Becoming a Pro Poker Player

For a couple days last week I didn’t work. I woke up, walked to Casa, ate my lunch, sat with my friends until lunch hours ended, and then sat in the empty restaurant, staring out the window.

What do I want to do with my life? Not the whole thing, but right now.

Conversion Doubler isn’t going to get off the ground. It turns out that too many people have bizarre unique requirements that reduce it’s usefulness. The book is going okay, but at the end of the day I hate marketing and don’t want to spend my time doing it.

I love this site. I love writing articles, working on the design, and reading peoples comments. My friend Annie asked me what the best compliments I get are, and among other things I said, “getting e-mails from people saying I changed their lives”.

In other words, the one constant productive thing I’ve enjoyed doing for the past few years is this site. It’s rewarding on a lot of levels.

And here’s the good news: for the first time ever I checked my all time subscriber stats for the site. And they’re going up. Not just a random pattern, but a smooth line upwards.

So some day I will probably make enough money from this site that I don’t have to do anything else. That will be awesome.

Maybe it will take six months, maybe five years.

But until then, I need to make serious money. More money, more plane tickets.

An old friend from the pro gambling days sent me an IM. We chatted for a few minutes and he asked what I was doing.

“Trying to figure out what to do next.”

“Always poker.”

Within a few minutes I decided to become a professional poker player.

Poker is beautiful. It weaves together psychology, math, logic, and discipline all into one. It’s honest. You sit down with your own money and you back everything you do up with real cash. You’re there to take your opponents money, and they’re there to take yours. No pretenses, no marketing hype, no finding customers. Just your brains and your wallets on the table.

People think it’s about luck, but it’s not. A small enough slice of a game can be luck, but a career isn’t. The better you are, the less luck can come into play. Amateurs have good or bad luck, but pros don’t.

Unfortunately, I’m not very good at No Limit Hold ‘Em, the game of choice. I’m good enough to place in most home tournaments, and bad enough to get eaten alive at a real table.

I’m pretty good at Limit, but it’s not fun. It’s a grind and to make money you have to play 6-12 tables AT ONCE online. It’s frantic and robotic. I had a world class teacher when I was in LA and I gave up because I couldn’t get into it.

Some of the hardest parts of being a poker player are things that I have in my blood now. I have no emotional attachment to gambling. All of the math is familiar and some of it is automatic. I can handle swings.

At the same time, I have TONS to learn. I’ve been watching videos and reading the bible of No Limit, and I now realize that I knew nothing about poker. I know five percent of what I’ll need.

The good part, though, is that all of the information is out there. If I understand everything in that book, I’ll be making six figures working ten hours a week. With my new-for-this-year turbo discipline, that’s probably just 2-3 months of intense all day playing and studying. There’s a clear path to mastery (or at least winning player level proficiency). Maybe I’ll lose money along the way, but it’s the price of education. Think of how much normal people pay to learn skills that make half what a poker player makes.

For those who want to follow along at home, here’s my current plan:

  1. Read the Sklansky book at least a couple times a week.
  2. Watch videos from every day
  3. Play at Full Tilt (sign up using the ad on my site to support the guy who bought it) at a .25/.50 table for at least 5 hours every day.
  4. Use a rakeback to get 27% of the casino’s profit back.
  5. Track my progress with Poker Tracker.
  6. Make sure that I’m USING the techniques I learn, rather than reverting back to old habits.

That’s the plan. I’ll keep you updated.

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