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Dreams of Going Pro

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  • Dreams of Going Pro

    Hello all, I have been on PSO since August, but only now have decided to start posting. This will be my first of hopefully many more. I love poker and want to take it seriously as a profession one day, so I would like any opinions and feedback on:

    1. What are the minimum requirements to go pro? (bankroll, game selection, hours a day etc.)
    2. Did anyone try going pro before, and was it as hard/easy as expected.

    Thank You,

    BawMe


    also I know this is a school for new and learning players, and i appreciate and respect that, just hoping to hear from some people with knowledge and/or insight on the matter. Thanks again.

  • #2
    Welcome and good luck. Dreams can come true but not overnight. Theres lots off help videos courses training and plenty off great users that will help you! Just ask

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by BawMe View Post

      1. What are the minimum requirements to go pro? (bankroll, game selection, hours a day etc.)
      Answer: "It depends"

      Seriously, in this case it does.

      Your BR requirements need to account for your likely variance patterns induced by your most common style of play. Tighter, less risk averse players may be ok with a smaller BR than looser more aggressive and less risk averse players.

      Take the movie "Rounders":

      That movie touches just a little bit on the sort of internal conflict any new poker pro has to face regarding the risk/reward balance he is willing to accept. Knish, the highly risk averse grinder, would probably need fewer buy in's in his BR to avoid going broke than someone like Mike, who is ready at the drop of a hat to put ALL his money on the table if he feels he has a skill edge on an opponent; who do you think is likely to go bust-o more often? for someone starting off as a new poker pro, someone who does not have an alternate income stream or a huge BR amount he can afford to play on at the highest stakes, Knish should probably be the real "hero" of the movie more often than Mike...even though he is not nearly as compelling.

      Game selection, omg I cannot express how important that is if you are trying to play for a living!
      To put it in simplest terms, game selection has the potential to be MORE IMPORTANT than overall poker "skill" to your profitability if you are trying to derive a living from poker. Think about it a second...

      Everyone probably has some holes in their games, and even the top professional's have holes (although their holes are more in terms of being LESS SKILLED in certain things than other top pros). If you play only against people with BETTER SKILLS than you, in the long run you will be at a big dis-advantage. But even if you only have medium good skills, and have eliminated the major leaks from your game, if you find opponents who have NOT eliminated those leaks you can be profitable.

      When you play as a pro, you are trying to make money, not boost your ego. Trying to play only against the "best" competition is an exercise in ego building far more than a profitable thing to do; even if you have the game to play at the uber high skill levels, you can probably make MORE against weaker players. If you persist in dis-regarding game selection, you are costing yourself money no matter how good you are.

      How many hours per day you must play are dictated by your personal money needs, whether you are playing live or on line, whether you are multi tabling on line, and many other factors. Bottom line is pretty simple though: if you have the skills, both game selection and poker skill, to be profitable, that profitability will generally be expressable as an hourly win rate (or win rate per 100 hands, or whatever). If you know what you can expect to win on an hourly basis, and you know what you need to live on (including a small added amount to grow your BR in case you want to move up), then it is easy to figure out how many hours you are probably going to have to play.

      Originally posted by BawMe View Post
      2. Did anyone try going pro before, and was it as hard/easy as expected.
      Yes, I tried it.

      While I never thought I could make my ENTIRE living "forever" playing professionally, I did leave my job as a Project Manager in construction to give myself a 1 year "Poker Break" to see how it would go.

      I thought that I could probably make around $15 or $20 per hour playing 1/2 and 2/5 NLHE, and while this would not completely replace my salary from working, it was enough to live on with the amount of ready cash I had. I had $35k as a playing bank roll, as well as $35k as a "life" bank roll, and with the elimination of all my credit bills (paid off my car, had no mortgage, paid off and burnt all credit cards etc), I could probably survive for a year even if I lost everything on hand #1.

      In my first 8 weeks I was running near $100 per hour profit.
      My next 6 weeks saw me running around a $40 per hour LOSS.
      Most of the rest of my time playing was a series of up's and down's, over the course of which I probably was making around $2 to $3 per hour (it seemed for every well played hand/decent win I'd take a beating no matter what I did).

      The long and the short of it was that I made about $15k for the year, or right around $7 per hour.
      Hardly worthwhile to trade that for an 80k per year job with security of a steady pay check every 2 weeks!

