What’s Life like as a Professional Poker Player?

The lifestyle of a professional poker player is often the envy of those individuals trapped in rigid nine to five office jobs.However, the reality is that the life is usually more difficult than it appears on the surface. Many pro players start out by using SugarHouse Online Casino PA to access a large selection of casino games and then hone their craft in poker by facing off against real-life opponents and bots in a variety of games including the most popular, Texas hold’em.

From here, pros can grind a living at the very same online tables if they execute the right plays and continue to add to a skill set that includes bluffing and range balancing. Is it as easy as it looks after turning pro?

Hard work and long hours

Daniel Negreanu is one of the most recognizable faces on the pro circuit. The Canadian has won six World Series of Poker bracelets and pocketed more than $32m from tournament wins during his career. Despite those successes, Negreanu admits being a pro is “a lot of hard work.”

When starting out, he would typically play for eight hours and then follow it up with a two-hour session analyzing each hand, determining what went right and wrong. He notes that the pro lifestyle is “very volatile” and can be “extremely stressful” if things are not going your way.

Pro players generally have to live and breathe poker, so life has to fit around the game rather than the other way round. This means players are either studying or are at the tables either online or in casinos from the moment they get up until late at night. When grinding for a living, cash games can go until the early morning – so a lack of sleep is common. Another pro player says “managing your time” is most important.

Travel to exotic destinations

Thailand is a popular hotspot for pro players as it offers great year-round weather, low upkeep costs and a favorable time zone for online cash games and tournaments. It is now very common for professionals born in the United States to make the move to another country.

Depending on the level of success, traveling to and from different destinations on a regular basis is part and parcel of the pro player lifestyle. This is because they get invitations to take part in private high stakes games in places such as Manila, Vietnam and Macau, where casinos like The Venetian host the rich and the famous on a daily basis.

Research by The Economistnewspaper found that gamblers lay down more than $1,350 in casinos in Macau compared to an average of $156 in Las Vegas. These premium venues are a magnet for pros as they play live games to boost their income, which is entirely dependent on their success on the green baize.

Pro player Nathan Williams has taken a different but no less viable path to success by focusing on online “microstakes” games. Under the username “BlackRain79”, Williams became known for his ability at betting small but winning big. He now lives in Thailand and is able to afford a luxury lifestyle due to the low cost of living.

Accepting variance

Being a poker pro is great if you have an entrepreneurial streak as you will be able to strike out on your own and effectively do as you please during any given week. Pros often devote time during the day for gym hours and can pick and choose the weekends when they can take time off or fly to a country to play some cash games.

This full autonomy is great when everything is going your way but during “downswings”, this freedom can be particularly stressful. Variance is a term that pros come to know and must accept over time. There will always be periods when cash is being burned through left and right and it is a struggle to win any cash games or tournaments.

Getting through the downswings is part of the lifestyle. You have to take the good with the bad and use difficult weeks or even months as a time for self-development and improvement.

Being a poker pro can be both incredible and demoralizing depending on your level of success at the tables. You are only as good as your last hand and a bad “beat” can lead to huge losses and financial hardship. On the flipside, a steady strategy and a positive outlook can help you to navigate the tough times and enjoy many of the benefits such as freedom, mobility, travel and potential financial success