It looks like poker is easy money — at least that's what most people believe. Many newcomers to poker falsely believe that they'll just flip cards and earn millions of dollars instead. Truth be told, that's not impossible, but it's much more difficult than you think. Every poker professional spend hundreds — if not thousands — of hours mastering the game of poker. They also lost many games along the way.
But becoming a poker professional isn't just about being good at cards. It's about being good at life. Poker requires a mental game that's on a whole new level.
If you're interested in pursuing a career in poker, here's a couple of things you need to understand. If you stick to them, you'll pave the way for becoming a poker pro.
Learning the rules of poker isn't going to do it. After all, rules are the easiest part of the game. First of all, there are much more poker games than Texas hold 'em, and you need to know at least two of them if you want to call yourself a poker player. In most cases, players will learn Omaha, but practicing draw and stud options will also improve your skills.
Apart from the rules, you need to know something that's usually referred to as poker theory. This is when maths kicks in, and you must dwell into the magical world of odds, pot odds, outs, playing styles, and more. All of these things are essential to master understanding the game dynamic and minimize the element of luck.
Many players falsely believe that all they need to do is study the theory as much as possible and become poker professionals. However, as soon as they sit at the felt, they become nervous and easy prey for poker sharks. That's because the game of poker needs practical skills as well. The best way to perfect your art is to play as much as possible and study theory in-between. That way, you can apply theoretical knowledge to your game and learn from your mistakes.
Despite being considered a game of skill, the element of chance still plays an important role in poker. Poker is not the NBA or any other sports league, so making several consecutive WSOP Main Event wins isn't possible. It's very difficult to win a gold bracelet from a side event, let alone from the main one.
The point is, you're going to lose a lot in poker, and that's not going to be your fault in most cases. You'll do everything perfectly, and somebody will still beat you by pure chance. These things happen and are the natural part of the game. At the end of the day, what matters is to win more money than you lost.
To become a professional, you need to keep your emotions in check. If you play live poker, some of the smallest changes in your mood can be displayed on your face, and professionals know how to read those "micro emotions" perfectly. With enough practice, you'll understand how they work as well.
Of course, you cannot have a perfect poker face as a new player, but you can learn how to keep calm when you're angry or excited. What matters the most is not to let emotions affect your decisions. In the world of poker, that's called tilting, and that's the moment you become the milking cow for more experienced players.
Once you know to control your big emotions, you can focus on your "poker face" that will not give away your cards in any way. Many poker players say that mediation and healthy lifestyle help with this a lot.
There's no easy money in poker. Everything you do, you need to master in order to expect positive results at the end of the day. It takes years of hard work before you reach a professional poker level, and can say that you can make decent money from what you do. Still, you'll have to accept that the game requires having a bit of talent for poker as well.