So You Think You Could Be A Professional Poker Player
What poker players hasn't at one time thought: “If I could come up with a decent bankroll to get started, I could travel around, hit the private game and tournament circuit, and live off my winnings!” ? You could play some poker, win some bucks, and return home every few weeks to toss the wife a few grand as she throws her lovin' arms around......
What poker players hasn't at one time thought: “If I could come up with a decent bankroll to get started, I could travel around, hit the private game and tournament circuit, and live off my winnings!” ? You could play some poker, win some bucks, and return home every few weeks to toss the wife a few grand as she throws her lovin' arms around you and rewards you (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) for a job well done !
Ahh, life could be so good!
It’s a nice daydream, but the reality of becoming a professional player is full of obstacles.
The first obstacle, aside from the bankroll, is the wife! She has seen enough of your hair brained schemes to know how the “poker professional” thing is likely to turn out. Remember when you wanted to turn your backyard into an Emu farm for fun and profit? Do you think she is really going to let you go out on the road and play poker while she takes care of things at home?
Oh yea, then there’s the "real" job. Are you just going to quit and go all in on this professional poker thing? Maybe you better not quit quite yet. Maybe take that week and a half of vacation you have left and give poker playing a shot. Yea, that will be my test run.
It’s easy to let your imagination run wild. But how do you really know you can do it? How do you gauge if you have what it takes to be a poker professional?
First and foremost, if you’re really trying to be objective about this, you will need something factual to base your decision on. And there is one particular fact that you need to look at first: Am I a winning poker player, or am I a losing poker player? The question seems obvious, but it is one that requtres an informed answer.
Do you keep a record of poker games you play in? In many respects this is easier to do playing online poker than playing in live games. In its simplest form, keeping track of your online poker play is just a matter of comparing your online poker room deposits to your online poker room withdrawals. In fact with poker tracking software installed on your computer you can have at your disposal a cornucopia of information about your online poker play.
Of course, if you don’t always play poker on the computer that has the poker tracking software installed on it then a little more effort will be required to keep up with things. Poker tracking software can come in handy for tracking your live poker play also. To track your live game you have to be diligent about entering your game info at the end of each game. Tracking software is a waste of time and money if you fail to make accurate entrees. Garbage in, garbage out, as the saying goes.
Every real poker player should keep a little black book for recording details of the games that they play in while there still fresh in the mind. Have a spreadsheet set up on a computer as a permanent data base. Once a week or so transpose the data from your black book onto your spreadsheet. Once you’ve got a spreadsheet set up and at least a couple of years worth of data in it then its much easier to make informed decisions regarding your poker playing ability. A spreadsheet also makes doing charts and graphs very easy, they make a nice visual representation of your play. Doing this is a real eye opener for most poker players. Lets face it you should have some pretty impressive stats if you considering trying to go pro. Just because you’re the dominant fish in the goldfish bowl doesn’t mean you’re ready to swim in the shark tank.
Maybe you're one of those players who doesn’t buy into the idea that just because someone’s a poker professional that they're a great player. Maybe that’s someone who hit a lucky run early in their poker playing career and has been coasting pretty much ever since (Chris Moneymaker and Jamie Gold both come to mind). Probably not. That would be a flawed line of thinking in my opinion. Most, if not all, accomplished poker professionals have gained their notoriety due to their tenacious, consistent play, and poker smarts, not just by getting lucky a few times.
So, go ahead, make your test run. Take that vacation time and live your poker dream. The only way to know is to go! Grind it out in a few cash ring games and a few tournaments. Even if you don’t have anything solid to base your self assessment on. Just don’t quit the "real" job just yet.
Hell, you only live once. Good luck!