Point - NO; Keep Your Day Job
Playing poker as a profession has as many perks as it does pitfalls. But not everyone who can beat the game can beat the life.
I was still grinding $4/$8 Limit when I first made the decision to play poker professionally. I had met up with a cool guy and very good poker player along the way. He had been playing professionally for a few years, grinding his way though university.
He was the first person I told when I made the choice. After I told him my plan, he told me this:
"Listen, I'm not trying to dispirit you at all. You need to understand that you're going to broke. Every poker player goes broke the first time they try to play professionally.
It's just not possible to get it all right the first time. You're going to make some mistakes and play with scared money. You're going to go broke."
The Grim Reality
If you leave your day job to play poker, you will be forced to play low stakes. This will be partly due to an insufficient bank roll. Even if you have the money, you should never move up in limits until you can consistently, effortlessly, beat the one below it.
You need to start playing poker at the bottom to acquire the skills needed to make it at the top.
There's a reason playing thousands of hours of poker at low limits is called a grind. It feels like exactly that. If you are good enough to play poker professionally, you will outgrow the limit, and the skill needed to play in that limit, far before your bankroll permits you to move up.
Poker Is Supposed to Be Fun
Playing poker is fun for the challenge, for the skill. Once you can no longer achieve either of those things at the table, the game loses all its appeal. If you love poker - truly love it - there is no better way to ruin the game then by "grinding it out on your leather ass."
By keeping a day job, it allows you to have the freedom of playing the game you want to play, when you want to play it. It allows you to view poker as a game, rather than as a job.
When all the fun is sucked out of the game you play, it forces you to try and inject fun into it somehow. It's the No. 1 reason you'll see poker players gambling at the table, or making prop bets.
Keep your day job; play poker as a hobby. You'll be glad you did.
Counterpoint - YES
By Dan Skolovy
The saying goes that grinding low-stakes poker will suck the life out of you, but playing poker for a living has its obvious benefits. And it doesn't matter if you 17-table $25 NL 40 hours a week or you bust a couple chumps a week at Ivey deathmatch.
Drawbacks are pretty much guaranteed, true, but the positives so outweigh the negatives that it's really no contest. Let's go over the positives, as they are the most fun.
Best of all, you work for yourself. There's nobody breathing down your neck telling you to get stuff done. You are your own boss. You have nobody to answer to but yourself.
This freedom is easily the best benefit by far. If you don't feel like playing one day, guess what? You don't have to. Which brings me to my next point:
You can take time off whenever you want. Oh, your friends are going to be heading out of town for the week and want you to join them? No problem; you can just play more leading up to that week and take the whole week off. No holiday problems; no nothing. You want the time off, you take it. Simple as that.
You set your own hours. Sure, playing poker is a job just like any other. If you don't put the time in, you're not going to get ahead. However, when playing poker you get to decide when you put those hours in.
If the games are no good then you can go for a run and come back or try again in the evening when the games are better. If you are going out at night then get your hours in earlier in the day. Flexibility my friend: it's the spice of life.
You can get up whenever you want. Obviously a huge bonus. Who likes getting up early? Nobody, unless they are sick and twisted. When you bend cards for a living you can get up whenever you want. Sleeping in till 1 p.m. never felt so good. I mean what else are you going to do when you are taking flops till 5 a.m.?
You can work from home. If you don't want to make a trip to the casino, any number of online sites are only a click away. Online poker has brought poker into our living rooms. And me and my 42-inch LCD TV and wireless mouse and keyboard are more than happy to welcome it in from the couch.
You can make serious money. Rarely are you going to be able to make the money that is out there to be made doing anything else for yourself. There are supernovas on Stars making 100k+ a year grinding microstakes.
How sick is that? You need no schooling for poker. Just the will to put in time to get better. Anyone can beat this game; it's just whether or not you want it bad enough.
So there you have it - even if you are just playing microstakes, you get to reap the rewards of the poker lifestyle. Contrast that with working every day in a cubicle getting blinded by fluorescent lights.
I think you'll all agree with me that taking flops is better than pumpin' for the Man any day of the week!