Playing Poker for a Living

    • DNAwithin
      DNAwithin
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2011 Posts: 32
      Greetings, Poker Strategists!

      It's been a while since I last wrote in these forums, but they've always been in the back of my mind. The motive of my posting, instead of just browsing as per usual, is simple - I had a super shitty day at work. Usually after such a day I primarily dwell on one particular topic: How do I release myself from the corporate prison and do something that I actually enjoy? One of the somewhat realistic answers I come up with is poker. Back in the day I used to play for a couple of hours a day and even made a few hundred bucks per month on the side at 6 handed NL50 tables and had a pretty good time with it.... and then Black Friday happened. After a ton of issues I managed to withdraw my funds and run for cover. Well, I'm Bulgarian, so not really as many issues as US citizens.I haven't really played that much since then. I have $100 at PS and play some SnGs when I'm bored, but that's it.

      Anyway, I'm here, because I need your help. No, I don't need you to stake me to go to WSOP. :) I'm here because I need your advice. I need to hear the word of the wise on what's it like being a pro poker player. And I'm not asking what it's like being Daniel Negreanu. I want to hear the advice of the real pros - the ones that sit at home and grind the tables for hours per day.
      Is it worth it?
      Would you exchange it for a regular well paying but boring office job?
      What does it take to be a pro?
      Are there any people out there making a regular salary (like $300 a week?) with 40 hours of grind per week?
      Share your experience with us.

      I hope this isn't too silly.

      Cheers! :)
  • 21 replies
    • Tomaloc
      Tomaloc
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.01.2011 Posts: 6,858
      hi, i'm not a pro but i've considered the move a few times.

      i feel like the main thing you need is a very strong mindset and supportive environment.
      the pain of sitting down and losing over and over for a decent stretch hurts A LOT, makes me glad that i can just decide to stop playing whenever i want :f_biggrin:

      also there is the future, the games are getting tougher (whatever just work harder LOL!), but i'm mostly worried about random legislation...
      i'm not saying "no money in poker everyone is solid", there's definitely still a lot to be made (also in omaha and other games), but all things considered i personally don't think that online pokers is a very good long-term choice.
    • andiofwbafc
      andiofwbafc
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.05.2012 Posts: 397
      If I played poker for a living I'd end up on the streets :D
    • Murinjosasha
      Murinjosasha
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.04.2014 Posts: 18
      Good look for all who are going PRO :) I am new here and little looking on forum :) Will post hands and ask for advice if needed, cheers
    • andiofwbafc
      andiofwbafc
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.05.2012 Posts: 397
      Originally posted by Murinjosasha
      Good look for all who are going PRO :) I am new here and little looking on forum :) Will post hands and ask for advice if needed, cheers

      Welcome to Pokerstrategy & good luck at the tables.

      Kind regards, Andio.
    • CoreySteel
      CoreySteel
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2006 Posts: 3,366
      You had a(nother) shitty day at the job, but you still get payed at the end of the month (I presume). What happens when you get a shitty day at poker or a shitty week, month, ...? When you play for a living you can't afford tilt, breaking mouse, taking a day/week off to cool down.

      As Tomaloc said, if your mindset isn't on the right level, it can be painful :) For me it's definitely worth it, but I'm pretty sure I have one of the strongest poker mindset there is. Plus I can't really imagine having an office job. I mean, poker isn't forever so someday I'll probably have to take a 9-5 job, but I hope this day doesn't come anytime soon :D

      The biggest advantage is obviously the "freedom". Right now I'm sitting in front of computer, browsing forums and sites, my feet are resting on subwoofer, I'm drinking tea with milk and I put my shirt on just because its Tuesday. On the other hand, my GF had to wake up almost 3 hours before me so she can be at work in time. Well the downside is that I have to make a dinner, but I like cooking anyway :P

      And yes, there are players who make 300$/week playing 40 hours/week. That's basically every other Russian at fixed limit :)
      For someone to choose poker over a regular job I think one needs to earn at least twice the pay. That's kinda my threshold, but it differs from person to person, country to country...

      Last, but definitely not least... Before you start thinking about going pro, you need to know if you are actually a winning player or not :)
    • JCSeerup
      JCSeerup
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.12.2010 Posts: 1,039
      Originally posted by CoreySteel
      And yes, there are players who make 300$/week playing 40 hours/week. That's basically every other Russian at fixed limit :)
      For someone to choose poker over a regular job I think one needs to earn at least twice the pay. That's kinda my threshold, but it differs from person to person, country to country...
      This.

      A lot of people don't take into account the lost future value you would have had by working a 9-5 job rather than 'gambling' for a living.
    • fickodejan
      fickodejan
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.02.2011 Posts: 20
      nice
    • winpok77
      winpok77
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.09.2011 Posts: 1
      It would be cool if could
    • andreibalint
      andreibalint
      Bronze
      Joined: 11.04.2009 Posts: 872
      I've been living from poker this entire year and it's a sick ride. I play MTT's. I would consider myself lucky if I was trying to play cash games rather then MTT's.

      Good part is that I have no fixed monthly cost (I live with my parents :D ) so most of what I make goes to investing and going out.

