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Nearly every poker lover has thought about making the jump to professional play. It’s an understandable impulse. After all, professional poker can be an exciting and profitable career. On the other hand, it isn’t for everybody. It is vital to consider both the benefits and drawbacks of professional poker in detail to be sure you’re making the right choice.

Can Poker Meet Your Needs?

Professional poker players need to treat the game as a job, and that includes taking the time to make sure it can provide an adequate income. You should make a list of all of your expenses, and then compare that to the amount of money that you make playing poker. If possible, use hard data from a trial period when estimating your income. When in doubt, it’s best to play it safe and underestimate rather than coming up short later. Is poker going to help you live comfortably within your means? If you’d be scraping by or running a deficit, create a plan to transition into a full-time poker career later down the line.

Do You Have the Tools to Succeed?

Professional poker players need to excel at the game, but skill isn’t the only necessity. Your initial bankroll is also important. You also need to introspect and make sure that you have the emotional stoicism to become a professional player. Can you accept a few bad hands without getting stressed or angry and making bad choices? Do you have the motivation to keep playing and make enough money to meet your goals? If you have those tools, moving over to professional poker might be a good career move for you.

Can You Accept the Risk?

All professional players will suffer some losses; that is just a fact of life at the poker table. You need to go into the game with funding that can survive a few bad games, which makes budgeting and saving extremely important. It is also key to have the emotional strength to keep going during a downswing. Losses will happen, but being able to deal with them is one mark of a good player. If you running a side-hustle through another hobby or holding a part-time job could help keep you above the danger zone, that might be another avenue to consider!

Do You Need a Change?

There are a lot of reasons to consider a career change. You might want to improve your income, get away from a difficult boss, or simply dive head-first into a job that you love. Ultimately, professional poker is a job like any other, and you should consider all of the factors that you would for any other job search. If you have a reason to leave your old job and the skills to succeed at poker, then professional poker might be a great fit for you.