Many online poker players dream about telling their boss to get stuffed, and turning pro in the online world. But making a success of going pro online isn’t just a matter of being able to use your online poker strategy to turn a profit. In the long term, it’s a lot to do with what kind of person you are, what kind of lifestyle you want, and whether your desire to play poker online is matched by the resilience and determination to keep going when things get tough.
So let’s take a look at what you need to think about before considering online poker as a career option.
1. Think about the people around you
If you’re playing poker to pay the bills, it’s a different thing from playing for some extra cash. It means you’ll often have to keep playing when your partner, friends or family want your time and attention. And unfortunately, weekends and evenings, when your family is around, are prime slots as far as poker games are concerned because that’s when most players are active. You’ll need to make time specifically for family and friends, and be aware of the danger of neglecting them.
2. It’s a game but not a sport
Playing poker professionally demands hours and hours of sitting still. Not exactly what the doctor ordered for your health. So schedule in an hour in the gym, or a walk for the dog, or twenty minutes on a treadmill. Not only will it help your health, it will undoubtedly help your concentration and gameplay too.
3. Be prepared for cashflow variance
Managing your bank roll carefully is one of the most basic poker tips. If you want to play poker online for a living, you’ll be prepared for peaks and troughs in cashflow. But you need to match the expected level of variance to the size of your cash fund, so that it never wipes out your playing capital. In other words, leave a very large safety margin between the size of the games you’re in, and the amount of cash you’re holding in reserve. That way you’ll be able to weather the peaks and troughs, and always be able to get back in the game.
4. Assess your own resilience
Before turning pro, you need to audit yourself with total honesty. How resilient are you? Think of when things have gone wrong outside poker. How well did you cope? Were you able to grit your teeth and carry on until things got better? Or did you have to take time out until you were better able to deal with whatever it was?
Your online poker strategy isn’t just about what hands to play and when to raise. It’s also about how you’re going to manage the bad times, so you need to think about this in advance and get some strategies in place for boosting your resilience.
5. Calculate your win rates
As part of your online poker strategy for turning pro, you need to know what your winning statistics are. This means, that over thousands of hands, you have a record of how much you made, how much you spent and how much cash you needed to keep playing. Without this knowledge it’s impossible to predict how much you can expect to make when you turn pro. Don’t be tempted to chuck in the day job because you’ve had a great few months. You need to look at the likely variance in return and profit, over a much longer period.
For the really serious, look at the win rate calculations which allow you to project your monthly income and give you some insight as to what level of play and big blind is most profitable for you. Work out how much you win on average for every 100 hands you play. Then scale it up to the actual number you need to play, to make the amount you require.
And think about using a HUD – a “heads-up display”. It’s software that summarises your own, and your opponents’ win rates and online poker strategy, and displays while you are playing.
These are some online poker tips to think about before you turn pro – your skill level, bankroll management and resilience will be key to succeeding as a pro player online.