The Recipe for Becoming a Professional Gambler?
by: Ed Hill
You have to pick a game that is beatable. A beatable game is one where sometimes during the play of the game the player is afforded an opportunity to make an intelligent decision. Games such as Craps, Roulette, Non-progressive slot machines, and Keno are examples of games that are not beatable. So if one of the above is your game of choice, plan on going broke. The four games that are beatable are Blackjack, Progressive Slots, Sports Betting, and Poker.
First, my definition of a professional gambler is one that supports himself entirely off of his gambling winnings. There are people that are winning gamblers who donít make enough to overcome their expenses without having some other form of income and are by definition semi-professional gamblers. Either way, to be a pro or a semi-pro there are an immense set of skills that are required.
Just because a game is beatable doesnít mean that you are going to beat it. If you want to beat Blackjack you have to learn a card counting strategy. Then you are going to have a good enough routine to keep from being discovered. If progressive slots is your choice, you need to able to recognize when jackpots are overlays and then beat the teams to jackpots. Then there is sports betting, remember you have to handicap good enough to overcome the 4.5% disadvantage that you have when you are laying 11-10. So you chose our game, poker.
It is really pretty easy making a living at playing poker. All you have to do is follow this easy recipe.
Ingredient #1) HAVE THE SKILLS: You are not going to acquire the skills by picking up a book and reading it through once. First, the book has to be written by somebody that knows what he or she is talking about. If so, you will have to read it many times to digest everything that is in it. Secondly, you have to understand the game enough to be able to apply all the knowledge that is in the book at the right time without confusing concepts. Thirdly, you have to play well enough to realize that the book can't possibly cover every situation that arises. Eventually, you will need to be able to think beyond the book. It might take practicing at poker to learn to think beyond the book. In my opinion, Sklansky's "Theory of Poker" is the best, but it takes a pretty good player to get everything out of the book that it has to offer.
Ingredient #2) IRON CLAD DISCIPLINE: If you gain the skills to make a living at playing poker, it doesn't necessarily mean you will. You have to adjust your attitude to look at poker as just a game and only a game. If the chips belong in the pot, put them in. If they don't, fold. It is never personal. If you are going to play bad or lose your focus because you are on an extended losing streak, you have picked the wrong occupation. You are not going to win.
Ingredient #3) MONEY: You will have extended losing streaks. Poker has a lot of luck in it. You need more money than what you would believe to withstand all that can happen to you. Most people who play for a living couldn't withstand breaking even for a year; their expenses would bust them. Yet, in extreme cases this has happened. Which gets us back to Ingredient #2. Can you play your best game or a reasonable attempt at a good game when everything is going wrong and every time you go to the mailbox, it is full of bills? It takes a big bankroll and a strong constitution to stand up to these pressures and still perform. It is also an excellent policy to never borrow or loan money.
Ingredient #4) EGO: If you are looking to prove that you are the best, plan on standing on the rail. Just because you can afford to play in bigger games doesn't mean that you have to. You should pick games that have bad players in them whether they are small or big. You don't have to prove to anybody that you can beat any game that comes along -- unless you have to prove it to yourself. And if that is the case, you're not really trying to be a professional poker player; you're trying to become the "fastest gun in the west." But those guys always found somebody faster and ended up dead in the street. You will find that it is more than just a coincidence that the pretty women will finally discover how cool you are about the same time that you make it to the top section.
Ingredient #5) CHEATING: Say that you really do have the skills, discipline, money, and control of your emotions to make a living at playing poker. You had better know how to recognize when there is a reasonable chance that you are getting cheated and back away from the situation before you get hurt too bad.
Ingredient #6) WINNING ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH: You are talking about making a living at playing poker, not merely being a winning poker player. The difference is night and day. A winning poker player supplements his income playing poker. A professional poker player has to support himself by solely playing poker. Unless you plan on living in your car, you need to win quite a lot of money every year to keep the bankroll that you started the year with.
Ingredient #7) DON'T OVERESTIMATE YOUR EARN: Like I said before, poker is a lucky game, and you can have extended losing streaks. But there is a flip side to running bad. It is running way better than what you are supposed to for extended periods of time. If you don't handle this right, it can be almost as costly as running bad. If you are going to jump into much bigger games because you believe that you are finally "on top" of your game, when in reality, all you are doing is running exceptionally good, you might find that you can blow off a two-week good earn in only a few losing sessions. It is good to keep your action consistent and move up slowly. Overestimating your earn can also cause you to attempt to take on a lifestyle that you inevitably won't be able to afford.
Ingredient #8) DON'T BET ON ANYTHING BUT POKER: If you really have all the above 7 ingredients, you will still find yourself out of action if you like to bet on other games. The only exception is learning a blackjack card counting strategy. So, you see. There really isn't all that much to it. Easy money is really sweet.
Ok, now all you have to do is exercise!