing poker for a living! It’s the ultimate dream for players; you’re doing what you love and you’re getting paid for it. Few other vocations can be quite as rewarding as launching a successful poker career. If you, like so many other poker players out there, are intent on becoming a poker ace you’re in luck. Poker is a game of skill with elements of luck thrown in for good measure. There is absolutely no substitute for experience, and that is gained on the poker felt. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing online poker or land-based poker; experience is paramount. First things first – pick a format of the game that you feel comfortable with. There’s lots of different formats to choose from, including the following:
- NL – no limit
- FL – fixed limit
- PL – pot limit
You can grind your way to poker pots as a live grinder, an online volume cash grinder, a tournament grinder, a Sit & Go grinder, or a Multitable Tournament grinder. Grinding is simply the art of working exceptionally hard at your poker game, playing for outrageously long sessions at a time, and maintaining standards of excellence throughout. A grinder has the necessary steel to hold their own in the face of overwhelming competition. They typically adopt low-risk playing strategies, with a low statistical edge and a boring style of play. Much like Aesop’s fable, the ‘Hare and Tortoise’, grinders are slow and steady, and unbelievably bankable players.
What Do You Need to Become a Poker Prodigy?
Passion. That’s a good place to start. Poker is a dynamic game and it’s peppered with challenges. No gaming session is identical; thanks in large part to Lady Luck, players, and the learning curve. Every time you play in SNGs and MTTs, you learn something new about yourself, your opponents, and how best to implement poker strategies. By staying abreast of the psychological aspects of the game, by learning when to hold and fold, how to read players, how to manage bankroll, and how to pace yourself, you invariably evolve as a poker player. These three perspectives – financial, psychological, and logistical are important, and they will determine your poker pedigree in the long run.
Participate in Poker Games
There is no better way to ready yourself for the world of professional poker than participating in poker games. Of course, you want to be absolutely sure that you’re up to the challenge. Do you have the bankroll to buy in, and account for variance? What are the opportunity costs of participating in poker contests? You will want to know what type of poker games to partake in – will it be at buy-ins that you can afford? What about re-buys? What is the nature of the competition – fish and sharks? There are many questions that need to be considered as you map out a strategy for becoming a poker pro.
When it comes to game time, you will be best served when you have all your faculties about you. That means never over imbibe, never play under the influence of mind-altering substances, and never play when you’re too tired. Professional poker players stay in the game because they understand all of these exigencies. They know not to play on tilt (emotionally-based decisions), and they understand the importance of bankroll management. Sometimes, even the best players make foolish decisions such as underestimating their opposition. Everyone at the poker table with you should be treated with respect. Even the worst players can have the best luck, rendering everybody a potentially formidable opponent.
Items on Your Poker Checklist:
- Do you have the right personality to play poker?
- Do you have the skills to be a professional player?
- Do you have the staying power to become a poker pro?
Fortunately, poker players come from all walks of life. Some are hermits and others are the life of the party. It doesn’t matter what your personality is, provided you have the skills and the fortitude to see this through. Poker is a grind. Mike Sexton – the Poker Hall of Fame player –said that poker takes five minutes to learn but a lifetime to master. Everybody agrees with that, and for good reason. You certainly don’t have to do drop everything and rush off to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to learn how to become a professional poker player. While anyone with determination, skill, and good fortune can rise through the ranks, you certainly need a lot more than that to become the creme de la creme.
You will have to face down your competition and emerge victorious. Full-time poker gaming is demanding, and other aspects of your life are likely to be sacrificed in pursuit of your poker playing prowess. First things first – learn the rules of the game. There is no substitute for knowledge. If you can survive among the fish and ultimately become a poker pro, you’re not out of the woods just yet. Many professional players lose the shirts off their back. To stay at the top, you need something else. You need self-control. You need to stay focused.
Be cool, manage your bankroll and play the games that you love!
It’s easy to lose your head when the money is rolling in, but just as fast as those big pots drop, one day you’re holding the nuts and the next day you’re SOL. There’s a reason why top poker players like Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey and other legends remain. They have mastered their game, poker psychology, and bankroll management. On your way up the poker ladder, you’re going to come up against many financial challenges. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. It’s better to lose and live to play another day, than to fade away into obscurity overnight.
The life of a poker professional is not a stagnant one. You must be prepared for a peripatetic lifestyle – moving from place to place in pursuit of big-money poker paydays. The WSOP, WPT, ANZPT, Aussie Millions, EPT, and other poker tournaments are global events. Once you hit the big time, you are going to have to travel – so factor that into your equation. Life on the road can be tough. Just like rock stars and their groupies encounter all sorts of vices like drugs, alcohol, gambling, and others, you may have to guard against these temptations.
If tournament play isn’t your forte, you can switch your focus to cash games and make a pretty good living at it too. You’ll need a steel spine for poker. Many gaming sessions are peppered with wins and losses. It’s your long-haul performance that matters. Don’t be disheartened if things don’t go your way for a time; that’s the nature of poker. Work on perfecting your poker skills, tactics, and strategies, and ultimately Lady Luck will grace you on your way to victory. It’s worth stressing that losing is a likely outcome for most of your poker sessions. Chin-up chicken, you’ll get there!
A few cashes here and there may not make up for the losses, but your staying power will ultimately win out in the end. If you make a few big cashes where it counts, you’ll thank your lucky stars that you never threw in the towel!