5 Harsh Truths About Professional Poker
There are some in the poker world who constantly preach positivity. Phil Hellmuth, I’m talking to you. However, there are many hard truths about poker that every person looking to turn pro needs to realize.
Poker is not all sunshine and rainbows and today we will give you some harsh truths about being a professional poker player. We aren’t trying to persuade you from giving up your dream, but rather we are trying to prepare you for the future.
You Will Lose Tons of Money
No poker player wins all the time. If they did, people would quit playing them. There are times where it seems you can’t lose. However, there will be times where you lose money and I mean a LOT of money.
im gonna go become a professional poker player, go broke, and never write a goddamn essay or memoir about it
— John Ganz (@lionel_trolling) July 5, 2020
Losing streaks will happen in poker. Sometimes these streaks will go on for quite a while. How you handle these streaks and how you rebound from them will speak volumes about your chances of being a successful professional poker player. Top players find a way to rebound, while the rest fade into obscurity or gives up the game altogether.
You’re Not Terribly Important to the Casino or Poker Room
If you are a pro poker player, you will not be as important to the casino as other players. In fact, you will not be as important as many recreational casino games players. Why? The casino can’t make a lot of money off of you at the poker tables. Outside of rake, poker rooms and casinos make little money off pro poker players.
If the casino or poker room loses you business, it isn’t going to make a big difference to their bottom line. Of course, if you have leaks in your game like sports betting or playing the pits, then the casino will bend over backward for you.
Just look at how PokerStars has treated their top players over the last few years. Many pros have left the site due to rake increases, reduction of rewards, and a hyper-focus on recreational players. Pros just aren’t that important to casino and poker rooms.
Few People Will Accept Professional Poker as a Real Job
You probably have already encountered people that find it hard to believe that you can make a living playing poker professionally. Get used to that as it will be a recurring theme in your life. Friends and family that are not part of the poker world will seldom accept that poker is a “real job,” even if you are successful.
Do poker players qualify for Unemployment considering the casinos are shut down?
— David Peat (@4viffer) March 30, 2020
Most will figure that you’re on an incredible lucky streak and the bottom will fall out eventually. You may also have problems in other areas of your life such as obtaining loans or other lines of credit. Even if you have all of the proper documentation showing you’re a great candidate, there will always be questions or doubts. Make sure you’re ready to roll with the punches.
It is Possible to Play Perfectly and Lose
The most frustrating thing about playing poker is that you can play your best poker and still lose. When that happens for long periods of time, players begin to doubt their abilities and may get frustrated to the point of quitting poker.
You need to work on your mental toughness to ensure you can handle the insanity that is poker. Poker players have to be mentally tough and professional poker players even more so. If you can’t handle losing, even when playing perfectly, this isn’t the job for you.
You Will Not Always Be a Pro Poker Player
Think of the top pro poker players in the world. Odds are that the majority of them are not true pro players. Most poker players that start out as pro poker players eventually branch out into other areas to help make “variance-free income.”
There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s actually quite smart. If you can invest in a business or take on some sponsorships that can net you extra income that is coming in regardless of how you do at the poker tables, you should take advantage of it. It may even help you perform better at the poker tables.
Most poker pros have other interests that generate income. Daniel Negreanu is a GGPoker sponsored player and has other interests. Phil Hellmuth as other interests. Chances are that you will find other interests to give your life more stability. So in the end, you will not always be a poker pro. And that is OK.