Poker is one of the more fun and involving casino games, a game of skill as much of luck. And when it comes to having the mindset, many people like to play poker to hone their patience and discipline.
And while there are plenty of people who make a living playing poker, it is a game you need to understand well if you want to become a professional poker player.
With that in mind, we’ve looked at the steps it takes to get to playing poker for a living.
Can you make a living playing poker? And how? Lets find out…
Assess Your Skill Set
Before you can start playing poker for money, you need to assess your skill set. If you’re not already familiar with the game and its rules, it’s time to learn them. There are many different types of poker games that require different strategies and approaches; knowing which type of game suits your strengths will help maximize your chances of winning over time.
Learn from others who have been successful at playing professionally: read books on strategy or watch instructional videos online (there are plenty available). By studying how these pros approach each hand and make decisions during play, you’ll gain valuable insight into how they think–and maybe even pick up some tips along the way!
Understand the Financials
Once you have a good idea of how to play poker, it’s time to take a look at the financial side of things. This is an important step in becoming a professional poker player because without proper bankroll management and budgeting, you’ll never last long enough in this business to make any real money.
First things first: Calculate Your Win Rate
You need to know how much money you can expect to win or lose over time at each different level before making any decisions about moving up or down in stakes. The easiest way for beginners who don’t have access to historical data is just by looking at their own results from playing online against bots or other players who aren’t very good (or don’t care). If they’ve been playing for several months with no significant losses or gains in either direction then their win rate should be around 50%.
Develop a Winning Mindset
The first step to becoming a professional poker player is developing a winning mindset. It’s important to focus on the process, stay present in the moment and maintain a positive attitude. You should also develop emotional resilience so that you can handle losses with grace and learn from your mistakes.
To develop these skills, practice mindfulness meditation by sitting quietly for 10 minutes every day and focusing on your breath or an object like a candle flame. Take breaks when needed so that you don’t burn out during long sessions at the table; playing too much can lead to poor decision making later down the line!
Finally: learn from other players’ mistakes by watching them play live or online (or even reading their books).
To become a professional poker player, you will need to gain experience. There are many ways to do this, but some of the most effective include:
- Playing in small stakes games (i.e., those with buy-ins of under $100)
- Playing online
- Participating in live tournaments
It’s also helpful if you take advantage of free resources such as books and videos that can help improve your game.
Manage Your Bankroll
Your bankroll is the amount of money you have to play with. If you’re a professional poker player, this will be your livelihood and the source of your income. Therefore, it’s important that you manage your bankroll wisely so that it lasts long enough for you to make money at the game before running out.
The first step in managing your bankroll is creating a budget for yourself that includes both winnings and losses (and sometimes even taxes).
This way, if things go well at one table but poorly at another table or tournament–or vice versa–you’ll know how much money should be coming in per week/month/year and can plan accordingly. Set clear limits on what percentage goes toward living expenses, savings, clearing debts and other real life elements and set them in stone.
The difference between amateur and professional poker players is the ability to define limits and stick to them.
This is the key element for any professional poker player. Yes, we’ve said it before, but it bears repeating multiple times.
To be disciplined as a professional poker player, you should:
- Outline and stick to your budget.
- Avoid making rash decisions.
- Don’t chase losses.
On that last point, we should also clarify….
Be Prepared to Lose
The most important thing to remember is that you should expect to lose. If you are not prepared to lose, then you will likely experience a lot of frustration and anger when things don’t go your way.
It’s important to keep your emotions in check when playing poker because if they get the best of you, then it can lead to bad decisions and poor play at the table. It’s also important not to take losses personally because these are just part of the game; no one likes losing money but it is the nature of poker.
This is also why you need to be disciplined with your budget. If you have a bad day, you know that another day might just make back your losses – but not if you throw more money after bad losses.
Accept it when you’ve lost. Put the cards down, walk away, reflect on what went wrong and try again next time.
There are many ways to learn how to become a professional poker player, but one of the most important things you can do is find someone who has already done it. A mentor can help guide you through the process and give advice on how they got started in the business, as well as any pitfalls they encountered along the way.
A support group can also be helpful when learning how to become a professional poker player because there will be other people who have similar interests as yourself who may be able to offer advice or support when needed. You could even start your own group if there isn’t one nearby!
Reading books and articles about poker will also help improve your knowledge base on this topic–and these days there’s plenty available online for free!
Know When to Quit
When it comes to poker, you need to know when to quit. If you’re not enjoying the game anymore, or if it’s no longer fun for you, then there’s no point in continuing on. If this happens at any point during your career, don’t be afraid of taking a break from playing professionally and doing something else instead–it will help recharge your batteries and make sure that when you return as an even better player than before!
You need to be able to think on your feet, be creative and make the most of every opportunity. You also need to be able to play poker in a professional manner at all times. This means setting limits, sticking to those limits and knowing that when you’re out, there is always another opportunity another day.
Read our guide to the easiest casino games.