Gambling related articles
Is it Worth Turning Pro at Poker?
What's your dream occupation? For some it's racing
car driver, pilot or vet. For others it's brain surgeon
or something wholesome and rewarding like gardener
or teacher. How about professional poker player? Perhaps
you believe you're someone who could take the high-octane
living, the adrenalin of chance and the fun of the
big wins. For the everyday amateur poker player who
looks forward all day to getting online and trying
their hand against competitors across the globe, the
notion of becoming a pro certainly has appeal.
You're your own boss, free to 'work' or not 'work'
as you see fit, with no deadlines or annoying colleagues
to deal with.
As a game, poker is easy to learn but hard to master.
Those starting out may feel buoyed on by some good
initial wins, only to find themselves in a hole a
few hands later by not tempering their play. Learning
when to be reserved or play aggressively is a key
component for people wanting to make a career from
poker. Career pro's recognise when the cards aren't
going their way, and minimise their losses through
reserved play ready for a good hand to come their
The only sticking point is pay. Would there be sufficient
cash in playing like a pro to support you and your
dependants? As you might expect, there is a vast range
in the earnings different pro players make annually.
High-profile players like Greek
Australian Billy the Croc (aka Billy Argyros)
and Mel Judah (aka The Silver Fox) have made their
names and their fortunes with cards and chips but
the game isn't so lucrative for everyone. How much
you win, or earn, depends very much on three key factors.
These are the stakes you choose to play at (whether
micro, low, medium or high), the sheer number of hands
you're dealt on a weekly or monthly basis, and, of
course, your overall win rate. Taking these numbers
into account, as a professional poker player it's
possible to earn as little as $7,800, or up to $45,000
It's important to note however, that while there
are literally millions of people playing poker every
day and night across the planet, a relatively small
number of them take away a solid profit from their
game. In fact, it's thought that of the millions playing,
around 25% are making money in the long term. Further,
only 10% do exceptionally well, winning time after
time and generating enough money to represent a respectable
income. With this in mind, it's worth thinking long
and hard about whether your game would see you in
the 10%, or even in the 25%.
In many respects, professional poker players are
like any other Australian sports person; they've lifted
their game to a higher level and can make money by
doing something others do simply for pleasure. However,
one way in which poker pros differ from their cricket
or rugby playing peers is in wallet size. Let's say
that the average pro poker player's salary is around
$50,000. While this may seem acceptable, and even
generous compared to that of the average office worker,
considered side-by-side with other sports pros' salaries
and it begins to look a little on the small side.
As the below infographic shows you, an A-League soccer
player at the top of his game commands $5,500,00;
a NBL basketball player is on a top salary of $200,000
and, most staggeringly, a Big Bash League cricket
player pockets $4,500,000 annually at the height of
his career. Looked at in this light, the lot of a
poker pro begins to look less enticing, although it
is obviously an easier career to get into.
As the below infographic shows, players must maintain
a strong win percentage to ensure to maintain an average
income of $60,000. Therefore, unless you're completely
confident you have what it takes to be a top player,
when it comes to transferring from the amateur ranks
to the professional league, pro poker may not be the
wisest career choice.
Note: Opinions expressed in
the 'Articles' section of Smartgambler are those of
the guest authors and are not implicitly endorsed
by the owners of Smartgambler.
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