Playing poker can be fun, but is it something that you can make a career out of? Professionally playing Poker has many benefits, and is possible to make a career out of, but it also has some negative consequences that come with playing the game. There are a few things that you want to consider if choosing this career path.
The first thing that you will need to have if you are playing any type of game for a living is physical stamina. Poker means either staring at a screen for hours at a time, or sitting at a table for long hours. You will need to be able to sit for an extended amount of time and physically be all right. Doing this can be straining on your body, eyes and mind. Which leads us to having mental discipline.
Having plenty of mental discipline is key, because each game that you play will end differently. You might have games that end with a huge payout or games that put you in the hole. You need to be able to mentally handle the fluctuation of wins and losses. Poker as a profession is not for people who need constant reassurance or encouragement. You have to have a strong head to be able to take the bad with the good, because the bad will come at some point or another in your career.
Along with mentally and physically being able to withstand the pressures that come along with playing poker for long hours are some pros and cons that come with choosing this as your career.
Disadvantage #1 is No Set Income: You will not have a guaranteed income. What you make will depend on your winning games. Remember, your profit will have to account for the amount that you will spend on travel, coaching, buy-in amounts for games and all other fees and expenses that come with playing games and tournaments. Not knowing what your monthly income is will make it so that you need to play either as often as you can, or higher stake games so that you can make enough to be able to pay rent, bills and buy food. A sound piece of advice is to invest your winning wisely. You never know when you will need to fall back on your savings.
Disadvantage #2 is Reduced Family Time: The long hours that go into training, prepping, travel and learning the craft will take away time from your family. Since you must make your money playing poker, you’ll tend to spend less time with your family. When a good poker player encounters a bad run, they will grind it out until they prevail. This may call for some extremely long hours of play. Also, be prepared to play poker at any time. On losing months you’ll need to spend even more time on the computer or at the casino practicing and perfecting your game.
Advantage #1 is No Set Hours: This is a great advantage to this career. You play when you want to play. Other than having to schedule around tournaments, you can choose to play quick games online, swing by the casino and play a few games, or find local games around town to play a hand or two. Most small games help lead up to the big payout tournaments, and you can choose to play those smaller games on your own schedule.
Advantage #2 is You Get To Travel: Poker tournaments can be played at some exotic locations, and if you have the finances to travel you could see some amazing places. Your “office” could technically be anywhere that a game or tournament is being played.
To sum it up, yes it is possible to make a career out of playing poker, but you had better be prepared for some looooooong hours with no guarantee of winning.
In the words of John Milton Hay:
True luck consists
not in holding the best
of the cards at the table;
he who knows
just when to rise and go home.