Why You Should Not Become a Poker Pro

This article is perfect for anyone who is considering becoming a poker pro but has not really thought about all of the nuances.

There are hundreds of articles out there detailing reasons for becoming a poker pro. However, this article is different because it gives you some reasons to dissuade you from becoming a professional poker player. Many players dream of becoming a poker pro but only a select few ever make the grade. They say poker is a difficult way to make an easy living. They are correct, whoever they are.

Most players consider turning professional on the back of some impressive results. They are winning $20-25 per hour at their local poker room or are winning at a decent clip in the online poker world. They work out that they are winning $500 per week playing 20 hours, or $26,000 per year. Increasing their playing time to 40-50 hours per week, like a poker pro would do, means they could earn $52,000-$65,000 annually. Quick, sign me up as a poker pro!

Do Not Become a Poker Pro Without a Massive Sample Size

Every player goes on a hot stream where they can do nothing wrong. It is during these times that dreams of being a poker pro spring to mind. A lack of a meaningful sample size is one massive hindrance to professional poker. Playing 20 hours a week for a 12 weeks is only 240 hours. At least 500 hours are needed as a bare minimum to evaluate your game.

It is easier to build a meaningful sample if you play online poker. This is because the games run faster and it is possible to play more than one table. However, you still want 50,000 or more hands as the absolute minimum.

Have You Got a Massive Bankroll?

A poker pro needs living expenses in addition to a substantial bankroll. Moving down stakes when running bad is disastrous because your potential hourly rate plummets. This means your bankroll should be much larger than that of a recreational player. We suggest a $1/$2 No-Limit Hold’em player should have a bankroll of at least 100-200 buy-ins, so $20,000 to $40,000. That looks excessive but it means you should never need to drop down stakes.

Living expenses need paying even if you do not win any money that month. Most poker pros have no less than six months’ living expenses tucked away for a rainy day. Others prefer a full year’s worth of expenses. Factor in everything from the occasional haircut to birthday presents, car services, and nights out. You may find you need another $20,000-$30,000 stashed away.

Do You Want a Steady Income Stream?

A regular 9-to-5 job pays you a wage at the end of each month. A poker pro can play perfect poker and win nothing. Worse still, that perfect month can still result in losses. Poker is a cruel mistress. Poker players’ wages tend to be feast or famine. That is either winning much more than they expect or hardly anything at all. However, it evens out in the long run.

Not having a steady income stream is stressful and not everyone gets their head around it. This is especially true if you have children or other dependents.

Furthermore, a poker pro does not receive any benefits expected from a “normal” job. There is no pension, no health care cover, and no annual leave. Take a day off when playing poker for a living and you lose a day’s pay. Take a week’s vacation and you potentially lose a week’s wage.

You Want Sociable Hours

Poker players set their own schedule. Those dreaming of turning into a poker pro think they can play a few hours at a time, socialize with friends, take the dog for a walk, play a few more hours, and reap in vast sums of money. However, in reality, they are grinding on an evening or night when the games are juiciest. Their friends and family have finished work and are relaxing while you work. Conversely, you are sleeping while they are working. The life of a poker pro is often a lonely one.

This is not to say you should give up your dreams of becoming a professional poker player. This article is there to highlight some of the things wannabe poker pros neglect to consider.

Brad Johnson

You name the game, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Brad has either played it or placed a wager on it! Brad calls himself a natural gambler, and someone who gains as much enjoyment from writing about the crazy game of poker as he does playing it.


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