Playing Poker for a Living

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Most people have no idea what it takes to play poker for a living.

Before deciding to choose this path, let me warn you of the disadvantages first.

Poker has many benefits, but it also has some negative consequences that come with playing long hours.

This guide will allow you to make the right decision by learning from someone who actually plays for a living.

Pros and Cons of Player Poker for a Living

The first thing you need to play any game for a living is patience. Playing every day, all day, can get extremely tiring.

Staring at a computer screen for hours on end can literally drive you insane. In addition, your fortunes online are prone to wild swings.

You will occasionally sit down at a table and not get any cards for hours.

Be prepared to take the worst beats of your life along with huge runs that will make your bankroll soar.

Playing for a living requires extreme mental discipline and a steady game plan. It's a good idea to record how many hours you play each day and what your total profit for the day is.

Do this for a month or two before you make the switch to becoming a full-time player. This will allow you to analyze your play and find out how much you make on average.

Drawbacks of Playing Poker for a Living

1. No set income: Some months you'll actually experience a loss in total earnings. You must be able to cope with this and still have the confidence you need to win. You'll encounter some horrible runs along the way, so be prepared.

2. Exhaustion: You'll constantly be tired if you're playing all day. If you're playing really high limits, you may not have to play all day to make a living. The fact is that most of us will need to grind it out all day to pay rent and bills and buy food.

3. Reduced family time: Since you must make your money playing poker, you'll tend to spend less time with your family. When a good poker player encounters a bad run, he or she will grind it out until they prevail.

This may call for some extremely long hours of play. Be prepared to play poker at any time. On losing months you'll need to spend even more time on the computer or at the casino.

Advantages of Playing Poker for a Living

There are many advantages that help balance out playing poker for a living. I love that you get to choose your own hours to work on any day you wish.

You can take off as many days as you want and never be hassled to wake up at 8 a.m. - or, god forbid, earlier. You'll also be playing one of the most intriguing games in the world for money.

Who could ask for more? It's a great lifestyle if you're a winning player.

The fact is, most people can't handle the swings that are unavoidable in full-time play. Every time you sit at the table you must change your personality and play with ice water in your veins.

When you take a bad beat, you can't let it affect you. You must deal with the swings on a regular basis. You must also be a dedicated soul who will play even when the cards aren't going your way. You must be a very disciplined and winning poker player to play for a living.

I hope this article hasn't discouraged you if you have dreams of playing professionally. If you believe you can do it, you'll buy every book and read everything you can get your hands on to become a winning player.

See you at the tables.

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Chris in Utah 2009-11-05 18:48:00

"I hope to help with the journey that playing poker for a living can be respectable. My objective is to let the world know that an ordinary guy with a family can be a poker pro and not be considered a degenerate."
—Joe Hachem

z3r0 2009-08-31 19:05:00

Then why are the same people playing at tournaments. Some college students that wanted to pay there college bills and kept it as a career. If you say thats good luck then I'll tell you I won't depreciate myself to another mans luck. Even they will say that it is part luck part SKILL. The problem here is a matter of choice and risk you are willing to take. I don't make a living off of poker but I would sure love to. I think you should stop listening to those who complain about why they can't and listen to those who actually make a living that are brutally honest about the truth. Like everthing else and everybody else those learning pains are horrible especially with the older you get. Heart and dedication is what you need. No pain no gain?

Jacob 2009-08-11 23:04:00

As far as taxes go, since I play full time, and I am a US citizen, I usually set aside around 10-15% of my winnings to pay my taxes, and I deduct my losses (you can do this, you just can't claim more from your losses than your winnings, as far as deductions go).
10-15% usually does the trick, and allows me a bit of wiggle room, just in case.

kei 2009-08-03 00:10:00

Online poker is not something you should do professionally..ITS NOT REAL POKER! POKER IS MEANT TO BE PLAYED LIVE....It online poker should be a compliment to live poker...

Sean Lind 2009-07-09 18:17:00

Hey GivaDog,

Taxes and poker, always a fun topic. It's actually not a bad idea for an article. I think I'll write up a full one on just this.

