Can I Make A Living Playing Low to Medium-Limit Poker?

That's one of the questions I am most frequently asked. My answer is a definite, Maybe. Actually, it can be done. I know a lot of people who are doing it. The question is, can you do it?(Maybe)It isn't easy. Its a lot like having a job, except that you get to choose your own hours.

But as a writer friend said, Sure, you can choose your own hours, provided you choose every waking hour, seven days a week. You should also be aware of a saying among medium and low-limit professional players: Its a tough way to make an easy living.

Lets talk about making a living at these limits, and what you should consider before giving it a shot. By medium and lower limits, I mean limits of $10-$20 and under. A single person without a lot of expenses can make a living. A retired person can augment a pension and do quite well.

But someone with a family, a mortgage, and two car payments had better be an exceptionally good player with great discipline. If others are doing it, you can do it. But how do they do it? They are very good players who really know the game. They study. They have all the books.

They've taken all the lesson. They think about poker as a business- seriously. As a professional you'll have to learn to pick your spots. your looking for a game where people are just out to have a good time. They look like they can afford to lose some money.

You want to sit down in this game and make these people enjoy losing their money to you. That's right. You have to make them like it! That is the mark of a really good working player.

How do you make them like it? You sit in the game and become friendly with everyone. You talk to them and get them talking. You get them feeling good. And when you win a big pot, no one gets angry. They just laugh it off, and you laugh with them. And when they beat you out of a pot with a disastrous miracle draw, you laugh and say, Nice hand.

You really got me on that one. Its very important that you do this because it makes people want to play with you. They wont mind losing their money to such a nice person. Just try being surly with them; let them get the idea that your a poker hustler, and see how long they stay in our game.

Movement playing in a game as long as its a good game, and then moving on. Find those action games. Hit and run. Sure, it takes time and effort, but I never promised you strawberries in your champagne-or an easy time of it while your trying to turn a living playing medium and low-limit poker. The only promise I ll make it this: The money you earn, you will earn.

The downside is that most of your opponents will be playing free and easy, not worried about money. But you will be playing for your living. your giving up a psychological edge. This means that you need strong. Discipline. You cannot be casual about your play. You must play your best game every session-every minute.

If they have a bad day at work, most people still will get paid. If you have a bad day at work, you not only wont get paid, you'll have money taken from you!

This is not a profession for the faint of heart.; But if you must do it (and don't do it unless your entire being cries out that you must do it), then forget about the ease and glamour. Go into it with your eyes open. Master it. Live it. Love it. Before we go on, lets dream.

Dreams,Fantasies. Young boys dream about coming out of the bull pen in the bottom of the ninth with no one out, the basis loaded, a one-run lead-and striking out the next three batters to save the victory. Young girls fantasize about. I don't know; I've never been a young girl.

And poker players imagine taking a pair of deuces in the pocket and making them stand up in the finals of the World Series of Poker. At last, the recognition due them as World Champion! And the crowd of admiring fans goes crazy.

Reality says that more than 99.99 percent of us will never see this dream come true. Each year sees only one champion crowned out of the millions of poker players. And some people actually repeat as champions, making our chances of getting there even more infinitesimal.

John Fox said it for all of us in the title of his book, Play Poker, Quit Work and Sleep Til Noon! Now there's a dream we can all buy into. Some have succeeded in doing just that. Some have made it. Thousands try every year and go belly up.

Each day fresh talent arrives in cities that have a lot of public poker such as Las Vegas. They are brimming with hope and expectation. And every day the tired and beaten depart, disappearing as suddenly as they appeared, mostly with little notice taken of their coming or going.

But some do make it,and so the hopeful keep coming. And appearing. And disappearing. As a personal service to you, I have assessed your chances of success as a professional poker player. You have two chances: slip and none.

If that discourages you, you should be discouraged and give up all thought of being a poker pro. But if being shown your chances just makes you want it all the more-if the desire to be a professional poker player is equaled only by your desire to breathe- then go for it. That's the kind of desire it takes.

Desire. Commitment. Discipline. Courage. And somewhere along the way, you'll need poker skill. When you have all of that, your still not ready. I have several questions for you to consider before you give up your job to become a full-time poker pro.

Do you have an adequate bankroll for the game you intend to play? I suggest that you have a rock-bottom minimum of 300-times the upper betting limit of your game as a playing bankroll. 400-times would be better. And I want to stress again that these are rock-bottom minimums.

Once you have established your bankroll, whatever its size, think of it as money to be used exclusively for playing poker.

If you find yourself having to extract living expenses from your bankroll, you are living too close to the edge. (The Fuel of Poker.) Do you have enough money to cover your living expenses for six months? The competition could be tougher than you anticipate.

It almost always is. You might get off to a slow start. If you have to begin living out of your bankroll, you'll find yourself under added pressure. You'll be playing with the rent money. That has been the downfall of many professional hopefuls.

Do you know what your living expenses are? If you've never thought seriously about it, I suggest that you do so now. You calculate them simply by first adding up your monthly expenses. Next, total the expenses you pay on a quarterly, semiannual, and annual basis.

Divide by twelve to know what is required each month. Add these two figures together and there's the monthly nut you must overcome with your poker winnings. Its at this point that a lot of potential pros see reality setting in and give up the whole idea.

But if you still are determined to take your shot, or sf you just want more to consider, lets pose some more questions for you to think about. After taking the big step and becoming a poker pro, which of your expenses will increase? Which will decrease or be eliminated?

Your drive to the poker room could be longer, or shorter, than the drive to your present job. Your wardrobe requirements might be entirely different. What about the fringe benefits of your present job? Will you have to begin paying for your health insurance? What about your retirement plan?

Figure all the perks that come your way now (at company expense) that you may need to replace. Company car? Expense account? Credit cards? Are you confident really confident-that you can overcome all of this?

Do your present winnings indicate that by playing full-time, you'll do as well, or better than, you now do at your job?

Be completely honest with yourself. Why are you thinking about making this move? Can you really do better? Or do you just like the idea of being a professional online poker player? More honesty, please. Have you set reasonable win goals toward which you are willing to work?

(Remember, this will be your profession, your job.) Do you have a wife, a husband, a family? Do they support you in this venture? If not, your looking for trouble. Talk it over with them. Eliminate the stress going in. If you cant, you might have too much to overcome.

How your health? If you have problems, your new life-style might add stress instead of freedom. Are you ready for the fact that your income might take some radical ups and downs? You might win $4,000 one month and only $400 the next month. Or its even possible that you might have a losing month.

Can you leave your present job on good terms with your employer? Its mighty tempting to tell him to Shove it, but someday you might need that job again-or maybe a good reference. Will your friends and neighbors understand that because you don't have a regular job, it doesn't mean that you have time to run their errands, watch their kids, or sit and chat endlessly?

How close do you now live to public poker rooms? Are there games nearby that you can rely on daily? Or will you have to move to Nevada or Southern California or some other area with plenty of public poker? This would be an additional expense.

And keep in mind that where there are public poker rooms, you’ll find people who have been playing every day, so you'll probably encounter a higher level of competition. Do you have the discipline to maintain a schedule? Your time will be your own, and so will the motivation that keeps you moving toward your goal.

Ask yourself again about confidence. Can you really do it? Or is it just wishful thinking. Think about it. And then think some more before you decide. And heres a helpful. If this turns out to be a big decision for you to make, then you aren't ready to turn pro.

You obviously aren't comfortable with making that move, for any number of reasons. The reasons don't matter; your comfort with the decision does. When you can make the decision with ease, then you'll be ready to go for it.


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