Don’t just jump into the shark pool
There is no doubt about it but online poker these days is something of a shark pool. The average player is more educated and well versed in poker theory. I have lost count of the number of starry eyed novices that were talking about “going pro” and who had delusions of grandeur.
Just how tough is it to play poker for a living in 2013? Well firstly, poker can be as tough or as easy as you make it. If making £10/hour is enough for you then your chances of success are pretty high. However, if you crave more money than that then this is where the obstacles can lay.
For example, if you have never gambled for a living before then there will be many pitfalls that you will have to face to succeed. As a rule, professional poker players, or professional gamblers for that matter, end up being what they are after a prolonged period of time where they continually bet and play in increasingly larger amounts and frequencies. So full time professionalism is an end result rather than just something that can be automatically switched on and then done… but why is that?
There is one key area that stifles professional play more than any other and it is to do with variance. To be able to fully withstand variance means being at one with your style of play and also the losses that you will incur. For example to make say $30/hour above only making $10/hour means having to incur greater swings to your bankroll. It is these swings that can ultimately be your undoing unless you have the mental fortitude and the experience to be able to ride them. However, this is the problem because if you lack experience and play a very high variance style then the game itself will ultimately be many times more difficult to make money at.
This is why I never advocate to new players to jump right in to the poker shark pool straight away. I recommend a period of acclimatisation first and foremost. I played online poker for two years off and on before I had enough experience and knowledge to go full time in 2002. I didn’t just say to myself one morning “hey let’s turn pro”. It slowly happened over a long period of time where I slowly but surely increased the number of hours that I played.
I believe that there are far too many players who are attempting to move too quickly in poker and they ultimately pay the price because of it. Online poker doesn’t even present the player with a secure income and so to chase playing professionally is nothing short of chasing fool’s gold, in my opinion, for the vast majority of players.
There just needs to be more caution involved at the outset of a poker career or a poker venture than many people exercise. Remember that in terms of making money it will ultimately be your overall psychology and mentality that will either be your biggest weapon or your biggest downfall… it’s your choice.