Wouldn't it be nice to get paid to play cards all day? It’s a thought.

But see, it isn’t a question of whether or not you can make a living playing poker. Because the short answer is yes, you can. And a decent minority of professional poker players already do.
However, it’s certainly not as easy as you would ever have imagined. So the real question then becomes: what does it take to make a living playing poker?
Well, let’s find out.

Poker is a game of skill, not luck

In the long run, at the core of it, being successful at poker is a skill and not necessarily a gamble. And the good (or bad news) is that it’s a skill that can be continuously tended with practice, study, discipline, resilience and sheer effort.
In essence, if put in the hours; you get better. And as with all skills (and especially so with poker) you've got to truly be passionate about the game. Otherwise, you stand no chance doing what it takes to make it in the long run, and this, with your living at stake.

You've got to viciously keep tabs on your win

The fallacy that wrecks most newbie professionals is failure to track your win rates. To merely get excited about the ridiculous wins and simply brush aside the downswings, is a sure recipe for failure.
To be a successful pro, you need to track your win rate and consistently look to improve it in the long-term.
See, having a firm understanding of your win rate gives you an idea of your potential weekly or monthly earnings, and the number of hours you've got to put in. So you get to decide if they’re sustainable, considering your unique cost of living or financial demands.

Doing it online takes a lot of dedication

Although some pros claim to do this without much complaint, a great majority agree that although playing poker online is a smart or viable option to live off, it takes a lot of dedication.
There’s a host of ever-changing regulations and restrictions in the online space that you need to keep track of or else, you lose a game just because you weren’t aware of a new rule.
You must know what’s trending, which poker sites to use, what players to choose, what amount of stack to play and much more. This can be a full-time job.
But if you choose to fully earn from Poker, online Poker remains the best choice because one of the downsides of offline poker is having to commute to and from the casino and hence incur extra expenses.
Also, talking of profitability, a good point to note is that you’d need to stick with cash games (no limit, hold’em ) to make a sustainable living from poker. Tournaments are best left for recreational players or seasoned pros; no need to get too ambitious with your living on the line.

Where there is a will there is a way

So yeah, there’s an idea of what it takes to go pro with poker.
What should be clear at the very least is that you’ll need a thick skin and an enviable resilience, especially to continue working on your craft, learning and improving, despite those inevitable downswings. More than anything, it will require a high level of discipline.
One thing you should consider if you’ve got a bit of responsibility on your plate, like a family to take care of, is to have a side income stream until your poker skills get really good enough to earn you good money to sustain you and your family.
In the end, if playing poker is your passion and you’re willing to do what it takes, then here’s a cliché to consider.
“Where there’s a will, there’s away.”

So can you entirely live off playing poker?

Yes, and yes you can. But this is only possible if you change your mindset and stop thinking that playing poker is a bad thing. This is what the bigger part of the world believes; that’s why it is illegal to play poker in some countries while it’s not illegal in others.
There are hundreds of people traveling the world and enjoying poker while funding their luxurious trips from the game. So yah living off Poker is more than possible.
But in a world full of opinions, you have to choose your stand. In my next article, I’ll teach you about how to change your mindset regarding Poker. See you in my next piece.

Author's Bio: 

Esther Muwombi is a content marketing expert with 11 years’ experience. Esther loves to work with start-ups and medium sized companies to help them get up, spread their wings and go! When she's not writing, she relaxes with her family by the beach.