Playing Online Poker for a Living

If you’ve found this article it hopefully means you’re looking to make some extra income from playing poker online, you may even be looking to quit the rat-race for good and go full-time. I run a small website and poker school and have been a full-time online poker player for 4 years, playing part-time whilst working a regular job for 4 years prior to this. If you are considering playing poker online for a living you might benefit from reading the following.

In many ways playing poker online for a living really is one of the best jobs in the world:

1. You will have no Boss.
No one to tell you what to do, no one to increase your workload because others are incompetent, no one to suck up to just because they’ve been at the company longer than you so they’re ‘in charge’. As you can probably tell, I don’t like bosses. Never have, never will.

2. You work when you want.
No getting up at 6.30am to make it to the office on time. If you want a day off you take a day off; if you want a week off you take a week off. You have no boss, you can do what the hell you like!

3. You don’t necessarily have to pay tax on your earnings.
If you are from the UK, for example, income from playing poker is tax-free. (For many of you outside the UK this isn’t the case, your profits are fully taxable by law. Make sure you are fully informed about your tax obligations with regards to professional gambling).

4. You can work anywhere in the world.
Have laptop: will travel! Good invention this internet thing isn’t it? Personally, I have travelled a lot over the past four years, lucky me gets to go to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada to name but a few. At the time of writing I’m in Buenos Aires. If you have the desire to see the world, playing poker online really does fit the lifestyle like a glove. An added bonus here is that you’ll be earning in US dollars (GBPs or Euros too) if you choose to live anywhere where this currency is stronger than the local currency you’ll feel that much richer!

5. You can enjoy what you do.
Poker is a great game, it’s always throwing up new situations, a new set of challenges to overcome and new opportunities to learn. Sure, there will be times when you won’t enjoy playing, you’d rather be out socialising with the ‘regular 9-5ers’ but I can honestly say that after all this time I still have a passion for the game. It’s not such a bad way to meet people too. You can forge strong links with fellow online players from all over the world. You have a common interest, you’re bound to get along!

Convinced? Thinking of how you’ll be telling your boss what you really think of him, or her, as you hand over your letter of resignation? Wait just a minute, life as a full-time poker player isn’t all a bed of roses, playing for a living isn’t for everyone. Read on and you will find out why.

1. Say goodbye to most weekends and evenings.
In fact, if you’re in the UK or Europe you might well become nocturnal. The truth is it’s much easier to find profitable games during the night and at weekends. This is when a lot of casual players will sit down for an hour or two, many seem to just hate their money and are eager to give it away. Even the biggest poker room online has far fewer, and far tighter tables during the USA day time than during the evenings.

2. Your income is unstable.
Even the best players experience long losing streaks, it’s unavoidable. These streaks can last weeks, or even over a month in extreme cases. It’s entirely possible you’ll play near-perfect poker for a week yet still end up losing money. Not only do you need the bankroll to withstand this you also need the temperament to cope with these swings of fortune, they do happen and it’s not fun when they do. It’s important therefore to keep your living expenses separate from your bankroll, this helps ease the pressure when the fish are feeding on you. Stick to your solid game and you will experience the correction in fortune. Poker is a game of skill, in the long-term luck plays no part in your profits. Providing you are adequately bankrolled you will win back any loses, in fact you’ll win even more.

3. “Dear Mr Bank Manager, I would like a loan to buy my dream house/car/holiday/bride. I am a professional poker player and my annual income is $(insert crazy figure here!)”.
See how your lender reacts to that! You won’t convince too many people to lend you any money if they find out what you do. If you’ll be needing to borrow money to make a significant purchase in the near future think long and hard. For advice on securing loans for pro-gamblers seek a qualified Independent Financial Advisor.

There’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking of relying on poker for your source of income. Without doubt the wisest way to proceed is to keep your steady job; play poker as your hobby at first, it’s probably best if you give it at least one year, probably more. Perhaps you can only manage 10hrs play a week? Over the weeks and months you will learn advanced skills that will increase your profits significantly. At the same time you’ll still have the security of a regular salary.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact the author at: