If you’ve just watched someone win millions of dollars at a poker championship, you may probably be thinking, “I can do that!” Before you quit your job and head to the nearest casino to become a professional gambler, you should first stop and think. Do you have what it takes to make gambling a lucrative profession? What does it take for a person to become a professional gambler? What do you need to do to succeed at gambling?
Before becoming a professional gambler, there are a lot of things for you to consider. For starters, you need to think about the following:
How Much Will You Make?
Thinking of becoming a pro gambler because of a person on TV winning millions at the drop of a card is pretty fanciful, if you really think about it. If becoming a pro poker player or professional gambler is that easy, then everyone should be doing it, right? Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy and it isn’t as lucrative as what you might see on TV.
The reality of becoming a professional gambler is that you don’t make a good amount of money without taking lots of risks and without any gambling skill. For you to even make what you are already earning right now at your job, you need to:
- Find a game you know you can be good at and can consistently win
- Have enough capital or bankroll to sustain your transition in order to profit from it
- Have enough time to play on a weekly basis to at least make what you are already making now
If you’re already earning $1500 a week at your job, you need to be able to earn the same amount at gambling. In blackjack, this amount is easy enough to make as long as you know how to count cards. This skill is rather difficult to master, not to mention frowned upon by casinos. Once you’re discovered as a card counter, you will be kicked out of the casino and banned for life.
Even then, if you do know how to count cards and are good enough to not get discovered, you need to play at least $150,000 in order to make your target $1,500 per week income. The same goes for poker players and sports betting. You can make enough money on these games if you are a good enough player or know how to pick winners. But still, you need to place large wagers to get the kind of money that you are aiming for.
Are You Willing to Let Go of the Usual Benefits You Get from a Regular Job?
When you become a professional gambler, this means that you will have to let go of the other regular stuff that comes with having a regular job. This includes such benefits as workers compensation and health care. When you choose to become a professional gambler, you have to cover all your medical costs and other expenses should you figure in an accident while at “work”.
Sure, you can get your own health insurance but until you have enough to do this, you might have to forgo such a thing until you have enough money from your new endeavor. If you want to ensure that you don’t lose everything you have when you embark on this new career, try to allocate at least $1,000 per month for health care insurance.
Other things you lose when you choose to become a professional gambler after quitting your regular job include unemployment, your pension plan, sick days, and paid vacations off. In short, unless you’re out there playing and winning, you earn nothing.
To ensure that you can still enjoy life as if you were employed and have all your benefits intact, open a savings account or an interest-bearing account and deposit at least $1000 every month. This will help you when times get rough or when you need to take a break and go on vacation. These funds will come in handy as well when emergencies arise and you cannot get to a table where you can earn as you play.
Gambling is Not a Surefire Way to Earn
Unless you’re like those experts at poker that you watch on TV or a savant just like Rainman who can win at casino games any time with his sharp brain, you should know that you can’t always earn at gambling. Worst case scenario is you end up losing your bankroll and have no way to earn from gambling because you no longer have any money.
The worst part of this is even when you decide to go back to regular employment, you might not find something as good as you once had. This is because of the employment gap you had from trying your hand at professional gambling. This can mean that you have to start at the bottom again and if you’re in your late 20s or even older, this will be rather difficult.
To ensure that you have something to fall back on when your chips are down, so-to-speak, you should have more than just a bankroll saved up. You need to have extra saved up as well to live on if your foray into professional gambling fails. This find should be placed in an interest-bearing account so you are still earning from it even if you’re not doing anything with it.
One thing to remember when you do this, however, is to not use this fund to supplement your bankroll. Always keep this fund separate from your gambling funds and only dip into it for your living expenses. You can also make sure that you don’t touch the money in this account until you’ve found yourself a job that can support you and those who depend on you.
The Bottom Line
Unless you are truly skilled or gifted enough to make it big in gambling, whether it’s as a professional poker player or someone who can make a living winning at blackjack and other similar games where card counting can be used, it might be a good idea to simply gamble for fun.
Becoming a professional gambler is no walk in the park and while it can be tempting to follow the path of those huge poker player stars, remember that not all of what they have come from actually winning. A lot of these come from endorsements so they don’t really make that much money on the game.