Becoming a professional poker player is a goal for many people, but only a minority of them succeed, both at live and online poker.
Most of those who do succeed at playing poker professionally, however, do so following some simple, although not easy, steps. So, if you aim to become a professional poker player, you have a solid and well-tested foundation to start off.
Study the poker game
Although considered by some to be a form of gambling, those who play poker professionally must approach it for what it is: a game of skill. Therefore, your first step should learn not only the rules of the game but basic principles and general strategy as well.
In the future, this step will continue to be a part of your career. Legendary poker pro Daniel Negreanu recommends that you start with an 80/20 ratio: study 20% of the time and play, practicing what you have learned, about 80% of the time.
Not only that, but playing online also requires you to understand how cash games work, tournament structures, how to get the best Rakeback deals, and everything else that is part of professional poker players’ lives. The time live players spend researching hotel accommodations and planning their trips, online players spend looking for the best online poker rooms.
Thankfully, there are agents and affiliates that are focused on helping you play online poker professionally. DonkHunter is one such agent: they can recommend you the right poker room and cut you an extra Rakeback deal so you can just focus on playing online poker and becoming a winning poker player.
Winning online poker players
The harsh reality is that most people you see on online poker sites are losing players. They might win a few big pots here and there but overall they lose more money than they win in this game.
Obviously, to pay the bills and be able to make a living playing poker, you must become a winning player.
Start at micro stakes. Keep detailed records of your wins and losses for a few hundred hands. If you play cash games, you must be able to win at least the value of 10 Big Blinds for every 100 hands you play.
Once you’re able to do that, you are ready to move up to higher stakes, where you will surely find harder games, and repeat the process. As long as you are a winning player, the higher stakes you are able to play, the better, in general.
Playing Poker for a living
Now that you started playing poker for real money and you have proven you are a winning poker player, there are a few things you must consider.
First, do some math: what is your actual win rate per 100 hands, how much do these big blinds represent when converted to real money and how many hands you can play in one hour? Is it worth it to quit your “normal” job and go all-in to becoming an online poker pro?
If you decide to do this, pro player Nathan Williams suggests that you set apart 6 months to 1 year of living expenses and at least 50 buy-ins or big blinds for the stakes you want to play. Then you keep gaining experience and keep studying to become the best professional poker player you can be.