The very short answer is that the tax laws on poker are governed by your country. Since I'm canadian, I only know the canadian laws well.

In canada, all gambling winnings are non-taxable. This is until it becomes your sole (or primary) source of income.

Once you officially declare yourself a professional poker player, you're now subject to all the same taxation laws as every other citizen. It's up to you to keep as detailed records as you can on wins and losses to be able to prove that what you submit as your yearly income is what it actually was.

As for the states, all gambling is taxable, regardless of if you're playing online, out of the country, locally. The IRS want their piece, and they don't care about the details.

It might be a while, but I'll get an article up eventually about this. Hopefully this helps in the meantime.

PS. Don't take anyone's advice to heart unless they're qualified in that field. "Someone told me I could do this" doesn't hold up as an argument when being audited.

GivaDogaBone 2009-07-09 08:14:00

Ok, you got your dream job and you are now earning more money than you are loosing.

How about the "Taxation" side of it?
Which country is implementing taxation on poker earnings (Online and/or Live) and do you know their taxation rules?
What if you are playing online, are those tax laws of this country applicaticable to international players?

Jacob 2009-07-08 23:45:00

I've been playing online poker for a living for four years now, and this is what I have to say about it.

I am, and always have been, a loner. I don't have many friends, because I don't want many. I don't deal with relationships, because I'm happier by myself. I don't care if gambling is a sin, because I don't acknowledge sin, and if you want to play poker instead of working a regular job, go for it.

I used to work construction and went to college part time. I got into debt pretty bad, and decided to put an entire paycheck ($700.00) into online poker. I had always liked to play online, and decided to gamble in an attempt to pay my debts.

Over the course of 6 months, I turned that 700 into 14,000, payed my bills, boosted what was left back to 10k, then quit my job to play full time.
I play with a bankroll of 10,000, never using more than 10% at any one table, and every two weeks i scrape off the profit over the 10k and cash it out.
I make roughly $65,000 a year doing this.

It may not be for everyone, but I don't mind sitting in front of my computer for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week (my system). It beats sweating my dirty life away laying bricks and concrete, and it beats working under some jackass fathead in a tie.

I'm currently working on becoming an author, and will eventually up my stakes to bring in even more money.

If you want to play, and you have the discipline, go for it.

joe 2009-06-21 00:59:00

Lliving the dream of becoming rich by taking from others is no way to live.

Go to school, work hard and you be much happier, especially if you are married, gambling is not for a married person what kind of an example are you going to give to your kids.

If the weather channel tells you that there is a 90% chance of rain, you will take your raincoat, well there is 95% you will not make it in poker, so get a real life, not a life sitting in front of the computer all day long.

I was addicted to poker and lost everything, house, money , everything including wife and kids, so do not let it happen to you.

If after spending 4 to 9 hours in front of a computer you feel miserable, then get the hint and do something productive.

Gambling is a sin and a addiction.

zyg0tic 2009-06-16 18:14:00

But I know a lot of people who make a living 100% from playing online poker.

And none of them have read that book.

jose 2009-06-15 01:42:00

Before I forget, since will traveling to a casino and do not surf the web when I will be playing in the casinos, do not, do not try online poker for a living or buying those expensive online software or even spyware, those do not work, tried it for 4 years. In my 14 years of playing I have not met a person who makes his/her living playing online, well I did met someone in a casino but he makes his money selling some online poker book about making a living playing poker online. Online poker is for fun, not to make a living, plus you cannot train online because when you go into a real casino and play real poker with real persons you will not do well and will lose 7 out of 10 times.

Get a book free to read from the local library by Dennis Purdy, the illustraded guide to texas hold'em, read it, read it and read it until you know the book inside out. This book will better prepare you for real poker and trying to make a living or becoming a pro, I am all for you to follow your dreams, but it in real poker where you have a shot, a real shot. Online poker does not adhere to real odds so stop playing online poker and go out and live your dream, hope you the best of luck.

P.S. when in a real casino, be nice, listen and make friends with the older real poker players and they will teach you the rest of what you need to know, if you come across as a punk kid who knows it all and a big mouth you will not be let inside the inner circles of the real pros

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