      I earned about 75% of what I made at my prop-shop multinational company where I worked for 2 years, and that 25% I was burning on smoking and driving, so it's about the same thing. And in less time.

      So how the hell do I do it?
      - gave myself 6 months trial time.
      - first 3 months I did not withdraw.
      - I have exact volume targets and pre-planned days when I play on the calendar.
      - I have fixed hours when I play and fixed hours when I study every day.
      - I make an absolute minimum withdrawal each month no matter what happens.
      - I study every day for 2 hours.

      Best way to start is to get fired, it forced me to do something instead of just thinking about it for ages. The downside of playing online poker in my opinion is a healthy dose of loneliness and anxiety. Fixable I would say.

      So this is my way. Hope it helps. What I realise is that I actually don't need to be dwan to do this, I would kill for an average of 2k/month. As motivation, there's nothing better then thinking "I'm so happy I made 3 times my former salary this month, I'll just give myself a couple of days off to go to the seaside".
    • bettingstation
      bettingstation
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.12.2009 Posts: 125
      it is normal, i do it also....
    • Shevtshenko
      Shevtshenko
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.12.2009 Posts: 4,087
      300$ in 40 hours



      7,5$ / hour.


      This hourly is not high enough to justify having large variance in your daily/weekly/monthly income. Hence, if this is your goal - I would recommend looking to do something completely different.


      Would you exchange it for a regular well paying but boring office job?
      What does it take to be a pro?
      Are there any people out there making a regular salary (like $300 a week?) with 40 hours of grind per week?
      Share your experience with us.



      1) Define well paying, define boring. Being a low stakes (even mid stakes) poker pro is a grind. If you want to be a high stakes pro, you need to grind to keep up with the competition. Long story short: it's a grind.

      If the office job provides a better hourly, imo unlikely it's wise to become a poker pro. Sure there are cases (aka tim64) where it might not be the case.

      2) Too vague and too obvious question to be answered imo.

      3) Probably. But those people shouldn't be pros, they should be hobbyists.


      Poker pro lifestyle is fun. Plenty of similarities to being an entrepreneur. Coming from poker, it's easy to underestimate the value of variance free income. Then again, total freedom is also underestimated by pretty much everyone who works in a regular job.

      I already spent too long on this thread but hope some of this was helpful.

      source: cg pro for 4 years.
    • SPeedFANat1c
      SPeedFANat1c
      Gold
      Joined: 04.01.2009 Posts: 5,070
      If the office job provides a better hourly, imo unlikely it's wise to become a poker pro.


      If my english understanding is ok, then I understand that in your opinion its not good to be poker pro if you currently earn in job more. You mean even with the advandage of being boss to yourself, work whenever you want, how long you want, holidays whenever you want?

      Also we have to keep in mind that if you earn less, but you can earn more once you become better player. Or you think first you have to become better player by playing during your freetime from work and then think if you like it or not?


      Also according to the quote, this applies then to many people, many people in richer countries earn high amounts of money in their boring jobs.
    • fusionpk
      fusionpk
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.01.2010 Posts: 1,683
      You know, I went pro this year, I was like, "I enjoy playing poker who cares what my hourly is, aslong as it's as high/higher than minimum wage".

      "I can be my own boss, work my own hours"

      Whatever you do, don't underestimate how _hard_ it is. I like alot of Schev's points. If you are only aiming to achieve minimum wage <=$10/hr it's completely not worth it. As Schev said, you just don't need the variance, no doubt on that wage, the majority of your earnings will be paid out each month. So when you start having bad months, you start to become under serious pressure.

      If you are really good at poker, and poker earns you 10 x your salary then of course it makes sense. Get some money in the bank for your life roll, grind poker for a living, saving x amt a month and increasing your roll x amt/month and have no worries if you lose for a month or two.

      Poker is great, but you need to be studying the game and keeping on top of an ever evolving game. Never forget, it's a hard way to make an easy living.
    • StartlingGrope
      StartlingGrope
      Bronze
      Joined: 08.06.2014 Posts: 67
      I was looking at turning pro about five years ago and if I can improve my game a little, I'd still like to to that. Grinding S&Gs all day isn't wildly exciting but, as another poster has said, it depends what qualifies as boring. I'd wager that 99% of jobs as we know it, even the brilliant ones, are full of tedium. If I can make comparisons with the average job:

      a) As well as eight hour days, the journey to and from work is an additional unpaid expense, as is my lunch break. When you factor in time doing things unpaid that you wouldn't do if it wasn't for the day job then I'd wager that the $7.50h figure mentioned above isn't far off the mean salary once tax is taken into account. In my own case, I agree that $7.50 isn't worth the swings but an hourly of only $10 could well justify it for many, myself included. I personally have it in the back of my mind to give up work immediately if I can push my hourly to $20 but I might even take the plunge at $10 if my bankroll is deep enough.

      b) Similarly to point a, poker is a viable way out for people stuck in dead end jobs. It may be a grind but you can do it from home, you can do it in a bar, you can do it on a beach in Thailand. You don't have to do the same desperate commute every day. You can more or less eat when you want, drink when you want and sit in the garden when you want. Sometimes you can play poker at the same time.

