This blog explores the question “is professional poker worth it?” Before I give a direct and straight answer, it is important to define what professional poker is. Professional poker is the skill, drive, and determination to play poker with the regularity of a full time job or more hours or to found companies that host poker games such as casinos or online poker games. Now that we are clear about this part of the definition, let’s be clear about what professional poker is not. Professional poker is not gambling or a game of chance. Playing poker is gambling or a game of chance, however, when one becomes professional, the ability to plan ahead and measure losses is higher. Also, the level of skill and time spent in development is higher.
The idea of professional poker is generally that some individuals can find playing regular poker to meet their financial goals and living needs. Another category of professional poker exists for a specific few. These are large competitors who have progressed within poker either through luck or through skill and are selected through their winnings to play for extremely large prizes, and in some cases become millionaires. This latter category is hardly what would be considered professional in the mundane sense, however, the criteria for entrance into these areas professionalized, normalizes, and legitimizes playing poker as a legitimate form of income that is nontaxable in many domains and countries.
So the question I am answering here: is the form of professional poker that you have to spend copious amounts of time studying, have an account of investment funds, be savvy about all tax regulations, spend approximately eight to ten hours for five days a week actually playing poker, watch all judicial rulings pertaining the poker, and be prepared for inevitable swings in earnings, worth it?
This is something that might be appropriate for a kid out of college looking to tell a good story, but the level of risk involved, and the dubious business and tax structures does not make the full professionalization of this a sustainable endeavor. The amount of time placed into playing professional porker is significant, sometimes reaching a hundred hours a week for serious players. Perhaps the best wording would be ‘serious poker players’ rather than professional, as many who do this do not even wish to have their names published and many serious players have ill-reputable and shameless backgrounds.
Playing poker is still a relatively easy way to make money, which is why there are so many who consider becoming serious poker players. Statistically, the odds seem to even out where if a person is serious enough, they can find consistent earnings. As with any business endeavor, there is a risk involved in operations, and the risk of operating full time in professional poker is greater than most entrepreneurial endeavors. The most important loss, however, is in reputation as generally the professional poker that are public are larger players in tournaments or they write valuable books on how to play. Other than this, most people who spend the amount of required time in a casino or in online poker rooms, avoid directly answering what they do or saying they are professional. That type of experience is not professional and actually damaging to a person in other ways. Are there good benefits to playing poker professionally? Yes. However, they are not significant to make any sound, logical person suggest that playing poker professionally is an ideal way of taking care of life’s responsibilities and accruing gains. Will people still want to play poker professionally even after knowing all of this? Yes, the allure of what seems like big earning and easy money, even with all the hard work and risk, will make people continuously look for a way to play poker professionally.