Can You Be a Professional Gambler?
What are the odds that you could be a professional gambler? That depends on several factors, including whether you have the stomach to make a career out of betting. Yet if you’ve won money wagering on the World Cup, have a knack for blackjack, or conquered more than your share of poker tournaments, chances are the thought has crossed your mind at least once. Who wouldn’t want to quit their boring day job to play games and win cash? Of course, the reality is usually far less glamourous than that. Nonetheless, it’s worth exploring whether you have what it takes.
Betting on Your Dreams
Before you consider whether you have what it takes to become a professional gambler, it’s worth exploring your personal motivation. Have you had success gambling in the past? Do you feel like you’re much better at gambling than everyone else you know? Even if both of these things are true, you shouldn’t assume that you’ll be able to duplicate your track record when you start wagering full time.
You’ll need discipline, money, knowledge, and skills before you can even begin thinking about gambling professionally.
It’s important to understand that, at least fundamentally, gambling is entertainment. Players should aim to have fun above all else. Still, there’s no denying that some Brits have done quite well for themselves gambling professionally. It’s hard to ignore British poker players like Sam Trickett and Liv Boeree, who have racked up millions of pounds playing cards. Of course, for every Brit who makes it to the final table of the WSOP, there are thousands upon thousands of players who have their dreams crushed along the way. Yet even before dreams factor into the equation, prospective pros quickly learn that gambling can quickly feel like any other job. It’s not only hard work, but gambling can become monotonous even if you end up winning. Let’s not forget that there are no guarantees even if you have the skills to match.
Choosing Your Game
There’s a huge difference between being a professional fruit machine player and a poker pro. When you play games of pure chance like slots or even roulette, you are at the mercy of the house edge, chance, and variance. Do you really want to risk your livelihood on what amounts to random outcomes and money management techniques? Wouldn’t you rather play blackjack that has some elements of skill or poker where you have the opportunity to showcase your talent and outsmart other players? Even betting on football, rugby, cricket, horseracing, or other sports requires some level of research and analysis.
No matter what game you choose to play or how you opt to wager, it’s absolutely essential that you take the time to read every strategy guide you can get your hands on and practice live and online. If you aren’t willing to put in the effort to truly master the intricacies of the game at hand, the odds of succeeding will be poor at best. While it’s a good idea to specialize in a particular game, many pros have a couple of strong suits for obvious reasons. What will you do when the excitement gives way to boredom? Gambling can get repetitive and old even as your bankroll grows.
Consider Your Risk Tolerance and Grow Your Bankroll
Gambling isn’t for the faint of heart or wallet. Even if you have the skills and confidence to match, what will you do in the midst of a losing streak? How will you put food on the table if you merely break even? Statistically speaking, at least, gambling is a losing proposition. Be that as it may, if you want to play professionally you’ll need to be able to stomach at least some risk and have the financial wherewithal to do so.
The old adage that it takes money to make money is true for gamblers. Look at it this way. It’s not hard to bet on red or black playing roulette, but you’ll only be paid even money if you win. That’s bad news if you only have a few pounds to play with, since you’ll barely be able to buy lunch if you get hot. In contrast, if you already have a million pounds to your name, winning hundred-pound even money bets can add up quickly when things go your way. Plus, you’ll have the resources to handle any cold streaks.
Above all, you’ll want to take the time to grow your bankroll. Whether you achieve that through the daily gambling grind or by saving money in other areas of your life, having adequate resources to gamble is key. If you have more cash available, you can choose your bets wisely. Whether that means playing only in the best poker tournaments or having money available when you have the inside track on a horserace, your means matter as much as your methods.
Check Your Emotions at the Door
Gambling can be an emotional rollercoaster even for casual players. Yet basing your life on what happens at the tables or on the football pitch, can be clinically nerve-racking and then some. In reality, professional gamblers who are successful are level headed and don’t let their emotions get in the way of their betting. If you don’t have the capacity to remain calm, cool, and collected, you won’t last long. You don’t want to follow your heart and abandon your strategies in the heat of the moment. Without the mental fortitude and emotional strength, losses will adversely affect your psychological and physical health. Even successful players have to weather more than their share of lows for every high that seems to make it worthwhile.
Speaking of tempering the ups and downs, gambling can be a lonely endeavour. If you’re in your twenties the travel can be fun. Then again, will you want to spend time on the road away from your friends and family when you’re older? What will you do if have no other marketable skills if all you know is gambling? Of course, you can always play on the internet since it’s the twenty-first century, but that comes with its own issues. Online gambling is inherently less social. How much time do you want to spend staring at a screen?
The British Advantage
If you’re a professional gambler, Britain is an excellent place to call home. Not only can you find endless ways to wager, but your winnings will be tax free even if you are a professional. That’s because HMRC doesn’t consider gambling to be a trade. In other words, you’ll be able to keep whatever you win.
Tips for Budding Professional Gamblers
Going pro isn’t a matter of luck. It takes hard work and discipline to succeed whether you bet on sports, play games of chance like roulette, or put your mental agility to the test in a Texas hold’em tournament. If you are a beginner or up-and-coming pro, you’ll want to:
- Take the time to build a respectable bankroll
- Make a habit of banking some of your winnings
- Never bet more than you can reasonably afford to lose.
- Hone your skills, strategies, and techniques whenever and wherever you can.
- Check your emotions at the door and stick with your game plan.
- Keep records of your wins, losses, and play time, so you’ll know where you really stand.
The Other Side of the Coin
If you dream about winning the National Lottery or having your number repeatedly come up on the roulette wheel, you aren’t alone. The size of the gambling industry in Britain is enormous by every metric. Last year licensed operators in the United Kingdom took in £13.8-billion more than they paid out in winnings. When you realise that the market grows every year, you might want to toy with opening a casino should you discover that being a professional gambler isn’t for you. If you believe that the house always wins, why not become the house in the equation?
Concluding Thoughts for Would-be Professionals
If you go pro, you’ll likely see a lot of familiar faces. It’s important to treat the dealers, casino staff, and other players with respect. Whether you are generally vibrant in public or more reserved, you should aim to act professionally above all else. If you’re known for throwing tantrums or being irascible, you could end up missing out on great gambling opportunities in the future. The professional gambling community is tightly-knit and you don’t want to be that loose thread that causes the whole industry to unravel. If you make friends, the camaraderie will make your new line of work all the more enjoyable.
While being a professional gambler may sound profitable and glamourous when the thought first crosses your mind, the reality can prove to be much darker. Yet there’s little harm in sharpening your skills, building your bankroll as an amateur, and seeing where life takes. Just make sure you have realistic expectations about what’s involved. More importantly, don’t give your boss that letter of resignation right now. It’s always wise to avoid burning bridges on the casino or office floor.
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