      c) Poker allows a certain amount of flexibility. If something is happening on Tuesday teatime then you can fit your working poker week around it and make up the hours elsewhere in the week. Likewise, if you're sick to death during a poker session then you can go and do something else to clear the cobwebs. If you're at work then you do as you're told until your brains fall out of your ears or you get the sack.

      d) If you can focus 100% on poker then you can improve as a player. If you improve then you earn more money. If you earn more then you have more time to focus on your game. Focusing on your game earns more money. Repeat.

      e) As with d, if you can compare beating levels with promotion then the sky's the limit with poker. The vast majority of people, however skilled, aren't going to earn over $100,000 per year at any point in their career. With a lot of hard work - or even just a lot of luck - this is achievable through poker.

      f) While we'd all like the improbable WSOP win, one of the things that drives me is the opportunity to take a crack at the big prizes and I know I'm not alone. If I do ever go pro then I expect to divert a small percentage of my profit into satellites. If I'm on an hourly of $15 in the long term then I'm never going to be living a luxury lifestyle but the prospect of just qualifying for an event like the Aussie Millions through satellites is hugely exciting and that's even before taking into account the prizes available if you run well. Even if you bust out on the first day then spending a few days on the beach or being around the environment of the event would be terrific.

      Now I don't have the experiences of the pros on this board but I often see people saying that doing a 'normal' job is preferable unless you're turning over consistently high scores. I'm happy to be persuaded otherwise but I think playing poker for yourself for $15 an hour is far preferable to doing dirty work for somebody else entirely on their terms for the same amount of money.
    • cvrlevu
      cvrlevu
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      Joined: 07.09.2010 Posts: 2
      ok
    • SPeedFANat1c
      SPeedFANat1c
      Gold
      Joined: 04.01.2009 Posts: 5,070
      Poker allows a certain amount of flexibility. If something is happening on Tuesday teatime then you can fit your working poker week around it and make up the hours elsewhere in the week.


      actually I see many jobs offering flexible hours also. Ok, only problem is that I dont see that many offering lower amount of hours than std 8 per day but making same amount as working 8 hours, and poker offers that.

      I of course understnad that if you earnd duirng 5 hours the same as somebody during 8 hrs then you would earn in 8 hours even more, but what I meant was - you dont care about more money, you have such amount that care more about free time.
    • Pilks7
      Pilks7
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.09.2010 Posts: 129
      If you hate your job that much, why not use that to motivate you to play, study and learn poker in your spare time, with an eye towards becoming pro?

      I think what everybody is saying is that the grass is always greener on the other side, and that the stress of grinding poker games as a sole income is actually hard enough without jumping in too early and putting massive amounts of stress and pressure on yourself to earn enough to pay the bills and keep a roof over your head etc. etc.

      Also, poker is still a game of variance, you can play perfect and still lose money for a couple of months straight. You can make a living from it but you need to be really sensible and realistic about being able to survive big downswings.
    • maythany
      maythany
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.10.2011 Posts: 1,189
      Well poker is a great part time job because you can gain some extra money monthly.

      Full-time may be realistic for some people and quite frankly it is not a bad idea considering how the economy is going right now.

      In Ontario, Canada, over 34,000 jobs were lost this month so having another source of income is going to be beneficial long term.
    • CreamyGoodness
      CreamyGoodness
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.10.2010 Posts: 229
      I know NOTHING about playing poker for a living, but I will say this, based on "common sense" (and believe me, I have made enough mistakes in my short but colorful life to have gathered a good bit of common sense :tongue: );

      If you plan on getting to the point where poker is your only source of income, you need a MASSIVE savings account. Enough to get by on for three months or more. by "get by", I mean enough to cover mortgage, bills, food, education (if you have kids etc). I would want to have six months or more in my savings account before I considered going pro. In fact, definitely more, to cover unforeseen expenses like hospital bills etc.

      Remember, poker players get no holiday pay, no sick pay, no pension etc.

      Also, if you have a family (wife/husband and kids), being a pro player is probably foolish and selfish unless you are a proven winner over millions upon millions of hands. Even if you have a girlfriend with plans to marry and have kids, the expense of marrying and then having a kid (and the stress), means that having a regular job with "guaranteed" income (or variance free income) is invaluable.

      Furthermore, I doubt there is such a thing as a "pure" pro poker player anymore. I would bet that every real professional poker player has other things going on that bring in money. Some may be coaches, some operate websites, some have a strong investment portfolio, some may have some property.

      Poker is unreliable, stressful, and in a lot of cases, susceptible being banned or heavily regulated in many countries. Having backup, in the form of another job (coaching, investments etc), or having a college degree, is a very, very good idea. Spending 40+hrs a week to grind out minimum wage will make it very difficult to meet these goals.

      And, believe it or not, paying no taxes is, in the long run, unrealistic and not very beneficial.

      That said, I will be finishing my BA degree in around 10 months, and then I will consider going pro, but only for a year or two, to fund traveling and to have fun. Then I will most likely get a real job and settle down with my GF.
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