      BUT...

      The biggest thing I found surprising was not the swings, but the mental preparations I failed to make when I decided to play full time. When I was working, a large part of my discretionary cash was used for Poker and other forms of gambling (table games). The fact I was no longer on a steady income had really not sunk in, and even though I had worked to limit my BILLS, I really did little to curb my expenses to lie within what I thought, at best, would be about 2/3rds my income. The end result was that I won about $15k playing poker, but I LOST around $25k to $35k on other things like black jack and pai gow.

      While this was not "soul crushing" for me (my year ended with me still having around $15k in cash), had it been my intent to play poker forever, I would have put myself on the boarder line of desperation in being able to both support myself AND have money to play poker. I ended up taking a 6 month contract and going back to work, so it didn't kill me to be reckless with my money, but if you want to be a poker professional forever, it COULD kill your chances if you do the same things.

      bottom line is that if you contemplate playing poker as your sole means of making a living, there are probably going to be a LOT of things you do not find out until you get into that life. The best you can hope for is to get out there and try to figure those things out now, and hope the ones you do not realize until after you are in the life do not wreck you.

      Good luck.

      -JDean
      Last edited by JDean; Wed Nov 16, 2011, 03:39 AM.
      Double Bracelet Winner

      Comment


      • #4
        Great post JDean, very insightful. Thank you. Rounders was a great movie! I seen it many years ago, but will probably watch it again sometime soon after this thread Casino Royale was also a good one imo, anywho..

        I would probably myself be leaning towards more MTT's over the cash games, although I do know a healthy mix of both (if skilled in both) can be optimal. Couple other questions, do you think playing higher stakes, than the ones you were playing during that year might have generated bigger wins/swings and a higher hourly win rate? And also what is the best way or tool to calculate hourly win rate? Thanks again

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by BawMe View Post
          Great post JDean, very insightful. Thank you. Rounders was a great movie! I seen it many years ago, but will probably watch it again sometime soon after this thread Casino Royale was also a good one imo, anywho..

          I would probably myself be leaning towards more MTT's over the cash games, although I do know a healthy mix of both (if skilled in both) can be optimal. Couple other questions, do you think playing higher stakes, than the ones you were playing during that year might have generated bigger wins/swings and a higher hourly win rate? And also what is the best way or tool to calculate hourly win rate? Thanks again
          Lemme break this up a bit...

          MTTs will give even HIGHER variance than cash games. The thing about being an MTT professional is that one "big" win can set you up with enough cash to generate side income on, as well as keep a BR flush. The PROBLEM is that you may go years between big cashes, if you cash big ever.

          Example:

          A big money MTT player can spend upwards of 500k PER YEAR playing a full range of 10k buy in's.

          He may go multiple years between big cashes.

          If he cashes big in a 10k event, he may make upwards of a 1million though.

          That is a pattern for huge variance. Most MTT professionals are either staked by someone else, or play cash games as well as MTTs.


          As for playing higher stakes:

          I do not know. I have never played above 5/10 NLHE, with a sit stack of $1000. Even my experience at that level is very limited (about 6 or 8 hours, with a pretty big positive, largely due to 1 big win session).

          I do know that if I wanted to play at the 5/10+ level CONSISTENTLY, I'd probably have to leave Chicago, and move to Vegas, AC or some other gambling mecca in the US. The 5/10+ level here is about the top end that you will find a regular game, and the players are a pretty small pool. There ARE bigger games here, but mostly on the week ends and with an even smaller pool of players.

          I have no basis for making a judgement about whether versus that pool of players I could remain profitable, but I do know I wouldn't be scared to try a few shots at all. I do know that had I not frittered away my money foolishly, and had I built my BR to about 50k, I would have moved my regular game to the 5/10 level. The thing about playing higher is that the win potential is obviously higher as well. But this can only be true if you have a skill advantage. Not only must you "know" you have that skill advantage, you should also have the BR to withstand the inevitable losses that will happen. To me, 50BI would have been enough to move up to 5/10 and 2/5 as my standard levels (instead of 1/2 and 2/5).

          If you do not have it within your personality make up to swallow your pride and accept a move down in levels when your funding (or when your possible lack of skill) warrants it, stubbornly staying at a higher level will probably cause you to go broke.

          The best tool for you to track your win rate is to keep a log book.

