Becoming a professional gambler involves picking a game you’re already good at, improving your skills, studying strategies, and practicing in no-stakes or low-stakes environments.
The amount you can earn as a professional gambler varies from a modest income to lucrative millions, though it can depend on your skills, the type of gambling you do, and your notoriety in the industry.
A professional gambler may be more at risk of developing a gambling addiction due to constant strategizing about gambling and the high-pressure environment.
Many people want to turn their passions into careers and succeed at it. For someone who loves to gamble, how do you turn a passion for wagering and winning into a sustainable job? How do you win enough money and win consistently to keep a roof over your head and food on the table?
Becoming a professional gambler takes a lot of time and patience. Sure, you may be good at poker or have a keen eye for sports betting opportunities. However, you must develop the skills, knowledge, and attitude needed to be successful. There’s no sure-fire way to become a professional gambler, but you can take many paths to pursue this career as a full-time job.
Pros and Cons of Becoming a Professional Gambler
No job is perfect, even if it’s playing your favorite casino games for a living. Before you dive head first into the world of professional gambling, you have to consider both the pros and cons of this career.
Some of the biggest perks of being a professional gambler include:
It can be a pretty lucrative gig. You can earn a lot of money if you get really good and play in big tournaments. But you can also be good at your chosen game and earn a modest income, too.
You control your working hours. You don’t have a typical 9-to-5, though you could “work” those hours if you wanted. Basically, you can work whenever you want and however much you want.
It’s fun and exciting. You get to play games or place exciting wagers for a living, what could be better?
There are some downsides to the professional gambling life, too, including:
Your income isn’t always steady. You may be rolling in the dough one day and out of the money the next. Managing your bankroll and other forms of income are critical to making sure you have enough money to live on.
It can be stressful. Unpredictability of income can take its toll. Losing streaks can impact any gambler, professional or otherwise. But when it’s your job, you have to be prepared for both ups and downs.
You need a grind mindset. You have to constantly be studying the game, improving your skills, and looking for the next wagering opportunity. This environment creates a lot of pressure and demand to keep playing, so it takes a certain amount of grit to stick it out.
Being a professional gambler is not all glitz and glamor as movies about gambling might tell you. Knowing the benefits and risks of this career can help prepare you for the real challenges you’re going to face.
Steps by Step Guide to Becoming a Professional Gambler
You can quit your job and start playing your favorite casino games or making wagers on sports anytime you want. But the key to finding success as a professional gambler is patience. Follow these steps to become a professional gambler and leave your day job behind.
Pick the game you’re good at.
Study the game.
Choose your betting strategy.
Determine how you’re playing (online vs. in-person gambling).
Build up a bankroll.
Play in tournaments.
1. Pick the Game You’re Good At
You have to have skill to be good at any job, and that’s especially true with professional gambling. You must understand the game you’re playing, possess the skills required to play well, and dedicate yourself to getting better. So, your first step is to figure out which casino games or other forms of gambling you’re skilled at.
If you’re interested in playing poker professionally, you also have to choose which form(s) of poker you’re going to play. There are many differences between Texas Hold ’em and Omaha Hold ’em, so you have to know which form you’re best at.
Your chosen game should require skill and strategy to overcome random luck. That’s why you don’t see many professional roulette, craps, or slots players. These games don’t require skill and don’t have betting strategies you can use to reduce randomness and beat the house.
2. Study the Game
Whichever game you choose, you should always consider yourself a student. Be eager and willing to continue learning, even if you think you’re doing well. Take these steps to educate yourself and improve your gameplay:
Learn the rules of the game inside and out, whether it be the game you’re betting on (like soccer or American football) or the game you play (like blackjack or poker).
Read strategy books that are trusted or written by the pros you look up to.
Watch other pros play, such as poker pros who stream or have a YouTube channel or those who play on TV shows like Poker After Dark.
Stay up to date on relevant stats and trends, including team/competitor issues, for sports betting.
Watch all the games you can, including games you’re not betting on, to understand how the competitors are doing.
3. Choose Your Betting Strategy
There are dozens of betting strategies for practically any form of gambling, and some strategies are better than others. For instance, you have nearly a dozen blackjack betting strategies to choose from, and some work better based on your level of comfort with the game.
As you read strategy books for your chosen game, check out how pros use these strategies. Find examples of these strategies in play and determine whether the strategy works and is still relevant based on how players game today.
Then, practice the strategies you learn. You may find that you’re more comfortable and confident with one betting strategy than another. For sports betting, you may stick to just one or two strategies that work for you. In poker, you should have a few strategies you can employ depending on who you’re playing with. For blackjack, you should understand what to do when you or the dealer have certain face-up cards.
