Are you ready to turn poker pro?

So, you’ve had a pretty good run lately at the virtual poker tables. Maybe you’ve been tearing up a certain limit. Perhaps you won a big money tournament and just made more in a day than you do in a year at your job. Then you start thinking: “Maybe I can quit my job and just do this for a living?” It sounds good but there are many factors to take into account before making this life altering decision.

For one, you’d be a professional. You will have to set hours that go along with the hours you might keep at your normal full-time job now. Yes, you can probably set hours that were better than the ones you had at your own job, but you have to be just as serious about “showing up on time” as you were at your old job. The majority of professional online players spend between 40-60 hours a week playing. They set up their day just like it would be if you were going into the office everyday. For example; start at 9, lunch at 12, play from 1-5, dinner, spend time with the family, etc., and then maybe back for a late session after that.

Another thing to remember is that the game of poker will no longer just be a game to you. If you are good at it, and you enjoy it, of course it will better than going to a “real job” but are you ready for that step? You might play poker now because it is fun when you have some free time. But, it won’t just be a game anymore. This will be—and I know I’m reiterating this a lot—your JOB.

Let’s go back to that money you may have won that made you decide to start thinking about going pro. Sure, it seems like a large chunk of change, maybe $50,000 or so, but is it really that much? Most online pros suggest that you have six months to a year of money saved to ensure you can pay your bills in case the poker thing starts to go downhill after a couple months. In other words, it would be very hard to just take that amount of money and go right into playing without taking all your expenses into account.

Another thing about poker is that you do not have any form of health benefits, which most other jobs provide. If you are making a ton of money from poker, then maybe this isn’t a problem for you, but chances are you won’t be doing that right away. A steady job gives you the security of knowing that if you or a family member is in need of emergency care you can just pop out your insurance card and it is covered. If you are a poker player, then that bill is coming straight out of your bankroll.

If you are a young guy or girl deciding to do go pro you might not think it’s a bad idea. You don’t have a family; you don’t have car notes, mortgage, or any other big expenses. As you get older though, these things start to happen. You get married; you have kids; and you need to buy a minivan. Yes, these are, for the most part, personal choices. However, there is no avoiding the fact that as you get older you will have more responsibilities, which generally means more money out of your pocket, or in this case your hard-earned bankroll.

If you browse any of the online poker forums you are bound to find topics talking about people debating whether to finish college or go pro. The simple answer is: “Finish college.” There are so many things that can go wrong with poker. If you finish your college degree at least you know you always have that to fall back on. As of right now there are still a number of poker rooms that are taking business from American players, but who knows when that is going to change?

These are just a few of the things you should consider before going pro. Talk to professional players. Let them tell you about their ups and downs and their battles with variance. No matter how good a player you are, some times the cards are not going to fall your way, and sometimes that off-time can last for months. You also have to take into account your own personal psyche. Are you ready to sit in front of the computer eight to 12 hours a day? Will you be able to shut it down when you are in the midst of a losing streak and you feel the anger burning inside of you? These are things you have to take into account. Only you can answer and you have to be 100 percent honest with yourself.

Are you ready to turn pro?

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