Turning Poker Pro
Online poker rooms and poker TV shows try to make it look easy to become a professional poker player. The truth is it's not that easy. Just because you understand pot odds doesn't mean you're ready to turn pro. Not by a long-shot.
What Chris Moneymaker was able to accomplish eight years ago at the World Series of Poker is not a common occurrence. It takes hard work, dedication, practice, and the committment to improving your game if you want to make a serious attempt at making a living playing poker.
While a lot of players may think they have the ability to do this, the truth is that only a small percentage of them have the necessary skills and talent to consistently win.
Do you have the proper bankroll management skills? Do you know when it's time to slow down in a hand? How well do you read your opponents? Do you execute the correct plays after making a read? Do you know when you're being slow-played? Do you tilt, and if so, what do you do about it? How well do you understand implied odds? Do you have a good grasp on changing gears during tournaments? These are just a few of the skills that need to be highly developed before turning pro can become a realistic goal.
If you feel you have a good handle on these and other aspects of the game, you need to prove it to yourself before investing too much of you own hard earned money. Nearly every online poker room offers their players the chance to turn nothing into a starting bankroll. If you want to take a legitimate shot at turning poker pro, why not test yourself first? Online poker rooms offer freeroll tournaments and bonuses that can help gauge your ability to turn pro. Some even offer free poker cash just for signing up! Click here to sign up and start playing now.
Test Yourself Using What Poker Rooms Already Offer
Most players take freeroll tournaments for granted and don't utilize them properly. With only 24 hours in any day and hundreds of freerolls available, get picky! Not all freeroll tournaments are created equal. While some offer winners seats in cash tournaments, others give away actual cash. Some freerolls have thousands of players while only paying out the top few spots. Others offer prizes to a much higher percentage of players. There are a lot of online poker rooms to choose from, and an even greater number of freerolls to choose from.
Do yourself a favor and look around for high value freerolls that offer a realistic chance at making money. Don't waste your precious time playing in multi-step freeroll tournaments hoping to win a seat in the WSOP. By the time all of the steps have been played and whittled away, thousands upon thousands of players have lost while one lucky guy won.
Spend a little time looking around for great freerolls to help build a bankroll and prove to yourself if you're good enough. If you can't make money playing in good freerolls, you're definitively not ready to turn pro. People will say that freerolls are all based on luck, but that's only in the short term. Players who understand proper tournament strategy and have the skills it takes to win at mid to high limit games should be able to make freerolls pay off for them. In the long term, skill always wins.
Another thing to take advantage of while testing your ability to turn pro is poker room bonuses. If you tend to be a break-even or better player, bonuses are a great way to test your abilities to make a living. The real benefit is that while you're playing at the tables, you're earning bonus money to help offset potential losses. If you can break even while playing, the bonus will help build your bankroll.
Poker room bonuses are not created equal either. Just like freeroll tournaments, finding good bonuses require some investment in time as well. Some bonuses offer huge total dollar amounts, but have clearing requirements that are unobtainable for most players. If you have to play a million hands in 30 days, while also holding down a full-time job or going to school, you aren't going to clear the bonus. Find bonuses that provide a realistic amount of time for clearing them, and low enough clearing requirements that you can actually achieve. You also have to pay attention to exactly what it takes to earn bonus money based on the limits you'll play. All rooms have their own way of paying out bonuses, be sure to read and calculate the fine print.
Some poker rooms pay their bonuses in small increments ranging from $5-$20 at a time. Others pay their bonuses in a single lump sum. It's usually best to go after bonuses that pay in increments. What if you can't clear the play-through requirements in time? You can literally play hours upon hours of poker and receive no bonus at all at some poker rooms. Instead, find a room with fairly easy to clear requirements, that also pay out in small increments.
Better yet, there are some rooms that even offer players a starting bankroll without any deposit at all! Can you think of a better way to build a bankroll while also testing your skills? Most 'no deposit' bonuses require ridiculous clearing requirements, but who cares? First of all, it's their money! Second of all, if you're really good enough to turn pro, you should also be good enough to hold onto your money long enough to clear their bonus requirements. You have nothing to lose with this strategy.
Test Your Committment
If you really want to test yourself before turning pro, you also need to know if the committment is really there. If you only play poker a couple days a week or for a few hours each night after work, that's not enough. Many people find they don't enjoy playing poker for extended periods of time. Do you know if you'll still enjoy it after playing 40-60 hours per week?
You might learn to hate the game once you're doing it for a living. When you aren't playing, you need to be studying and reading as much as you can about the game. There are a million great books, ebooks, and strategy articles to bury yourself in when you're not actually playing. If you want to win, you need to invest time in improving your game. Are you ready for the committment it takes to be a winning player?
To know if poker is really your calling or not, test yourself in these other areas. Do you tilt? How do you react when you're tilting? If you're able to recognize your tilt early and take a break, that's a good sign. If you proceed to play recklessly and donk off your chips, you're not ready. How well do you read your opponents? While watching action at the tables, write down what you think the players are holding. If you're consistently wrong, you aren't ready yet. Do you understand the math? Is it difficult for you to get a grasp on pot odds and implied odds? If you can't handle the math you can't make profitable long term decisions.
One of the benefits of playing poker at Party Poker is that their games are known to be looser than Full Tilt's. The reason is that as American players are not allowed, and as they are the most advanced players as the game started in the USA, casual players are relatively more numerous.
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