Why Do Professionals Take Up Poker?

Icy Canada Team
Icy Canada TeamApril 1, 2022
Updated 2023/09/06 at 12:02 PM
Cropped view man throwing in air poker chips.
Cropped view man throwing in air poker chips. Source: Depositphotos

If you know the names of Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, or Jason Koon, then you know your professional poker players. These are the guys that have made it to the top of their game and made enough money to sustain it as a career on top of that.

It’s not an easy climb to the top, but we can see why they would do it. We’re breaking down the reasons why someone would turn to poker professionally.

Cropped image of girl holding poker cards.
Cropped image of girl holding poker cards. Source: Depositphotos

Poker – do you know what you’re doing?

Let’s be clear upfront: you don’t make money on poker reliably. It is not a steady income, and it entirely depends on you being good at your job. What we mean is, other careers, like painters and office workers, can have an off day and not do brilliantly at their job and they will still be paid. They did the time and provided they didn’t entirely mess up, they deserve their payment. And even then, there’s some risk there.

If you do badly at a poker table, you can leave the table with less than you thought, nothing at all, or even in debt. This is why a lot of professional poker players like Daniel Negreanu on GGPoker (ggpoker.co.uk), diversify into streaming, influencing, or simply playing poker on the side of another business or job.

However, if you are good at poker, you can make large amounts of money for an hour’s worth of work. Money that could serve as a good retirement fund from one game. You will have to work a while to reach the level of games that the biggest professional players are at, but in the meantime, you can make a tidy profit off of the lower levels.

It can offer travel opportunities

The thing is, to reach numbers like that, you’re going to have to show up at some of the biggest poker tournaments around the world – and there are lots of massive tournaments around the world. The World Series of Poker alone shows up in Las Vegas annually, attracting poker players from all over, but also has a European tournament and a circuit that covers other areas in the Americas.

And unfortunately, poker, aside from the online games, doesn’t come to you, you go to poker. So, if you so wish, you could find yourself stopping in cities around the world for a game that could bankroll your next one. Spend a long weekend in Hong Kong, enjoy the locals, play your game and plan your next trip. That’s even if you want to stick to one game per trip. There are usually dozens of games for you to get into.

It offers a freelancer’s lifestyle

The best part of the professional poker lifestyle isn’t the money or the glamour, but the fact that you will entirely be working for yourself. You can’t even say you have customers or clients that you have a responsibility for. In the poker world, unless you are diversifying, you are your own boss and your own client.

That can be a good motivator, knowing that it is you that will be affected if you don’t do a good job today, rather than a client or customer.

There are plenty of other benefits to the freelancer’s lifestyle as well. Okay, you can’t really dictate when your games take place, but considering most poker games last no longer than a couple of hours, the rest of your life can be weaved around it in a work-life balance that will have a lot of people working from home right now very jealous.

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