Is there a legitimate profession called “professional gambling”? Many recreational gamblers who enjoy online casino games for fun may find it difficult to fathom that there are individuals who have opted for gambling as a career. The notion of staking your money to earn a living while increasing your bankroll is generally considered too risky by most people. Nevertheless, professional gamblers do indeed exist, encompassing a diverse array of specialists, ranging from casino gaming experts to sports bettors and high-stakes poker players.
However, it’s crucial to dispel any romanticized notions about professional gambling that might stem from the glitzy and thrilling portrayals seen in gambling-themed movies like “21,” “Rounders,” or “Casino Royale.” In reality, professional gambling demands unwavering discipline, dedication, and diligent effort. Continue reading to unravel the myths and discover what the everyday reality of professional gamblers entails.
Distinguishing Professional Gambling from Recreational Gambling
To grasp the essence of professional gamblers, it’s essential to first comprehend the distinction between recreational and professional gambling. A recreational gambler engages in online or brick-and-mortar casino games primarily for the sake of enjoyment. Games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and craps offer various forms of entertainment. Players may derive pleasure from taking calculated risks and the possibility of winning money, the suspense inherent in gameplay, or the social interactions with fellow players. Recreational gamblers also adhere to a budget and cease playing when their bankroll is exhausted. Sometimes, they may leave with more money than they initially brought, but on average, they spend more than they win, and that’s acceptable—it’s the price of participating in the game, similar to any other hobby.
Conversely, professional gamblers approach gambling as a daily occupation. Consequently, in addition to the expertise required to master the specific games they engage in, they must acquire an array of vital skills. These encompass meticulous record-keeping, prudent money management, effective time management, astute analysis, and emotional self-control. This pursuit is far from straightforward, but those who invest the time and effort to transition to professional gambling can sustain their entire livelihood through their gambling endeavors.
Transitioning to Professional Gambling
So, what is the precise path to becoming a professional gambler? The journey involves several key steps that must be followed correctly.
Firstly, the initial step is selecting your area of expertise. Opting for games or sports that genuinely pique your interest is logical, but caution is advised. Games entirely reliant on chance, such as slots, craps, and roulette, are not the most prudent choices since the outcomes are beyond your control. Games like blackjack and poker, which incorporate skill as a pivotal component, make for ideal specialties for aspiring professionals.
The second step entails becoming a true authority in your chosen domain. Dedicate yourself to mastering the rules and understanding the odds, and practice as extensively as possible to refine your skills. Maintain a meticulous gambling journal to document your wins and losses, facilitating the tracking of your progress over time. This record allows you to discern what strategies are effective and what should be discarded as you refine your personalized approach.
Ultimately, to qualify as a professional gambler, you must establish a system that consistently yields positive results. A study of renowned gamblers reveals that many of them were initially financially well-off, enabling them to wager substantial sums of money. For instance, Australian magnate Kerry Packer once triumphed by winning $20 million while playing multiple games of $250,000-stake blackjack simultaneously, but he also encountered a six-month losing streak that cost him $40 million. Was he a successful professional gambler? No, he was a recreational gambler who could afford high stakes.
The most prosperous professional gamblers are those who consistently generate profits over time, and they frequently specialize in poker. Figures like Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Ivey have amassed millions at esteemed live events, such as the World Series of Poker, and frequently secure lucrative poker sponsorships. A new generation of professional online gamblers, like Justin Bonomo, have accrued career earnings exceeding $60 million.
Effective Money Management
Success in professional gambling necessitates a substantial initial bankroll. The recommended bankroll size varies depending on the specific game. For professional blackjack, it could amount to 1,000 betting units (equivalent to $5,000 if you are playing at $5 tables), while poker professionals should possess at least 100 buy-ins aligned with the limit they are playing.
However, accumulating such funds is not a simple endeavor. You must allocate a portion of your regular earnings to a dedicated gambling account until you amass a sum that allows you to undertake calculated risks in your chosen specialty without the fear of financial ruin. Alternatively, many players seek backers who provide financial support in exchange for a percentage of the winnings.
While expanding your bankroll, it is essential to learn effective money management. Initiate this by setting specific and realistic winning targets. For example, you might establish a goal such as, “I aim to win $100 in five hands,” or “I intend to conclude the week with at least $1,000 in winnings.” Once you attain your goal, it’s prudent to cease playing. This approach enables you to patiently nurture your bankroll and maintain control over your gambling activities.
Mastering the Psychological Aspect
Every professional sport involves a psychological component, and professional gambling is no exception. It is imperative to cultivate the ability to maintain an unwavering focus solely on the game during play. Mental fortitude is another vital attribute. Variability is an inherent aspect of all gambling activities, and you must possess the resilience to endure the inevitable downturns that accompany the upswings. Certain games demand even greater perseverance than others, with poker being a prime example. The higher the stakes, the more opponents will employ various tactics to provoke emotional reactions and provoke tilt.
To thrive in such demanding circumstances, it is essential to work on maintaining composure. In his MasterClass video titled “The Mental Game,” Phil Ivey underscores this point:
“Maintaining emotional equilibrium while playing poker is of utmost importance because decisions should not be influenced by emotions. Decisions should be grounded in logic, observations of your surroundings, and the information provided by other players.
Many factors at the table are beyond your control. For instance, someone else may be winning multiple hands in succession against you, which you cannot influence. What is within your control is your immediate situation, the hands you choose to play, emotional steadiness, giving your best effort, staying focused on the present moment, and consistently putting your best foot forward. These are the elements within your jurisdiction at the gaming table.”