After a year or so of playing poker a percentage of regular onliner players from Texas begin considering a professional career. This is a huge step. Obviously if you’ve demonstrated to yourself and to your bank balance that you have the skill sets that give you the kind of confidence you need to play poker for a living, the idea can become very tempting. The international poker circuit is beginning to mirror the international golf and tennis circuits. Fabulous locations, huge prize pools and the growing support of big brand sponsorship.
However, it’s not a lifestyle for everyone. Unless you can afford to travel with your spouse it’s likely to put any marriage under strain. Having said that there are some great examples of husband and wife teams who do amazingly well and love jaunting from Las Vegas to the Caribbean as a way of paying the domestic bills. For singles of course the whole thing is a lot easier as you have only yourself to be concerned about and that’s a healthy situation for a professional poker player.
If you’re playing cards for your own future and not your kids’ education or the new car you promised the wife it gives you a more realistic chance of being able to play with the aggression and guts you need to be able to muster to fight your way into the top bracket.
My advice is certainly not to make the leap from evening online and social play to professional play in one go. Players I know who have made the transition successfully have all done it the same way. They go semi-professional for at least a year to see if it suits them. Generally, they’ll take one full day a week to concentrate completely on their online game and if after twelve months they are handsomely in the black, that’s when they make their decision. One pal of mine who had a third partnership in a restaurant took the semi-pro’ route.
He would spend his weekends playing serious poker and his holidays testing his mettle against the big tables in Las Vegas. Eventually he sold his share in the business and has been a professional now for just over eighteen months and does very well. He has an excellent temperament for the task and most important of all, he enjoys it.
If you are considering taking this big step in 2007 make your New Year’s resolution embody the advice offered here today because it is based on a real knowledge of what it means to “go professional”. Those of you who have done so already and have anecdotes, we’d love to hear about them on dailystarpoker.com.