When amateurs first play poker their initial thought is that they’d love to be a professional player. Thanks to the images portrayed on TV and on poker news sites many people assume that the life of a professional poker player is all parties, stacks of money and jet setting across the world.
While this is certainly true for some of the industry’s biggest names like Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth, the same can’t be said for the average grinder. What people fail to appreciate is that many of the most famous poker players have endorsements and sponsorship deals that give them free entry to any tournament they wish.
Beyond that they are often on retainers or own shares in the companies they represent, which means they are making money even when they aren’t at the poker table. In contrast, the average player making a living from poker has to work extremely hard for what they’ve got.
While it’s true that being a poker pro allows you to be your own boss, spend all day in your underwear (if you’re an online player) and generally live a more relaxed life, it comes at a price.
Playing poker, variance and downswings are by far the most difficult thing a live/online player has to deal with. Indeed, there aren’t many jobs in the world where you can work for the whole day and actually lose money. On top of that you have to actually be good enough to make an amount of money that allows you to live comfortably.
How to Be a Poker Player: The Philosophy of Poker written by Haseeb Qureshi is a fantastic poker book that I’ve read recently, which I can’t recommend high enough. It provides excellent thoughts about the mind game and life balance outside of poker, which is such a huge aspect of the game.
As with sports betting, staying on top of the game takes dedication. It’s not good enough to play a couple of hours a day and expect to make millions. Putting in the hours at the felt is essential, especially if you’re a live player.
Living like a poker pro might look appealing on the face of it but the raft of financial, emotional and psychological effects it has on you can take its toll. Indeed, not knowing if you’re going to earn money week after week is not a life many people can handle.