How To Become a Professional Gambler

Angie Harper - EditorAngie Harper - 02 April 2020 in Features
How To Become a Professional Gambler

Many people may dream of becoming a professional gambler, but the road to success in this area can be long and bumpy. That dream job can come with long working hours and significant amounts of stress. However, there is undoubtedly something appealing about the potential of being able to make a living out of placing bets or playing poker.

So what do you need to do to become a professional gambler? What skills and experience do you need? What are the pros and cons of this profession and what routes can you take? These are some of the questions we will be answering in our ultimate guide to professional gambling.

What skills and experience are needed to be a professional gambler?

The first thing it is important to note is that not everyone will be able to make it in the world of professional gambling. Put simply, this is not a job that is suitable to just anyone. A specific set of skills and personal characteristics are needed in order to make it in this difficult business.

But you do not necessarily need to have a lot of experience in gambling in order to go down this path. There are ways to make money as a professional gambler without any special knowledge or expertise of the industry. However, those who are used to placing bets are obviously going to be at quite a considerable advantage compared to anyone who is a complete newcomer.

Let's take poker as an example. The best poker players are able to make it as professional gamblers, but this is a relatively small number of people. There are millions of casual poker players around the world, though only a very low percentage of them could ever make it as a pro. Anyone who is brand new to poker has a lot of catching up to do if they wanted to eventually become a professional. It is often said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at any one particular skill. Using this as an example for learning how to play poker, it could take over 10 years to get to expert level if a person spent even 2.5 hours a day learning the game.

This does not take into account that people might well have a certain level of natural aptitude of instinct for professional gambling. Poker is a great example of a game played by professional gamblers as it is a mix between skill and luck-based - we will have more on this a bit later. Naturally, skill-based games are going to be a lot harder to master for professional gamblers.

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Routes to becoming a professional gambler

Here are some of the top options for people who are aiming to become a professional gambler:

  • Sports betting
  • Poker player
  • Slots streamer
  • Matched betting
  • Professional trading

Pros of becoming a professional gambler

One of the reasons being a professional gambler is a dream job for many is the freedom it offers. As a professional gambler, you can be your own boss so you do not have to answer to anyone. You can work whenever you like and take time off if you feel like having a break. If you are at your most productive early in the mornings, then you can do your work at this time. But night owls will find that being a professional gambler can suit them too, especially as a lot of the most important sporting action tends to take place in the evening. Poker professionals might also find that the evening is the best time to play as this is when many casual players are online.

Working for yourself has an appealing feel about it for many. Not only can you set your own hours, it is up to you how hard you want to work in a bid to move up the ladder. Of course, the more time you put in as a professional gambler, the more you are likely to see reward in the form of extra cash flowing into your bank balance. There is basically no higher limit to the amount of money you can hope to make as a professional gambler as long as you have the drive and ambition to succeed - as well as a healthy slice of luck!

Some people who become professional gamblers also earn some fame as a result as well. Poker's growth into one of the world's most popular sports during the online gambling boom saw a number of the top players become household names. Players such as Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey are among the biggest success stories to follow for anyone who is dreaming of being a professional gambler. Fame and money are not the only big perks of life as a professional gambler either. The top poker professionals often play in tournaments all over the world, so there is a lot of travel and the chance to see the world, even if much of your trip will be spent inside a casino at the poker table trying to get the better of opponents by examining their poker face.

Cons of becoming a professional gambler

While there is a long list of advantages to becoming a professional gambler, there are downsides too. The first big one to mention is how risky the profession can be. All gambling has risks and even the best professional gamblers are likely to go through periods where they sustain losses. When this happens, it is important not to panic and trust the process - wins will soon arrive.

Working for yourself does not suit everyone and some struggle to cope with the lack of daily structure. You need to have a high level of discipline to make it as a professional gambler. The lack of a steady income might be a problem for some people. One month you might make a lot of cash, then the next you might actually make a loss rather than a profit. It is an unpredictable way to try to make a living. A large bankroll might also be needed in order to get up and running. It is hard to start out on the road to becoming a professional gambler without a decent amount of cash to start with. Even a perk like travel can start to feel like a grind for people like professional poker players who spend a lot of time away from home. It is not just the endless hours spent in airports you might have to get through, but also long periods spent away from friends and family.