          In that log you should track where you play, when you play (date and time), how long you play, how much you buy in for, how much you leave with, as well as notes about the table dynamic and any memorable hands you've played. Additionally, since you are acting as a poker professional, deriving your income from poker, you should also keep the same sorts of info that you would keep for an expense report at a job: things like costs of meals and travel, tokes for dealers and waitresses, parking costs, etc. As a professional, you should be filing taxes, and a lot of these types expenses are deductible, as well as having a direct effect on your bank roll by being costs you probably are not going to be able to avoid.

          On line play is a little easier on you, and many of the poker HUDs like PT3 or HEM will track things like number of hands played, win/loss rates etc. I really like to track my time played though, both live and on line, as I have found that palying live the DAY you play can really effect your win potential (FRI and SAT tend to be best), and the time of day can also have an effect (AM on weekdays you tend to find only grinders and nits usually).

          The long and the short of it is, if you decide to play professionally, you really need to view your play as a BUSINESS. You should keep many of the same records you would keep for a business of any other type. If you are not willing to do that religiously, you are probably a bit too lazy to really make it as a poker pro.
          Double Bracelet Winner

          Comment


          • #6
            JD: While your posts always hit the nail on the head as far as the original question goes I do believe you had a failure of omission here.

            Give the kid the proper odds of seeing his dream to fruition. Straight up. I know it's not your job here and I know you do not have 'all the information' on the kid to make perfect book on him. Still, give him that last bit of info. That bit you know to be likely or unlikely.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by BawMe View Post
              Great post JDean, very insightful. Thank you. Rounders was a great movie! I seen it many years ago, but will probably watch it again sometime soon after this thread Casino Royale was also a good one imo, anywho.. I would probably myself be leaning towards more MTT's over the cash games, although I do know a healthy mix of both (if skilled in both) can be optimal. Couple other questions, do you think playing higher stakes, than the ones you were playing during that year might have generated bigger wins/swings and a higher hourly win rate? And also what is the best way or tool to calculate hourly win rate? Thanks again
              Since you are considering to play MTTs professionally, you are going to need a minimum of 200buy ins and 6months living expenses. to help with the variance of MTT play.(eg you plan on playing $10 tournaments so a minimum of $2000 "200buy ins" is needed plus 6 months living expenses) I suggest you read as many poker books as you possibly can to gain an even greater edge against your opponents. Also any resources you can find about poker to improve your game be sure to watch it, read it, absorb it and do what you learned when you play, Be sure to watch these videos done by the elite of the Poker Stars Pros, they will help give you a lot of insight on the game. http://www.pokerschoolonline.com/articles/Video-Content Just click on a Poker Stars Pro name that interests you to watch their videos. (eg Chris Moneymaker GL on going proumbup:
              Last edited by CannonLee; Wed Nov 16, 2011, 07:17 AM.

              Quintuple Bracelet Winner

              Comment


              • #8
                JDean, I always like your posts and these ones really woke me up It's a bit like financial planning. What are your needs to achieve the Poker Pro status in cash games? Here's an example: No it's not my revenue, yes it's my stats and yes it's not enough to evaluate, but to be able to achieve $/hour, I needed some type of info. Maybe we could use Dave's stats....LOL Also, I don't know if $48k is considered poker pro status, but I'm sure you'll get the point I'm trying to make. Hope this helps umbup: PS. I'll try to create a Mtt poker pro situation later

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RedLetterman View Post
                  JD: While your posts always hit the nail on the head as far as the original question goes I do believe you had a failure of omission here.

                  Give the kid the proper odds of seeing his dream to fruition. Straight up. I know it's not your job here and I know you do not have 'all the information' on the kid to make perfect book on him. Still, give him that last bit of info. That bit you know to be likely or unlikely.
                  I cannot know him personally, so i cannot know what his true potential is. Unfortunately that is exactly the answer you didn't want to hear.

                  the best I can do is this:

                  ODDS on a normal person who is currently at the micro stakes TODAY, being able to "make it" as a poker pro within the next 12 to 24 months:

                  As an MTT pro, requiring an income of 50k per year, with enough of a BR to play 30 10k BI events in 1 year (300k + 50k travel expenses) AND "life money" (50k): somewhere between 1000 to 1 and 2000 to 1 (assuming he plays satties for entries frequently)

                  As an MTT pro, same income requirement, on HALF that BR:
                  somewhere above 8000 to 1

                  note: these assume it will take a deep run to recover all BI paid out and have enough to generate 50k for at least a few years going forward.