4. Determine How You’re Playing (Online vs. In-Person Gambling)
You can become a pro gambler without having to step foot in a casino or on a racetrack. As long as you live in a state where online gambling or online sports betting is legal, you can make online gambling your main focus. Or, you might use online casinos as a practice arena to try out new strategies or improve your skills overall.
You also have to consider how you want to be paid. If you play at a casino, you can cash out your winnings and often have the taxes taken out right then and there. Online casinos can sometimes make it challenging to receive your winnings. That’s because online casinos have to verify that your funds are eligible for withdrawal, which can take some time. But many online casinos allow you to withdraw winnings directly into a bank account.
If you’d rather play or bet in person, you have to live in or near a city where there are casinos or racetracks. Many pro poker players, like Daniel Negreanu and Erik Seidel, live in the Las Vegas area. Live in New Jersey? Consider moving closer to Atlantic City to be near the action or getting an account at an online New Jersey casino.
5. Build Up a Bankroll
You’ll need quite a bit of money to gamble full time. One way to build up your bankroll is to play low-stakes games or make low-stakes wagers on sports while you work full time. This allows you to practice strategies and develop skills while winning smaller sums that go right back into your bankroll.
While you work, you can also save a portion of your paycheck toward your professional bankroll. You might let it grow until you have enough to go full time and gamble part time on a smaller, personal bankroll, the winnings of which should go into your pro bankroll.
Most professional gamblers have to start with their own money, but once they have enough wins under their belt, they may seek partners who can fund their gaming.
6. Play in Tournaments
One way to stay motivated while building up your bankroll is to save toward a specific tournament entry or other high-stakes gambling event. These events offer a lot of perks, including:
Possibility to win even more than you would playing regular tables
Chances to refine your skills against strong players
Opportunities to show off the skills you have and gain notoriety for the game
Networking opportunities with amateur and professional players as well as gambling brands and potential investors
For sports bettors, you might set your sights on placing high-stakes bets on a lucrative event, which could give you a chance to win a huge amount of money that boosts your bankroll.
7. Seek Investors
You might find investors to spot you the money you need to qualify for a big tournament, make a huge wager on a lucrative sports betting opportunity, or just play your chosen game more often. That’s right, there are people who will be willing to fund your gambling in exchange for a portion of your winnings.
Some players find investors through tournaments where they’re able to demonstrate their ability to win against strong competition. You might also ask friends, family members, or people in your network about investing in your professional gambling business. You can even find people to buy your way into the World Series of Poker Main Event, where you’ll have a chance to win huge pots, go up against some of the best poker players, and get the attention of other investors who want to help you succeed.
But it’s important to have a portfolio of sorts to show potential investors that you have what it takes to turn a profit. Keep track of all your wins and losses. Know how much you win and lose on average. Establish the potential investment risks and benefits based on the types of wagers you make (the odds you play). You can compile all this information into a clear presentation of your skills at the game, whether it be blackjack, poker, sports betting, or another game.
Extra Tips for Professional Gamblers
Here are some additional tips to follow as you try to build your professional gambling career.
Manage your emotions: You have to think logically and strategically, no matter what type of gambling you do. Emotions can make you throw your strategy out the window and act on impulsive decisions that can jeopardize your bankroll, or worse, your personal bank account.
Set realistic goals: Don’t expect to become a pro overnight, and don’t expect to make a bunch of money right away, either. Set short- and long-term goals that make sense for the amount of money you have to play with and your current skill set. Avoid setting monetary figures every week or month. Stick to more holistic goals, like the number of hands or wagers you win.
Bet only what you can afford to lose: This is a good strategy for any type of gambler, but it’s especially important for a professional gambler. Give yourself hard loss caps to prevent you from betting more than you can afford and losing your bankroll for good. Limit yourself to a small portion of your overall bankroll for each gambling session so that you don’t drain your account and lose out on future chances to win.
Analyze and optimize your gameplay or betting strategy: In addition to consistently learning from what pros and strategy experts suggest, learn from what you’ve done, too. Analyze the decisions you make in each session, and investigate ways you can improve your skills or prevent yourself from making those mistakes again.
Learn to recognize addictive gambling habits:Gambling addiction refers to when a person has an uncontrollable and impulsive need to gamble. Someone struggling with gambling addiction often thinks about gambling all the time, regularly risks more money than they can afford, or considers (or acts on) immoral choices to get more chances to gamble. Regularly evaluate your emotions and behavior around gambling to catch an addiction before it starts.
Start Your Professional Gambling Career at an Online NJ Casino
Check out our reviews of New Jersey’s best online casinos. We break down all the important information amateur and professional gamblers alike need to know, like the game selection, welcome bonus offers for new players, customer service, and more. This information can help you find the perfect starting site where you can practice your strategies and refine your skills to become a professional gambler.
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