- how to play poker professionally
How To Play Poker Professionally - 5 Tips
You’ve learned the basics of playing poker, maybe by joining some online sites and winning a few tournaments, and you’ve realized that you may have a knack for this. Poker is an equalizing sport, which means just about anyone can join in and play at a professional level if they work for it. It’s an “entry level” game, where you just need to know the basics to get started, and with a little luck, you can win big money. You can do this! You just know you can play poker professionally because you won a few dollars already.
At least, that’s the promise that a lot of poker sites claim. There’s a famous saying in poker tournaments that all you need is a chip and a chair. While technically true, it is statistically unlikely for just anyone to win big money and become a professional poker player able to support themselves through their winnings.
The truth is that professional poker players, the good ones who win year after year and are seen on TV at the big tournaments, have spent years honing their skills. You can be sure that they do not rely on just having a chip and a chair. Yes, luck plays into their success a great deal, but it’s all about calculated risk for them. None of them will make bad bets or game decisions unless the statistics are leaning in their favor.
So, to get you started on the right foot to play poker professionally, here are five tips that the pros adhere to for success.
1 – BE CONSISTENT IN YOUR GAME
To play poker professionally, one of the fundamental aspects you have to keep in mind is to stay focused. With the availability of poker games online, it can be very easy to just hop around to different kind of games, different tournaments, and different sites. This will inevitably detract for the skills that you are trying to develop.
Be consistent not only in the game you’re playing, but the method of play as well. When you develop a strategy for betting, reading people, and learning the rules of whatever version of poker you’re trying to master, make sure that you remain focused on consistently playing how you need to play to win. Don’t get distracted by the shiny penny – pick a strategy, work it, learn it, and use it to win. Refine your play, but don’t bail out on methodology for the sake of a quick online cash grab.
2 – CONQUER THE MATH OF THE GAME
Being lucky is just another way of saying that you beat the odds. To play poker professionally, it’s all about learning the statistics to know when you have a decent shot at winning or not. If you start betting when you know the odds are stacked against you, then you aren’t playing smart poker.
You should study the cards out on the table so you know what the odds are of getting a winning hand within the next few turns. Learn to compare your odds against what you believe the other players are working toward, so that even if you think you have a good hand, statistically you might be in a worse position than your opponent. That’s the biggest difference in winning and losing when it comes to professional poker.
The best professional poker players have not only mastered the math of the game, but they can read other players to get insight into what they could be holding, and can thereby compare their own odds against everyone else.
3 – INVEST IN YOURSELF AND GET A COACH
If you’ve mastered the math and you’re playing a consistent game, then you’re probably doing pretty well in low stakes poker games. This can boost your confidence, but you aren’t ready to play professionally yet. You’re close, but you really need to consider investing in yourself at this point.
You can watch tutorial videos, videos by the pros, tournaments, and study articles as much as you want. At some point you’re going to need live insight from a coach. There are poker training sites that provide a lot of resources and education, but nothing can beat a live coach when it comes to being a better poker player.
The top pros all have coaches and undergo regular training sessions to sharpen their game. Investing in a coach, or at the very least, select paid programs is an essential step for you.
4 – CONTINUE YOUR EDUCATION
After you’ve started to win some big pots or grabbed a tournament title, do not get cocky: you still have a lot to learn. In fact, the pros never stop learning.
Saying that you’ve mastered poker is misleading, because there are always new games and there are always new players. You need to keep up with educating yourself and relying on your coach and training to stay sharp. New players are always trying to come up with new tactics, especially when there is lots of money on the line. Don’t get lazy because you’ve tasted success – keep on with your education so that you can continue to play poker professionally as opposed to just being satisfied with moderate success.
5 – LEARN HOW TO MANAGE YOUR BANKROLL
If you’re broke, how are you going to continue playing poker professionally? Because of how quickly you can gain and lose fortunes in poker, it is important to understand how to manage your money carefully, properly, and well. After all, if you run out of funds, how are you going to be able buy into the tournaments you want?
An essential component of this financial discipline is to keep your bankroll separate from your personal cash. Do not mix up the money you need for poker with the money you need to pay your bills.
Additionally, don’t get in the habit of withdrawing money from your bankroll too often. Yes, you’re playing professionally and need that money to function in life, but if you drain it then you’ll have a much smaller bankroll to rely on in the future.