Going Pro & What it Takes

Andrew Collinson

By Andrew Collinson

Legal Expert

Going Pro with Online Poker

Brush up on the Steps to Becoming a World Class Professional Poker Player

Plenty of people believe that they are good enough to be a professional poker player, and the reality is that many players just don’t have the mind-set to bring in the pound sterling that the top pro players are capable of earning. They simply aren’t disciplined enough. In order to be a professional player you have to do all of the following.

  • Ignore the money
  • Study and grind at an online casino
  • Enjoy the game
  • Know that it’s difficult
  • Be invested in becoming a master

You have to be able to look at poker as a fun strategy game, and forget that you’re playing for real money. You should know it’s a hard game to master, but be willing to put in the hard hours of grinding poker online before going pro. The best players all put in the hours to get good, and so must you. That means studying, playing long hours and making it into a lifelong passion. Finally you have to be disciplined enough to play long hours and to handle losing without getting too emotionally invested. If you think you can do this you might have what it takes to go pro.

What Makes a Professional Player a Pro?

To be a professional at online poker, or poker in person it has to cover all your living expenses. This is the same definition that defines any other profession. If you can pay all your bills with online poker, or poker at the casino then you can safely say that you are professional. To reach that point takes years for most players, it takes money to start off with and it takes a lot of dedication.

The Two Types of Professional Poker Players

There are two major types of online poker pros, the grinders and the big winners. There are many more grinders than there are big winners out there playing professionally, but both exist.

The Grinders

The grinders are the guys that play thousands of hands every single day. They go up against players at multiple tables trying to take small bits of money from as many players as they possibly can each and every hour. These guys often earn a pretty good living from playing professional poker, and these are the players you are most likely to become if you move to being a professional. To these players poker is a job and requires putting in quite a few hours to cover the bills and make a good living.

The Big Winners

The big winners are the guys that you see on television. These guys also play poker professionally, and many of them are grinders in their spare time, but there are some that just focus on major tournaments and huge cash games as their main source of income. These are the guys that win thousands of dollars in a single game, and sometimes millions. They can afford to pick and choose the games they play in and can cover all their expenses in between those big matches without having to grind at all if they don’t feel like it. These are the top-rated players that make real money and make poker into the thrilling game it is.

Pros and Cons of Being a Pro

Most people think that playing poker professionally is a dream come true, but there are pros and cons to the game being your one source of income. Take a look at both sides of the profession before you decide to make it into your career.


  • Massive income potential
  • Play a game for a living
  • Get to travel around the world


  • Potentially long hours
  • More risk than other professions
  • It can all go bad at any time
  • Expensive to get started

The Steps to Becoming a Professional

Follow through with each of these steps and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a professional player. It’s not as hard as you might think, though it is difficult.

Study the Game

The first and most obvious step is to study the game as much as possible. Pick one type you want to specialize in and learn everything you can about it. Read books, take courses and play thousands of hands while honing your technique. Use a hand tracker and review your hands to make sure you’re playing as you should be.

Build up a Bankroll

While studying and practicing at the lower stakes work to build up your bankroll to a sizeable amount. Keep all your winnings in your account and grow it until you can move up to higher stakes levels of play.

Move up to Higher Stakes

Each time that you have 40x or 50x the highest buy in of a stake level that’s higher than what you’re playing, move up. You’ll notice that the players get better with each move and that you have to refine your play more to be successful. Continue this progression until you get to a level that you’re comfortable at and that pays well.

Bank Hard!

Now that you are at a good paying level you can play cash games and use that as your source of income. You can follow the same steps with tournaments as well, but make sure you have at least 100 tournament buy-ins before moving up to that price level of the tournament.

Becoming a poker professional is a long road, but it’s also a pretty straightforward one. Put in the time to really learn the game and find a niche that you can play in to really bring in the money and you have a winning combination.