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At the beginning of this eBook, we briefly mentioned how TV shows and the media have glorified the poker player lifestyle. However, we followed that up by saying that the life of a poker player isn’t always “fun and games.” While there will be many great moments, the lifestyle of a poker player truly is a grind!

In this section, we’ll be elaborating upon the pros and cons of the professional poker player lifestyle, helping you fully understand what you can expect from going pro.

Intro | How to become a poker pro
Part 1 | What Does It Take?
Part 2 | The Prerequisites
Part 3 | Developing A Winning Strategy
Part 4 | Live vs Online
Part 5 | Cons of a Pro Poker Lifestyle
Part 6 | Tips to Be a Successful Poker Player
Part 7 | Ready to Give it a Go?

The Pros and the Cons:



  • Choose Your Own Schedule

  • Do Something You Love

  • Have a Lot of Contr Over Your Annual Income

  • Possibilities of Huge Wins

  • Possibility of Fame and Notoriety

  • Age Doesn’t Matter

  • Freedom

  • Grinding Can Be Exhausting

  • Losing Days, Weeks, Months, or Years (Variance)

  • Your Family Might Be Anti Gambling

  • Easy to Miss Out on Having a Social Life

  • Easy to Lose Out on Having a Life Outside Poker

  • Sedentary Lifestyle

Let's Start with The Pros

  • Choose Your Own Schedule: Being a poker player means you get to be your own boss. You can choose when you play, what game you play, how often you play, and where you play. Having these choices is a very nice luxury. You can decide to play only when you’re feeling good. On the flip side, you can also decide to stop playing whenever you want (i.e. if you’re playing poorly, if you’re tired, or if you need a break from the game). Ultimately, being able to choose when you play means that you have complete freedom in terms of how you want to spend your time.

  • Do Something You Love: Nearly all professional poker player have a deep love and passion for the game. Even through the rough patches, they experience along the way, the love of the game always draws them back to it. Doing something you love every day (i.e. playing poker) can have an immensely satisfying impact on your life.

  • Have a Lot of Control over Your Annual Income: Most people are employees of a company and have their compensation dictated by their superiors. Being your own boss as a poker player, though, you have greater control over how much money you’ll make from poker every year. The quality of your play is a huge part of this; if you’re alert, you play well and make sound decisions, more than likely you'll make more money over the long term than otherwise. How much (or how little) you choose to play will also have a direct influence on your income.

  • Possibilities Of Huge Wins: It can be an incredible feeling to be able to say that you’ve made more in a day than most people make in a year. This is a very real possibility with the payout structures and prize pools in certain tournaments. These big wins can increase your bankroll and also allow you to have some extra spending or travelling money in the times ahead.

  • Possibility of Fame and Notoriety: Winning poker titles can be a very prestigious and fulfilling career achievement. Depending on the popularity of the event, a big win can give a player instant recognition, overnight. Being famous and widely recognised for their accomplishments may be a nice little perk for some players.

  • Age Doesn’t Matter: Young or old, anyone can play poker, and play it well. Players can begin at any age and work quickly to develop winning poker strategies and skills. While it used to be an “old man’s game”, poker has quickly emerged into a game dominated by “young, aggressive maths-whiz kids,”. However, the truth is that anybody can play, play well, and win big!

  • Freedom: Having time freedom is an incredible feeling, as you’re able to ultimately choose how you spend your days – playing poker, travelling the world or doing some other fun activity. The more money you win from poker, the better you’ll feel, too, because you won’t be bound by the constrictions of trying to scrape by to survive on a low monthly income. Ultimately, if you do well at poker, while it can be a difficult lifestyle to cope with at times, the freedom it offers is well worth the struggles you’ll experience along the way.

Now, to The Cons

  • Grinding Can Be Exhausting: Especially, when you’re hitting a stretch of bad variance or a solid run of mediocre hands, grinding can be an extremely tough way to make an easy living. The mental fatigue and constant focus required to make optimal decisions for every play are extremely demanding, as is. It gets even crazier when you continue playing for long sessions that demand the highest level focus and concentration, throughout.

  • Losing Days, Weeks, Months, or Years: Just as there will be good days in poker, there will also be bad ones – really bad ones. It’s these bad ones that can turn “the grind” into more of an exhausting one than it already is. These down days will also be a major factor in determining how disciplined you are as a poker player. When you lose and/or hit a bad stretch of variance, do you tilt and bleed off your stack, or do you take a break and walk away? It’s especially important that you stay mentally resilient and strong through all the crazy situations that poker will throw your way.

  • Your Family Might Be Anti-Gambling: As the game of poker is considered a form of gambling, your parents and family members might not approve of your career choice. The same is even true for some of the game’s top pros. Not having that support can be severely detrimental, creating a huge negative impact on you personally, as you continue through life.

  • Easy to Miss Out on Having A Social Life: This is especially true for online grinders. Being stuck at home, in front of a computer all day, can cause you to become somewhat of a recluse. Your face-to-face personal interactions will likely be limited, and good friendships may be few and far between. Try to make an effort to keep a moderately healthy social life going in conjunction with your poker playing. Your psyche will thank you for it.

  • Easy to Lose Out On Having A Enjoyable Life Outside Poker: Poker won’t only cause you to possibly miss out on having a well-rounded social life, but it can also cause you to miss out on life altogether. Playing poker can become an all-consuming job – sucking up all of your free time. From having to play extra long sessions, to constantly studying, watching poker videos, reviewing hand histories, and discussing poker with your poker friends, it truly is a sport that can overtake your entire life…if you let it! Be sure to stay in control of the lifestyle you want to live, and don’t let not let the addictive “gambling” aspect of poker take control of your life outside of poker.

  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Similar to a desk job, poker players are usually seated whenever they’re playing or studying the game (for both online and live play). This sedentary lifestyle can be very unhealthy. When you combine this with the fact that meal options are usually low-energy, high-fat casino meals or convenient junk food options at home, it becomes important to have the discipline to cultivate and lead a healthy lifestyle. Get the proper amount of exercise and eat the right foods each day to keep both your mind and body in sync to play good poker.

At the end of the day, becoming a successful professional poker player all comes down to you. You have to make the right choices, stay disciplined, motivated and focused, to make a profitable career out of playing poker.

In Chapter 6, we'll go over some invaluable tips for successfully “going pro”.

About the Author
Matthew Cluff is a poker player who specialises in 6-Max No Limit Hold’em games. He also periodically provides online poker content for various sites.
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