If you enjoy poker, making a living from playing this game seems like living the dream.
Do something you love, and it will never feel like work.
But, before you go all in, you should be aware of all of the pros and cons that come with playing poker for a living.
If you’re considering getting more serious about your potential poker career, here are some of the most prominent advantages and disadvantages that come with being a professional poker player.
The Advantages of Playing Poker for a Living
You Own Your Own Time
If you’re playing poker for a living, you’re effectively choosing your work hours. Being your own boss, especially in a career path such as this, means that you’re entirely free to tailor your own time and make the best of every day.
The hassle of working night shifts or waking up early every morning to drive to work won’t be a problem if you gown down this road.
Your “offices” are the online poker tables and live poker tournaments you choose to participate in.
Just keep in mind that you must maintain great discipline in such a job, as not to lose yourself in the flexibility and freedom of your own time.
No Salary Ceiling
The biggest reason most poker players want to go professional is the unlimited profit available for those who dare to claim it.
Although money shouldn’t be your primary motivator, it’s hard not to think about the multi-million prizes at the biggest poker tournaments in the world.
Even if you are just starting out playing online on real money poker sites, there are still countless options with prizes significantly more extensive than what most working people can earn in their day jobs.
Plus, the best part about this is that there’s no salary ceiling on how much you can bring home each month.
Living and Traveling Anywhere in the World
Another great advantage of playing poker for a living is that you can experience the feeling of always being on vacation while traveling for work and making money in the process.
If you plan on becoming a full-time poker player, you can look forward to frequently traveling to some of the biggest and most exciting cities in the world.
From Las Vegas and London to Barcelona and Monaco, you make your own schedule as packed or free as you wish.
Moreover, as a professional poker player, you have unlimited freedom in choosing a location where you want to settle down.
If you want to make your home in a sunny and warm place, you can select a popular poker destination such as the Caribbean.
This will allow you to enjoy endless summers while still being very close to some of the most popular and rewarding poker tournaments.
The Disadvantages of Playing Poker for a Living
No Guaranteed Income
The most significant benefit of a day job is that you know exactly how much money you’re earning every month.
When you switch up your day job for a professional poker career, this safety net disappears.
While it’s true that you’ll be able to win massive amounts of money potentially, there’s no telling when or even if this will come.
Instability of income is a typical tradeoff in many careers that offer a higher profit ceiling.
If you like playing it safe and can’t risk running a negative balance for a few weeks or months, pursuing a career in Texas Hold’em probably isn’t the best way to go.
That said, if you’re ready to accept the swings and have the mindset to handle the pressure of unstable earnings, you can turn this disadvantage into your advantage.
The Road to Success Can be Arduous
Watching Daniel Negreanu toy with his opponents makes it seem almost effortless. But, most of us forget that we’re watching the end result of years of studying the game and the psychology of their competitors.
All professional poker players have experienced great highs and lows throughout their long journey.
Don’t go into it thinking that it’s going a smooth ride all of the time. Confidence is a must-have, but you should continuously work on your skills to back this up.
Of course, some players have achieved great success in their first few years of playing the game, but these are outliers.
If you’re aiming to make poker your lifetime career, you need to arm yourself with patience and always remember that you're in it for the long run, and variance will catch up with you eventually.
Stable Budget Needed to Start
Although poker offers you the opportunity to win a lot of money, you also need to have adequate starting capital before you even consider devoting all of your attention to the game.
The lack of money is one of the more significant reasons why most players don’t commit to playing poker professionally.
For many players, it can take years before they can get to a consistent level of winning in poker. If you don’t have the capital to start or a stable day job to cover your poker losses, you can quickly grow tired of the stress and grind.
It’s crucial to remember that success isn’t guaranteed and that you should never risk the money you can’t afford to lose. Learning good bankroll management is a must!
Are you Ready to Become a Professional Poker Player?
The hard truth is that not everyone is cut out to be a world-class poker player. But, with enough patience and work, you can make a great living from playing poker.
This is because, ultimately, the pros heavily outweigh the cons, and most players who truly commit to studying and learning the game can succeed in it.
If you’re passionate about poker and ready to put your energy into it, nothing is stopping you from making a career out of it.
To get some help on your path, check out the best poker training sites out there, as you’ll find plenty of great resources here.
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