Becoming a professional poker player is difficult. Not only do you have to be good at the game you have to have a good business head. To that end you have to learn to treat your beloved card game as a business, rather than a pastime which in the past you have been good at.
If you are thinking about becoming a pro read this first.
Like most businesses there will be good times and bad times. You must be prepared for the latter and use the former to offset your losses. Professional poker playing also needs capital like any other business, and for poker this means having a substantial bank roll.
To that end you must try and work out how much you will need to maintain a steady income from playing poker. A highly competitive profession if ever there was one. From the income figure you can estimate how much you will need to bankroll your career as a pro player.
Every player has a severe losing streak no matter how good they are. You must be able to deal with this financially.
You are going to be self employed. This is scary and hard at the best of times, and rather than making a sale, you are going to have to win a considerable amount of money to make your business thrive.
To become a pro and a better pro, you have to be able to honestly evaluate your play style after every game. Ideally, having an honest opinion from someone you trust is best. A fresh, unbiased pair of eyes will be able to tell you if you are leaking too many tells, if your bluff was too obvious, and generally pick up on your weaknesses. In essence you must be able to take criticism and be honest with yourself to know when your big loss was down to you. All of this will improve you as a player.
As a professional poker player constant improvement is needed. Otherwise it is a long walk to the poor house and back into mainstream work.
The evaluation of your poker play should have already started. If you can find a mentor or at least someone you trust who understand the game, so much the better. Many players record their games in the form of notes. How much they staked, how much they won, nearly every statistic you can think of. They then refer to them constantly.
Many professionals started our as good amateur players and realised that playing a game they love for a living would be a good way to live. The chances are you are of the same mindset. On the surface there is edginess to the lifestyle that is very appealing. A little like being a spy. The reality is however, that it is a business and a job. In ten years time will you enjoy the game so much?
You may not ever view the game again like you do at the moment. A point to ponder perhaps?
Once you embark on being a pro your social life will be centred on poker. Poker will dominate: Your friends will be poker players, your partner will be from a poker background, and even your pets will be able to shuffle cards. You will study poker when you are not playing it, and your maths will improve.
This is an aspect you need to think about to become a professional. Are you prepared for the change and sacrifice?
If you have not worked it out already, you are going to have look at poker as a business. This means working out percentages to the nth degree and then perform in tournaments. You will start to think of the game statistically and indeed start to study your own game in the same terms. This is common to most gambling.
A career in poker is hard. Make no mistake big losses and incredible lows are coming your way. There will be times when you wonder why you thought it was a good idea.
With a clear steady mind however, a good business head, and a mentor or friend who is willing to help you, you might just make it.