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Poker Myths – Part 1

January 13, 2011 2 comments

With the popularity poker has gained in recent years, more and more people are talking about making a living as a poker professional. The advantages seem obvious: tons of free time, you get to set your own working hours, you earn lots of money, and you get to work from virtually any place on the planet, as long as there is an internet connection.

In general, all of the above is true. However… consider that various statistics show no more than 5% of all poker players has a chance of going pro. Just a CHANCE. This means that out of every 100,000 people who give poker a shot, 95000 will never have a chance of becoming a pro. In other words, the statistical odds are hugely against you.

Of course, everyone always thinks of themselves as being above average. And that’s good – it means that we all get to excel and evolve, becoming better and achieving the impossible. I am not saying that you cannot be a poker professional, I just claim that it is MUCH harder than you are led to believe. Here are a few poker myths I want to address:

MAKING A LIVING FROM POKER IS FOR EVERYONE

Most poker professionals are extremely smart and industrious. They are the type who could ¬†quite easily plan, implement, launch and maintain their own company. Playing poker professionally is just lie running your own business — you need to manage your capital, invest money wisely, ¬†make tons of calculations, organize your own time, never get lazy, constantly gain new information. If starting your own business/company/shop sounds like something extremely hard to you, chances are high you will find it hard to be a poker professional.

POKER DOESNT REQUIRE A LOT OF TIME

Think again. It is true that you can make a lot of money playing poker. If you are running good. Once you start to run bad, however (and every poker player does, even the absolute best), you will be under pressure and will start playing way more than usual, in order to come out of the downswing and make back the money you’ve lost. After all, you need this money to survive. I know a lot of good poker players who would only play poker for 2-3 hours a day when they were running good, but when a downswing finally came, they would spend 6-7 hours daily for a few consecutive months (including weekends), freaking out in the meantime, wondering if they are ever going to to make money playing poker again.

ONCE YOU LEARN POKER, YOU ARE SET!

Wrong. You constantly need to evolve in poker. The field is outstandingly competitive. People who fall into the trap of thinking too highly of themselves, calling everyone at the table “fish”, are the people who don’t make it too far in poker. If you become good and start beating the game, you have absolutely no guarantee that you will be beating the game one year from now. By that time, the level of the average player will be much higher. You need to constantly evolve and analyze hands to keep up with the competition. This alone can take up 1-2 hours of your day.

BEING A POKER PRO WILL MAKE YOU HAPPIER:

Playing poker is very taxing. It can drain you both physically (it requires a lot of concentration) and mentally (when you are experiencing a long downswing, you can really start to doubt yourself and stress out a ton over whether you’ll be able to make money further). Although it can make you happier in the sense that you may not need to worry about rent and food, it does come at a cost.

FINAL WORD:

After reading the above you might ask me “then why the heck did you start playing poker in the first place if it is so terrible?”.

First of all, I started playing poker over 5 years ago, when it was a much easier.

Secnond, poker is not terrible. I wrote the article in this manner to bring your attention to the negative sides of poker. The game has been repulsively hyped during the last few years, and it is in everyone’s best interest to bring in as many new players as possible (the casino’s make money off of you, and the good poker players do so as well). It is NOT necessarily in the best interest of the new players. So while poker can be a really great thing, it can also be an absolutely terrible thing. Simply make sure not to put too much faith into it before you’ve played out at least 150,000 hands or so — because only then will you begin to understand what being a professional poker player is about.

Good luck.

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