You’ve probably had a chance to hear about people making their living playing poker. Many regard poker players as just another group of gamblers riding their lucky streak, bound to fail at some point. However, the truth is very different.
Professional poker players, those who have been earning their livelihood for a significant number of years playing the game, are serious professionals who can actually teach us a lot about patience, hard work, and money management – three crucial aspects necessary for the success in any professional field and life in general.
Making it as a Poker Pro
Despite what some people might believe, it takes much more than sheer luck to make it as a poker professional. Of course, there are a few people who got lucky and won a big poker tournament, but some of them aren’t really pros.
A real professional player doesn’t care about anything that happens in the short term and they focus on a larger picture instead. The reason they can do this is because they understand the game, the variance, and they expected returns. In this regard, they are much like stock brokers, but the stock they trade in is their knowledge of the game.
Poker Players Simply Have to be Better than the Rest
Although luck plays a certain role in poker, the game is set on a very firm and understandable mathematical foundations. The fact that many people don’t take time to learn these foundations doesn’t change their essence. It just means that those who do will thrive in the long run.
This is the essential part in becoming a professional poker player. To make poker a profitable profession, players need to be better than the rest. This doesn’t mean all of those who make living playing the game need to be like Phil Ivey. It simply means that they need to be better than 80% of people they play against on a regular basis, be it live or online, which has become even more challenging for United-States based players.
To achieve this, especially today, when the competition has become quite challenging, professional players need to put in a lot of hours of work. This work is done away from the tables and it doesn’t involve playing cards. Instead, it is crunching numbers, understanding odds and possibilities, and combining them with what you know about your opponents.
All of this doesn’t just take a lot of time but a lot of patience as well, because luck will still remain a factor in the short run, so even the best preparation will not guarantee they won’t have a bad month or two. That’s where the second component comes into play.
Proper Money Management
For a professional poker player, the money they have available to play with is the most important tool. Without it, they aren’t able to do their job. The argument often brought up by those who don’t understand all the aspects is – why do they need to care about the money if they are so good?
Don’t they always win?
But, as explained, anything can happen in a single tournament or during one night playing in cash game. In fact, it can take a while for “luck” to even out. However, good players know this is bound to happen, as everyone is bound to receive an equal number of good cards and bad cards. No one is immune to bad beats, either, so these things even out.
However, until that happens and the skill prevails, a poker player needs to keep a healthy bankroll to stay in the game. That’s why money management is essential every step of the way. Being reckless with the money is a sure way to get one’s career over with quickly, regardless of how good they are.
Managing their money properly, balancing between their bankroll and the money they need to cover day to day expenses, can be harder for professional poker players than for most people. This is especially true for those playing live poker, as they are often surrounded by slots and table games, which can quickly create a big dent in an otherwise healthy budget.
Poker is a Serious Business
So, whether we like it or not, there are quite a few things we could learn from serious professional poker players. Because it is such a competitive, swingy, and uncertain career, it requires a lot of hard work and dedication to even put oneself in the position to be successful.
Once that part is done, they still need to be very smart about how they manage their money and always keep the perspective in face of all the difficulties. Those who successfully manage to do this and build a respectable career certainly have traits to be successful in other professional areas as well.
So, there are a few pages we could definitely take from their books to improve our own careers and lives in general.