From the outside, the life of a professional gambler might seem as something straight out of a high budget Hollywood movie or an action-adventure book. Most people would not believe that a job that involves the opportunity to travel around the world, play no limit tables, win major jackpots, and reach worldwide fame actually exists. And in honest truth, it is a life that all gambling buffs can only dream about. Why? Because this extravagant life is, in fact, a fabrication. Now, before you deem me a liar, light up the torches and organize a veritable mob to my office, let me explain myself. While professional players do very much exist, this glamorous idea of the lighthearted luxury life is not true.
Professional players are not successful because they were “blessed” with the gift of luck. They are successful because they have read countless theory books and practice relentlessly in all sorts of environments. On an interview with AskMen, Phil Ivey, who is considered the world’s best poker player, stated that practices every day, even if it is only for a couple of hours.
Moreover, he does not limit himself to big stake tables. Ivey is known for logging into online casinos and play for real but also free money, because “every time you play a hand, be it online or wherever, you learn something. That’s the great thing about poker.” Turning any game of chance into a viable way to make a living implies huge risks, but constant practice can teach you the aspects of the game that can be controlled. Do not believe in luck or fate, believe in statistics and strategies.
Poker pro Vanessa Selbst, the most successful female player of all time and a recent 2014 winner of her third WSOP bracelet, has a thing or two to say about strategy. For her, much of her play heavily relies on pre-game groundwork: “Analyze your play. Take notes when you’re not sure about a hand…Post on online forums, study your opposition. If you’re playing high enough stakes, there should be videos or other resources featuring your opponents, so use what is available to you!” Like we said before, going pro is not taking a year off to play and chill. There is a strong possibility that you will spend more time hitting the books than ever before!
Also, apart from the true top dogs, most professional players do not live in the lap of luxury. They have a modest lifestyle and know how to be financially smart. When going pro, most hopeful players give themselves a year to try to make it. In fact, some general recommendations from the pros are to keep your living expenses and your poker bankroll separate and fixed. If at any time you only have only three or four months of expenses left, maybe you should consider more traditional employment options.
In sum, although it is possible to live life as a professional gambler, few are the ones that actually make it and even fewer the ones that win outrageous amounts of money. Keep in mind that going pro means you are your own boss, and the freedom that comes with it can act as a double edge sword. If you do not manage your time and money wisely, you could end up with a huge amount of debt. Professional players are over all great administrators who are deeply grounded and meticulous. However, do not let us taint your dreams of gambling! If being a professional player is truly your passion, we will not discourage you! As with any other skill, going pro is possible when you have a will of steel, maintain a composed head, and put in the time and the work!