In the past year, I’ve received several messages from young players who recently completed their graduation and just started their first jobs. My assumption is that they are all around 22-25 years old. They usually have three questions for me – the first one being “Do you have a boyfriend”, the second one is “What are you doing” and the third one is “I want to quit my job. How do I become a full-time Poker player”…
This post aims to answer the last question since I’m pretty sure the first two questions, as entertaining as they may be, are not of much relevance to any discussion around Poker!
Most of us who play Poker have been seduced by the siren song – play Poker all day long, make a lot of money and live the Poker lifestyle that the Pros enjoy. But the reality is not as fantastically uplifting - this siren lures you with a golden dream that leaves many players broken on the rocks of despair and consumed by the sea of disappointment.
I’ve read a number of articles that keep reinforcing the idea that the 9 to 5 grind in a “regular” job is the death knell to any cool, hip young Poker player. I mean, how could you be perceived as glamorous and sexy if you work as an IT analyst or a junior HR executive when you could be living the high life as a full-time Poker professional? ut like the saying goes:
Poker is a hard way to make easy money. In fact, there is no such thing as easy money.
Let’s look at the statistics. The average tournament player will get in the money 10% of the time while an expert player usually gets in the money 15% of the time. That means as an average tournament player, one is losing 90% of the time!
When it comes to cash game players, they have to deal with downswings that sometimes go on for more than a few weeks.
It may seem like I’m being negative but I’m not here to discourage anyone from playing Poker - in fact, it’s the opposite.
Instead of looking at becoming a full-time Poker player in the early years of your work life, wouldn’t it be amazing to have a second income from Poker? Working hard at your job will help you with discipline, playing Poker as a hobby in the evenings will help you with patience and focus, while playing without the pressure of having to make rent money will make you fall in love with the game even more!
My advice to all of you out there who feel like you want to make Poker your career, follow these simple steps and then decide whether it is the right path for you and at what point in your life can you afford to so.
- Keep a separate bank account for your bankroll whether it is Rs. 5,000, Rs. 50,000 or Rs. 5 Lakhs.
- Read as much as you can on Bankroll Management, then make a plan and stick to it.
- Play on only trusted Poker sites or in legitimate Poker rooms.
- Keep track of every single tournament or cash game you play and review your profit or loss each week.
- Study hard and continually improve your game.
- If you are a consistent player, apply to a reputed stable to get staked and receive coaching.
- Give yourself a year or two to see whether you are making money – enough to live on or more than enough as a second income.
I would also suggest that you look around the Poker circuit and talk to some of the most successful, profitable players. You will soon realize that most of them have jobs or own businesses.
There are very few young players who play Poker for a living without a financial safety net. Those that do are consistently winning players who have been playing for a few years, who work very hard on their game and other aspects such as mental/physical strength. By all means, be inspired by them, but don’t jump into taking up Poker as a career by being ill-informed or because of your ego.
And, the next time anyone asks me what I am doing at 11:30 on any given night, I will send you a picture of me – not twerking at the MTV Pool Party, or sipping champagne on Dan B’s yacht – but in my pajamas grinding The Big 1 Lakh tourney on Baazi. Not glamorous or sexy in any way, I can assure you. More like Animal from The Muppet Show. That’s the reality of the life of a full-time Poker Pro ;-)