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What to do, when to do it, how to do it and why do it?
Most of the literature I have read about becoming a poker professional states that I should play regularly at least 40 hours a week, as if poker is my full time job. My thoughts are that I should do this as a part time job and devote no more than 20 to 30 hours a week to poker. That should give me the additional supplemental income that I would like to make. I would be doing something that I love doing; playing poker, reading poker, studying poker, discussing poker, and writing about poker. Hmm. Have I left anything out?
Once of the first decisions that must be made is to choose the type of game that gives the best chances to win. That decision is not easy and requires some study and decisions. In order to be a well rounded professional poker player, one should know the fundamentals of most of the games available. There will be times when playing a different game may be the only choice available on a given day, so you should be ready.
There are so many poker game choices. The following are just a few of the available ones:
Omaha / Omaha High/Low
Stud Poker, Stud Poker Hiigh/Low
5 Card Draw
2-7 Triple Draw, 2-7 Single Draw
Types of betting limits choices:
Fixed Limit, Pot Limit, and No Limit betting each have their own style of playing requirements. Not all poker players do well in all three categories. That is to say, some do better at No Limit, but not at Fixed or Pot Limit. These choices need to be looked at based on your playing results. If you are not sure which is best for you, try playing at least 100 sessions of each and track your results and how comfortable you felt playing that style of betting. Choose the lowest limits possible so that you won’t kill your bankroll finding out which betting limit works for you. Yes, I know, they play a little wilder at the lower limits but at least you will learn how to deal with bad beats and how not to go “on tilt”.
Tournaments versus cash games or both
There is the decision of whether to enter the cash games or the tournaments or both. There are pros and cons to either one of those choices and sometimes it comes down to dollars and cents. If you have a good track record in tourneys, but not cash games or vice versa, your choice becomes a little easier. If you are good at both, then the rate of return might be the determining factor. While you could win larger sums in large tournaments, the time spent might not yield a good hourly earning rate for you. Plus you have to win high enough in position to get one of the top prizes. If you don’t play online, then travel costs and other related items such as travel time and the inconvenience of living out of your suitcase in a strange town come into play.
Choosing where to play can be difficult.
If you play online, you need to be sure that you can get your winnings and be able to withdraw them easily. You need to be sure that the online fees for the winning pots, called the rake, are not so high as to cause you to lose a large percentage of your winnings. Even at a live casino or poker room, you have to contend with the rake and tipping the dealer when you win a pot. All of these are factors that must be considered.
When to play:
You need to consider the day of the week and the time of day that will give you a favorable return. If you play in casinos and poker rooms, you might find that the tight players are there during the weekdays in the early afternoons and stay until dinner time. During that time, you might not win much because of their tight playing style. After 5pm, in come the young guns, a little bit looser and wanting a lot more action. These players might be where your source of income will come from, as well as your losses. Their loose play could mean they stay in a hand until the last card, even though the pot odds and implied odds do not justify it. The weekend players may be entirely different then the week day players.
All of this is certainly a lot to think about, but if you are excited and interested in learning, playing, and discussing poker, then this just adds to the level of fun and excitement that you can have planning out your professional poker career choices.
What decisions have you made? What games do you play? Why do you play them? What have your results been? Are you playing for entertainment as well as profit? Do you do this full or part time? Do you consider yourself to be a pro or semi-pro? Any thoughts or questions?