There are an estimated 123 professional poker players in the United States and many more across the world. While it may seem like a lucrative profession, the estimated salary is $64,168, which isn’t large considering the sums.
Professional poker players can make tens of thousands of dollars, but they must commit the time to do so. Poker can be a profitable profession, but players study the stats and hands as much as they play.
World Number 1
Players like Alimedin Imsirovic, currently ranked world number 1, has amassed $8.5 million in his career so far. However, most professional players can expect to win and lose thousands throughout their career, luck isn’t always there.
The trick is to start slow, according to successful poker players. Get good at a certain level and then move to the next level.
Don’t start playing with $50, and then enter a $50,000 tournament. You might get lucky, but there’s a reason they call it beginners luck.
It’s a high stakes game, so there is money to be made, but you must put in the time. Know the hands, know the likelihood of a hand coming out, and watch as much as possible.
Where to Begin as a Poker Hopeful?
Good poker players need plenty of patience, as they only play around 20% of the hands they are dealt. It’s excellent exercise for the brain to study the hands other people play and how they play them.
Ontario Canadian poker players have a number of great options to practice the game online and play their favorite variants at ease. Most players begin by signing up to a trusted, reputable poker site, like 888poker.ca. Their site offers bonuses and opportunities to polish your game such as learning terminology, studying statistics of hands and watching more experience individuals play, making it one of the best online poker sites in Canada.
Then you can develop your own strategy for playing and enter different tournaments. As you improve your game, you can enter tournaments for larger amounts.
There’s also the option of playing your way in to bigger tournaments. You can win your buy-in through smaller tournaments.
Who are the Top Earners?
There is an elite club that all professional poker players look up to. Many of these are World Series of Poker bracelet holders.
Bryn Kenney is considered one of the best poker players in the world. His brash personality doesn’t always make him popular, but he is a fan of keeping it real.
Kenney is a brilliant player, but as well as winning he has lost a lot of money along the way. That comes with the territory, and he’s not ashamed to admit his losses.
He burst onto the poker scene when he came 2nd in the East Coast Poker Championships at age 21. Kenny has racked up an impressive $56.4 million in cash prizes, including:
- $153,220 inn the $1,500 10-Game Mix 6-Handed at the 2014 WSOP
- $20.5 million as runner-up in the 2019 $1 million buy-in Triton Super High Roller
Kenney’s success comes from focusing on low-risk, high winning potential moves.
Canadian poker superstar Daniel Negreanu moved to Las Vegas when he was 21 to play poker. He soon lost all he had and moved back to Toronto, but it didn’t deter him.
He earned the nickname “Kid Poker” when he won the $2,000 Pot Limit Hold’Em event at the WSOP. He was just 23, the youngest player to earn a bracelet.
In 2004, Negreanu made 11 final tables at the World Series and gained winnings of $4,465,907. Off the felt, he has released two books and even appeared in movies such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine!
Negreanu has been known to throw a random comment out to size up his opponent. He tries to see a player’s behavior postflop to understand how they play.
Identifying other players’ weak spots is where Negreanu really shines. Then he takes them down.
Tips and Strategies for Beginners
The great thing about sites like 888 poker is that you often have further reading to improve your poker. You can learn tips like:
- When to push other players
- When to play aggressively
- What positions are the strongest at the table
- The phrases used throughout the game, such as “double gutshot” and “GTO”
Learning the hands is easy, and most people pick it up fast. Then watch some of the craziest hands in history:
- When Connor Drinnan and Cary Katz both had preflop aces at the Big One for One Drop
- Chris Moneymaker’s “Bluff of the Century” at the 2003 WSOP Main Event
- Matt Afleck vs Jonathan Duhamel at the 2010 WSOP Main Event
As you develop your style of play and strategy, you will learn if playing professionally is for you. It can be an interesting way to earn a living, but you need to commit to the study of the game.
Becoming a professional poker player is exciting, but it comes with extreme lows too. A cool head and the ability to manage your bankroll are great qualities if you’re planning to go pro.