Can Everyone Make A Living Playing Poker Online?
Updated: Jun 5
Have you ever dreamt of playing poker for a living, splashing your winnings on crazy parties, expensive cars and having holidays by the beach? If your answer is yes, I've got bad news for you. Playing poker for a living is definitely not for you. Playing poker professionally and all the vices listed above do not go hand in hand.
The truth is, playing poker for a living is hard. It requires full dedication and effort to become successful. To put it bluntly, it's a full time job that you will need to commit 100% of your time to. Yet, I am convinced after 9 years of grinding online that anyone with the right attitude and willingness to learn can do it.
1. Once you commit to playing poker for a living, understand that it is a full time job!
I started my online poker journey at 21. I had a part time job at a pizza restaurant while studying for my Chemical Engineering Degree in University. I spent all my waking hours shuffling between work and poker. My studies suffered but I still tried to make time to squeeze in the last minute revisions to pass my exams. Needless to say, I didn't do too well in poker and studies. For 2 years I was a breakeven player at best.
Full commitment is needed to be successful at what you do, whether its a job or your own business. You should treat online poker as a business where you spend every waking hour perfecting your craft, sharpening your sword for battle. If you consider it as a hobby or a pastime just for fun, you might win some or lose some, but you will not be able to make any meaningful money out of it.
Once you understand and commit to this, you are already halfway to becoming a poker pro.
2. Be A Student Of The Game
Honing your poker skills is a life long journey. The moment you think you know it all is precisely the moment you start regressing as a poker player. Even the very best poker players know there's some parts of their game that needs improvement.
You can start absorbing valuable knowledge by reading. There are countless free resources online where you can learn about absolutely anything. YouTube alone has thousands of poker videos where they dissect hands played. The book that changed the way I view poker is The Theory Of Poker by David Sklansky. Upon graduating, I quit my job and decided take poker more seriously. I got my hands on as many poker books as possible and took in as much as I could. I read in the morning and applied my newfound knowledge grinding the low stakes games at PPPoker at night.
Getting good at poker is not something that happens overnight. It requires hard work and dedication and the right mindset to win.
3. It's Often Very Risky. Bankroll Management Is Key
It goes without saying that playing poker for a living is risky. You are wagering money every hand you play. Because you play more tables and more hands online, the risk is magnified.
Bankroll management is something many good players struggle with. You may be a great poker player that wins most of the time but you still end up losing money week after week. This was something I struggled with at the beginning. I was crushing it at NL100 and I was making about 3,000 every week. I built a bankroll of close to 50,000 within 4 months. Lost it all because I decided to move up stakes and my bankroll could not take a few downswings. I went bust as a result and had to rebuild from scratch.
Like a business that requires cash reserve for rainy days Poker requires cash reserves for downswings.
4. Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses
You should know the poker variant you are good at, the stakes you can beat, the apps most suited for you. I moved from No Limit Hold'em to Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) the moment PLO gained popularity on most of the poker apps. Remember, you win in the long run because you are a better player. Always look for a softer field of player pool that you know you can dominate.
In my almost a decade long journey, I'm fortunate enough to be able to make friends with many poker operators. I have played on almost all the poker sites and poker clubs. Please do contact me if you'd like me to match you with a poker room that suits your needs.
5. Do Not Get Emotional
Even good poker players is not susceptible to the occasional tilting. You will inevitably face downswings for days or even weeks and start thinking to yourself if you're really good enough. Take a breather and stop playing poker for a few days and take it easy on yourself. Because I'm just a mad poker lover, I can't go days without playing. Whenever I have a downswing, I will move down stakes and try to recapture my form.
Online poker can take a toll on you. A balanced lifestyle is essential so you do not burn out. Exercise often and eat healthy. Do not neglect personal relationships. Trust me, I learned the hard way. I now have severe arthritis on my hands at age 29 because I was sitting in front of my computer for close to 16 hours a day!
Conclusion - It's Not For Everyone
You should know by now that playing poker for a living is not for everyone. Sacrifices are part and parcel to become successful at anything. It took me an estimated 5,000 hours of play online to start feeling like I was actually good at it. At the end of the day, you know deep down in your heart if this path is for you!
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