                  Chance of making 50k per year in a CASH GAME (assuming proper funding of around 50k for 5/10): about 25 to 1 in Vegas/AC with all skills working.

                  Chance to make 25k per year in cash games: about 3 to 1 (assuming a strong work ethic and proper funding)

                  The fact is, MTT play can be highly expensive, and a single instance of bad luck can rob your entire chance at any profit for the event. Plus, your BR even when seemingly very LARGE, will tend to contain only a limited number of trials.

                  A LOT of what will determine whether you can succeed as a poker pro is your ability to go bust on a BR amount, and have a way to get back in action. It will either take that ability (such as a rich relative who can gift you a 6 figure amount), or a truly DEEP start BR (to avoid going totally bust-o), to really be able to make it.

                  I'm not the best at prop bets and setting odds, so if this strikes someone as "off", it is the best guess I can make.
                  Last edited by JDean; Wed Nov 16, 2011, 07:34 AM.
                  Double Bracelet Winner

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks to every1 for their input so far, and great advice. Yes JDean i do have the heart to take it very seriously and keep many notes and logs, it's just knowing the right info to track is the important part, and I am learning tons already. Also the stuff about logging all expenses I think is very key and wise, I was just wondering about taxation in Canada when it comes to gambling, I know in the US you guys have it pretty steep as they take around 30-40%? not sure, but here in Canada I didnt think there was any at all..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JDean View Post
                      I cannot know him personally, so i cannot know what his true potential is. Unfortunately that is exactly the answer you didn't want to hear.

                      the best I can do is this:

                      ODDS on a normal person who is currently at the micro stakes TODAY, being able to "make it" as a poker pro within the next 12 to 24 months:

                      As an MTT pro, requiring an income of 50k per year, with enough of a BR to play 30 10k BI events in 1 year (300k + 50k travel expenses) AND "life money" (50k): somewhere between 1000 to 1 and 2000 to 1 (assuming he plays satties for entries frequently)

                      As an MTT pro, same income requirement, on HALF that BR:
                      somewhere above 8000 to 1

                      note: these assume it will take a deep run to recover all BI paid out and have enough to generate 50k for at least a few years going forward.

                      Chance of making 50k per year in a CASH GAME (assuming proper funding of around 50k for 5/10): about 25 to 1 in Vegas/AC with all skills working.

                      Chance to make 25k per year in cash games: about 3 to 1 (assuming a strong work ethic and proper funding)

                      The fact is, MTT play can be highly expensive, and a single instance of bad luck can rob your entire chance at any profit for the event. Plus, your BR even when seemingly very LARGE, will tend to contain only a limited number of trials.

                      A LOT of what will determine whether you can succeed as a poker pro is your ability to go bust on a BR amount, and have a way to get back in action. It will either take that ability (such as a rich relative who can gift you a 6 figure amount), or a truly DEEP start BR (to avoid going totally bust-o), to really be able to make it.

                      I'm not the best at prop bets and setting odds, so if this strikes someone as "off", it is the best guess I can make.
                      very interesting post here. I bolded the odds that stood out to me the most, and what I would probably be aiming to do is find the balance where I am both an MTT and Cash game pro splitting time equally between both, or something like playing cash games 2to1 where keeping the variance somewhat down? I am assuming ofcourse.. but isn't this how most of the top live and online players do anyway?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes it is in large part the reason why players tend to balance between cash play and MTT play, when they are trying to make a living playing poker. If you have a side income (such as dividends from a stock portfolio or something), an MTT only game becomes much mroe feasible. But MTT play is EXTREMELY HARD to make any sort of regular type living at.

                        Cash play is much easier to make some sort of living at, because you might make small wins or small losses. In an MTT you will likely make small wins if you do not run deep, and your losses when you do not ITM are the full BI amount. with even a little discipline, you may go weeks without losing a full BI in cash play (you may lose half or 2/3rds, but you may not lose a full BI).

