Why Do People Fail at Going Pro

Recently, there was a simple, yet interesting question posed on RGP… Why do people fail at going pro?
Several people jumped into the conversation. According to the posts, the concensus answer seemed to be “they just aren’t good enough”.

It has been said that less than 10% of all poker players are winning over the long haul. In most cases, the reason is because the player is simply not good enough to win, but there are other factors involved as well. Let’s take a look at some.

Lifestyle

The life of a poker “pro” requires a lot of dicipline. Gone are the days of sick leave and paid vacations. Also gone are medical and retirement plans. You must deal with all of these things yourself. Although this one may be hard to believe, but the absence of a “boss” is also difficult to overcome for many people. Some are so used to having a boss lean on them that they are lost without the “pressure”… lacking self-motivation. And let’s not forget about the free alcohol that is available in most card rooms. This can be a big problem for some!

The Swings

Most wannabe pros think that they are ready to go once they have put together a sufficiant bankroll – this is not the case at all! Sure, a bankroll is important, but let’s not forget abou rent, food, clothing, and other bills. Many successful poker players say that you shouldn’t even try to start playing for a living until you have at least six months of living expenses saved up. This way, if after three months or so you see yourself failing at your venture, you still have three months to figure out what you are going to do with your life… i.e. get a job!

Bankroll

The concensus says that you shouldn’t even think about playing full time unless you have at 200 times the big bet as a bankroll. For example, if you are planning to play 10-20 limits, you should have a starting bankroll of at least $4,000. In my opinion, this may be a little light, as I think that you should “maintain” a bankroll of at least 200
times the big bet. Starting out with more than 200 times the big bet will allow you to take a swing to the negative in the beginning and still have a decent bank. Either way, without a bankroll of at LEAST 200 times the big bet, you will suffer greatly when you take the inevitable swings.

Not Prepared Enough

Like it or not, poker is a game that is filled with giant egos. Many people think that they are much better than they really are. Sure, we’ve all had great days where we could do no wrong, but that doesn’t mean that you are ready to become a pro! Before even considering playing full time, you should have months of statistics. Are you winning in the “long run”? If not, read some books and practice a whole lot more… but don’t think that once you are relying on poker as an income that you will instantly get better! I promise that will not be the case!

Conclusion

Playing winning poker for a living is far from impossible, but it takes a combination of patience, discipline, preperation, and money. Unless you have a lock on all these things, stick to your weekly game and don’t even think about quitting your day job!

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