Anyone who’s watched high stakes televised poker knows just how good you have to be to play at that level. The vast majority of poker players play for fun, they obviously want to win but they don’t take it seriously enough. That got me thinking – what skills, tips, and strategies do professional poker players have that amateur players don’t? You see the same faces at the high-stakes final tables year in, year out. It can’t be a coincidence. It can’t just be ‘luck’. In this article, we’re going to explore the reasons why a professional poker player is so successful, and why amateur poker players aren’t.
What is a Professional Poker Player?
A professional poker player is a term thrown around a lot, but most people don’t understand what it actually means. I would describe a professional poker player as someone who earns their primary income from playing poker. It doesn’t mean they’re millionaires or uber-rich. It just means that they consistently turn over a reasonable profit, which they can live on. Now that online poker through sites like Casino online Indonesia has become so popular, more and more poker players are going professional. A decade ago, if you wanted to play poker you’d have to travel to the nearest casino, and either sign up to a tournament or join a cash game – which often didn’t start until late. Online poker has made being a professional poker player an opportunity, rather than a dream.
Differences Between Amateur and Professional Poker Players
If professional players are making a profit from playing poker, then someone has to be losing. Enter the amateur poker player. It’s amazing how many players fall into this category. At a guess, I would say about 95% of all poker players are amateur – bleeding money every time they play. Let’s go over the major differences between a professional and an amateur poker player:
Playing poker when you’re not feeling 100% is a bad idea. Making money from playing poker isn’t about making a quick buck, it’s a long term strategy. When you feel like crap you’re much more likely to make bad decisions, which means losing money. The most common reasons for playing in ‘ill-health’ are listed below. If you’ve ever played in these conditions you’ve probably been losing money.
• Under the influence of alcohol/drugs
• Emotionally unstable
• Many more
You might disagree with some of these, especially being hungry and thirsty. The fact is if you’re hungry you’ll start to think of . . . food. And if you’re thirsty you’ll think of . . . a drink. It really is obvious, but if you’re not 100% focused on poker – how are you going to beat someone that is?
This one only really counts for playing online poker. You’re computer/desk/chair should be somewhere ‘peaceful’, somewhere that you can make calculated decisions without being distracted. My perfect setup is a completely empty room (no TV etc) with just a chair, desk, and a PC in it. All I have on the table, apart from my computer, is a bottle of water. I don’t let anything distract me, because I know if I concentrate 100% on playing poker I’ll make more money in the long run. Being a poker professional isn’t all about the latest tips, tricks, and strategies – it’s about the basics. An amateur player will have the TV on in the background, Facebook open in a browser, and an open bottle of beer on the table. Let the amateur player have their fun because you’ll be having their money!
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time playing online poker, it’s worth spending a bit of time finding out which poker site is the best for you. Everyone’s tastes are different, some people like to download poker software, others like to play in the browser – it’s all about personal preference. The biggest tip I can give you is to start fresh when you decide to play poker seriously. That account you’ve been hemorrhaging money from needs to be scrapped. Turn over a new leaf, and open a new account at a different poker site. You’ll be able to claim a New-Player bonus to kickstart your bankroll too!
Tournament or Cash Game
Although some people prefer to Sit N Gos and Multi-Table Tournaments – cash games are much more profitable in the long run. If you’re practicing or you’re on a tight schedule, the poker tournaments are great. If you’ve got plenty of time, go to the cash games (some people call them ring games). Professional poker players usually earn most of their winnings from cash games. The profits are very steady, whereas tournament winnings are massive – but few and far between.
If you’re serious about making money from poker you need to run your accounts like a businessperson. Start off with a fixed amount you’re willing to invest in your poker venture, and stick to it. Don’t buy-in more than 10% of your bankroll to any tournaments or cash games, and when you win make sure you withdraw some of your funds. If you never withdraw money from the poker sites you’ll end up losing it all.
Notice ‘poker strategy’ is the last difference I’ve listed. Amateur poker players normally know the basics of poker, the same as professional poker players do. The difference? Professional poker players actually stick to the basics, where amateur poker players have no discipline. The reason amateur players don’t stick to the poker tips, tricks, and strategies is because of the reasons listed above. They’re not feeling 100%, their setup’s completely wrong and they’re distracted. If want to read about poker strategies, check out our online poker strategy guides page.
What’s the difference between an amateur and a professional poker player?
There you have it, the differences between amateur and professional poker players! Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the read and managed to take something away from it. It only takes is the self-discipline to be great at poker, but everyone seems to overcomplicate it. Don’t bother trying to bluff with that 2-7 or making a crazy call, what’s the point? Just play solid poker and stick to the rules above, and you’ll give yourself the best chance of making some cash from playing poker. Good luck.