                        Of course the benefit of MTT paly is that if you DO rn deep, you are probably winning MORE in 1 event than you could hope to match in a single session of cash game play. Example:

                        If you sit at a 25/50 cash table with 10k, and everyone else has the same start stack (it is a new table, and everyone starts near the same), about the most you might win in a normal 6 or 8 hour session would be around 30 or 40k (and that only if you are extremely hot that night), and a 10k winning session should be pretty common. But by the same token, if you drop more than 15k or 20k total, you are probably NOT continuing to play, and often your losing sessions will only be on the order of 5k or so.

                        In an MTT, you can play for like 8 hours, jsut to get ITM. for your 10k BI you are likely to see soething between 15k and 25k return. BUT...you will probably only be making it ITM around 15% to 20% of the time or so (if you are palying with a risk balance that favors running deep). If you do NOT make it ITM, you will be out your full 10k BI. Off-setting this is the fact that if you do run deep, and finish top 3 (or win), you may well be looking at a cash which will be in excess of 500k.
                        Double Bracelet Winner

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BawMe View Post
                          Thanks to every1 for their input so far, and great advice. Yes JDean i do have the heart to take it very seriously and keep many notes and logs, it's just knowing the right info to track is the important part, and I am learning tons already. Also the stuff about logging all expenses I think is very key and wise, I was just wondering about taxation in Canada when it comes to gambling, I know in the US you guys have it pretty steep as they take around 30-40%? not sure, but here in Canada I didnt think there was any at all..

                          As its your Job as a professional you will be expected to pay the same tax rate as anyone else in your provence.

                          I do not know how tax on Tornies is done but remember reading a few years ago that you would get a slip for tax perposes if you won money in a tourny. Will you only be playing in Canada or playing MTT's in USA and Europe too. If so you need to check the cash Limits for entry and exit in these countries and what border taxes you will be playing too. As well as Taxaton withing the country its self.

                          Grade b
                          I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. ~Winston Churchill

                          13 Time Bracelet Winner


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Most pros (as in people making a living solely from playing full time, year after year) are doing so in cash games. MTT pros are very, very rare because the variance in mtt's is so high. Small cashes don't help much when you're grinding mtt's, you need big scores, and those can take a long time and a lot of volume to come just by sheer variance. Some of the big mtt'ers are staked for this reason. In terms of livable income, if you're profitable in cash games you can grind, there is obviously still variance but it's more manageable.

                            6 months living expenses in the bank is a bare minimum, you'd be wise to have more. Also I would have enough in your bankroll to sustain a 6 month downswing and not have to move down in limits (you might still move down during downswings, but this amount would be prudent to remove financial pressure).

                            A lot of these things are somewhat arbitrary, as they depend on the win rate of the individual. Hourly rate and win rate are player specific. First of all you have to have a win rate that is not red. If you're not profiting over a reasonable sample size, then obv. you can't make a living. Once you are beating the game over a reasonable sample, then you can start looking at these other things and putting your plan down on paper.

                            Being a professional player is not for everyone, even with positive win rates. For one, it is a grind. Yes you have freedom to set your own schedule and not be punching a clock, but it's not as simple as that. If you're playing mtt's you are a slave to the mtt schedule, and you have to plan long days (mtt's take a while to win). And cash game players, while having much more freedom in scheduling, you still have to put in volume. If you decide to take a day off or what not that's cool, but you're not making money... there is no vacation pay. Also there's no health insurance, retirement plans, etc. All that is stuff that you have to factor into the equation, these expenses are individual specific again, but it has to be considered. It's also harder to get a loan for a car or house without a steady paycheck to show the bank.

                            And all that aside, it takes a certain mentality. Whatever it is you do for a living, picture having a horrible week, the worst week you've ever had on the job (we've all had one of those right?). Now, at the end of the week, picture writing a big fat check to your boss for working there. It's not a feeling everyone can handle, but that's what poker will be like sometimes. At least in a traditional job you will still get a paycheck at the end of the week.

                            A very good plan, if possible, is this... try to increase your volume on the side and treat poker like a 2nd job, while keeping your day job. When you get to the point where you've reconciled all of the above and feel like giving it a shot, take some vacation time (at least 2 weeks would be good) from the day job and play a full time poker schedule, to see how you like it.

                            Obviously everyone's situation is different and some come to it differently, but if you try to follow some of these guidelines your chances for long term success increase.

                            Dave
                            Head Live Trainer
                            Check out my Videos

                            4 Time Bracelet Winner



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                            • #15
                              +1000 umbup:umbup:

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