Becoming a Professional Poker Player Gets Increasingly Tougher With Each Passing Day
Q: How Hard Is It To Become a Professional Poker Player?
A: Back in the poker's "boom" days, the dream of many young people was to become a professional poker player.
After all, professional poker players at the time seemed to have it all - money, fame and a fun job.
Up until "Black Friday", the formula for becoming a professional poker player was fairly simple. You could grind your way to a living online, playing in lower level cash games and SNGs against inferior talent while earning some nice rakeback from the likes of Full Tilt Poker. Or, you could make a deep run in the World Series of Poker and then score a lucrative sponsorship deal. At one point, Full Tilt Poker 1.0 had well over 100 sponsored players.
When "Black Friday" took place in 2011, the bloom fell off the rose very quickly. All of those sponsorship deals went up in flames overnight and it was no longer possible for residents of the United States to play online at sites such as Pokerstars or Full Tilt Poker without leaving the country. This resulted in many players, especially casual players, packing it in and moving on to another hobby.
This, in turn, had a negative impact for players outside of the United States, as a massive (and wealthy) section of the player pool suddenly disappeared overnight.
When Amaya, Inc. purchased Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars, players who had been grinding out livings on the sites were fearful that the company would make moves to reduce the amount of rake that they paid out to professional players. This is exactly what happened, as Pokerstars reduced the rewards that they give out to their higher volume players, while Full Tilt Poker completely pulled the carpet out from their active cash game players.
Making a living playing poker is harder than ever right now, as the major sites have made the attraction of casual players their #1 goal. Facing drastically reduced levels of rakeback, many players simply aren't able to make enough to pay their bills playing poker.
Some have turned to live poker with varying degrees of success. While there are still soft live poker games to be found, the live poker grind is just too much for many people. In addition, the live games have gotten progressively tougher as well, as there are many like-minded people in the games who also used to make their livings online.
Some are still trying to grind out a living online, but these numbers are dwindling on a daily basis as the major sites are not making it easy on these players.
Some have moved on to find careers in other areas while still playing poker during the nights and on weekends, while others have moved into other careers completely and given up on poker.
Some have moved into other industries such as daily fantasy sports, while others have gone broke and will likely never return.
Back in 2003-2006, there were so many bad players floating around that it was very easy to make a very decent amount of money playing poker. During this time, becoming a professional poker player was somewhat feasible as there was a tremendous amount of money floating around.
In this day and age, however, it is much harder to make a living playing poker. If you are going to try and make a run of it, I would suggest saving up a substantial bankroll to cover your expenses for at least 12 months provided that things don't work out. In addition, don't burn any bridges at your previous employment.
You'll never know until you try, though don't expect too much, as it is very, very hard to grind out a living online in this day and age.
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