You’ve probably heard about the high-flying poker pros who make millions from major tournaments and dominate the online gambling world as well.
From the outside, this career can look like a glamorous one, filled with high risk, high reward adventures around the globe. It also seems like an appealing alternative to the 9-to-5 lifestyle most of us are accustomed to.
But does the reality of being a professional poker player meet expectations, or are there some things people get wrong about it? Here are the main misconceptions and false assumptions, demystified.
Professional poker players are rich
While it’s true that the top pros are multimillionaires, you shouldn’t assume that if you learn how to play poker it will be an easy ride to a life of wealth and stability.
Indeed, the median salary for people who play poker for a living is around $45,000, while the largest proportion of people in this field make around $28,000 annually.
It’s also worth pointing out that these earnings are not the stable salaries that you’d expect from a standard job. Rather, they are only achieved through the skill and the luck of the players, so there can be a lot of fluctuations in income, even for seasoned poker veterans.
There’s a solid community spirit
While you can enjoy plenty of camaraderie with other players at games that take place face-to-face, the likelihood is that if you play poker professionally, most of your day will be spent in front of a computer on your own.
The rise of online poker may have opened up the option to earn cash from card games to many people, but this also means that you will lose out on the social side of working a normal office job.
If you are able to survive on your own, without the company of others, then this will not be too much of a problem. In fact, life as a professional poker player is a lot like life as a freelancer in any field.
Luck is all you need
Poker is different from most other types of gambling because luck is not the only element involved in determining who wins or loses.
Sure, if fate is on your side and you get dealt an incredible hand, you could walk away from the table with a sizable pot. However, it’s more important to develop the skills needed to read other people, interpret their play style and behaviors, and work out what to do next based on your intuition.
If you aren’t good at looking for tells and learning about the tactics other players are using, then you’ll find it tricky to make a living playing poker. Those who do stay the course are skilled, not just lucky.
Poker is a good side hustle
While you may think that you can play poker in addition to having a day job, just to top up your income, this is rarely going to work out as you’d hoped.
Only those who are able to commit hours and hours of every day to playing games, honing their skills and building up a bankroll will be able to actually earn a living in this way.
Casual players are really just the fodder that feeds the serious poker-heads, and if you fall into the former category, then it’s important not to be deluded about this fact.
With all these things taken into account, it’s easy to see why being a poker professional is definitely not for everyone. For most, it’s best to just sit back and enjoy watching the pros work.