Becoming a professional gambler - the expert's view

For a more complete lowdown on life as a professional gambler, we need to consult an expert.

According to Caan Berry, a pro trader whose YouTube video tutorials receive tens of thousands of views, less than five per cent of people are able to make it as a professional gambler. Berry, who highlights the importance of access to early information to winning in trading, believes that thinking outside of the box and avoiding following the herd is the key to making it in this world.

Check out Caan's YouTube Q&A below for more top information about professional gambling. Berry is a best-selling author - his book is Betfair Trading Made Simple: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started - who has amassed 34,000 Twitter followers, so he is well worth listening to.

Personality traits needed to be a professional gambler

Here are some of the personality traits and characteristics professional gamblers often have:

  • Not liable to develop addiction
  • Strong time and money management
  • Good at controlling emotions
  • A positive mental attitude
  • High interpersonal competence

Diet and fitness for professional gamblers

Diet and fitness can play a surprisingly important role in the success of professional gamblers. Poker players, for example, are not exactly known for living a healthy lifestyle. They are likely to have to endure long stretches of being either sat at poker tables in a casino or playing at home online. Diet can, therefore, be vital as it is good for the health of the brain, as well as the body.

A healthy diet, containing so-called superfoods such as berries, dark leafy greens or nuts and seeds, can help poker players to retain a high level of concentration for a lengthy period, maybe boosting their chances of winning a tournament. Many people think these types of superfoods are an expensive marketing fad, but this is not necessarily the case. Some are very affordable.

The life of a professional gambler can be all-encompassing, with exercise one of the great ways people pursuing this lifestyle can switch off for a while. Keeping fit is a good hobby for professional gamblers as it releases endorphins, leading to a more positive mental attitude. This is one of the key characteristics for professional gamblers, who need to be able to move on and forget their losses rather than allowing them to affect any future decisions that they will make.

Should you play skill-based or luck-based games?

One of the big questions budding professional gamblers must ask themselves is as follows: what type of games am I going to play? Sports betting is certainly a route that will appeal to many, with this offering the chance to make cash out of expertise and knowledge of sports like football. For others, casino games like blackjack and poker might feel like the way to go.

But could luck-based games such as slot machines be a part of a winning strategy as a professional gambler? Unlike in poker or blackjack, the player has little input into whether they win or they lose when they spin the reels, though many companies in the industry are working on the development of new skill-based slot machines, which could be the next big thing. Slot machines offer benefits such as the chance to win massive, life-changing amounts of money. On some of the most popular progressive jackpot slots, there are often millions of dollars up for grabs. But with most slot games having a return to player of around 95 to 97 per cent, it is hard to carve out a profit with the casino maintaining a house edge that gives them a clear advantage.

Skill-based games might be the best way to go, then. This has the benefit of ensuring that the more practice you get in your chosen game, the more you will win and the more cash you can get back in your pocket at the end of the day as a result. Playing poker, blackjack or another skill-based casino game for a long period is only going to improve your chances of winning.

Skill-based games professional gamblers should consider

We think these are some of the key skill-based games for professional gamblers to play:

  • Poker
  • Sports betting
  • Blackjack
  • Skill-based slot machines

How to become a professional gambler - final thoughts

Hopefully, by the end of this guide you will have a clearer idea of whether or not trying to become a professional gambler is right for you. Obviously, this is not something everyone will be able to do and, if it was that easy, then many more people would pursue this type of career and lifestyle. The reality is that it takes a huge amount of time and effort to even have a chance of being a professional gambler, not to mention the money that has to be put at risk to make this happen.

There are a few different routes to go down for anyone considering becoming a professional gambler. Sports betting is likely to be one of the most popular, while the glamour of being a professional poker player will appeal to many as well. But less-heralded options such as pro trading and matched betting offer other ways to make money out of the gambling industry. And while it is possible to become a professional gambler by starting out with little experience and few relevant skills, it will naturally be a lot easier to achieve for those with skills and experience.