Becoming a Professional Gambler: How and Why

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We may not agree on who’s better out of Jordan and LeBron. We may not agree on whether red or blue states should win. We may not agree on whether the Patriots have ruined the NFL or not (they have). One thing though, we can agree on is that gambling professionally and earning money while playing card games is one of the best possible career opportunities there is.

But the thing is, what are the odds (symbolically) of you succeeding in turning gambling into a consistent source of income? We all know someone who trained all the time as a kid, but still isn’t a professional sports player. If you manage to turn it into a career, like in any other profession, it takes exceptional talent to be at the very top of the game. So don’t expect to compete for WSOP bracelets against Hellmuth just yet. Still, with enough experience and dedication, you can get to a level where winning money is frequent enough to provide for a great living.

So how do regular people become professional gamblers? What should your strategy be if you’re not Raymond and can’t see there are 246 toothpicks on the floor? Before we go into how you should go about it, let’s discuss first why you’d want to do it and whether you’re suitable for it.

Who Should Gamble Professionally?

The thing is, gambling and the lifestyle that comes with it simply isn’t suited for everyone. The vast majority of players who play casino games end up losing money instead of winning it. And more often than not, they bet with more money than they can afford to lose. The most important thing when you try to make gambling a full-time job is always to keep your cool and remain in control. The thing is, with gambling, be it sports betting or playing poker, you need to be aware that you’ll have losing streaks that can last for months. Your focus should be on the long term.

When you’re a successful gambler, that doesn’t mean that every time you play, you walk out with more real money than you’ve walked in with. It means so in the long run. Consequently, you need to create a lifestyle which will be accepting of dry months, and you need to have a budget which will be able to sustain such draughts. But the budget is not the only one that needs adapting.

Gambling Psychology


You also have to have the kind of personality that can go through this. When we lose playing a game, our egos get hurt as the point of a competition is to prove that we’re better. As a result, those of us who find it hard to control their emotions often start overpaying and chasing their losses. This is a surefire way to financial and personal problems.

Oftentimes, what begins as just playing video slots turns into the focal point of our lives if we can’t control ourselves. Gambling provides us with adrenaline, and some of us don’t have the willpower to fight off the urge, which leads to excessive gambling. Gambling addiction is a serious problem, just like alcoholism. In fact, a medical study has shown that the suicide rate with pathological gamblers is higher than with any other addictive disorders. If you spot any signs of compulsive gambling, you should work on your problem and seek professional help.

However, if you know you’re capable of keeping your cool, and you can be oriented on long-term goals, then professional gambling would be the stuff of dreams. Imagine switching your desk job for everyday visits to Las Vegas. You would lose the shackles that come with a 9 to 5 job and part of your job would be to play in live casino tournaments all across the globe. What more can you ask for?

How Do You Do It?

So the million-dollar question is — how do they do it?! First of all, it’s paramount to know which games to play. You should prioritize games of skill over games of chance. Spinning slot reels for a living is not something you can pull off. The thing is, casinos are set up in such a way that they always end up winning. Slot machines are a prime example of that where you rely simply on luck to win or lose. That’s why they are the most plentiful.

Instead, you should play games which depend on your skillset, and your decision making can make an impact on the outcome. That’s why most professional gamblers focus on poker or sports betting. To become masterful at poker, you need to have years and years of experience and the ability to read other players’ behaviors and betting.

There’s a bit of luck involved with getting the right cards (it’s a game, after all), but your moves are more important for the outcome than the cards themselves. Since you’re competing against other players and not the casino itself, it’s not set up for you to lose in the long run, so the only thing stopping you from winning is if someone’s better than you. And not a lot of people are better than a professional gambler.

With sports betting, many people believe that it’s often just a shot in the dark where you try to guess a future event. However, that’s far from being true. Sports odds are based on complex algorithms which factor in hundreds of data before coming up with an odd. With an odds model, you can work out the most probable outcome and always make the safest bets.

Other Games


While most believe poker and sports betting are ideal options, if you find poker boring and betting too complicated, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are viable alternatives. For instance, let’s take a look at baccarat. In baccarat, there’s a house edge which doesn’t exist in poker, but it’s a card game which offers one of the best odds of all casino games.

While the dealer is involved, it’s not your classic “player versus dealer” situation. Instead, you have three betting options — banker bets (the dealer’s hand will win), player bets, and ties. All these bets have their house advantages: 1.06%, 1.24%, and 14.36%, respectively. With this in mind, your best strategy is to always bet on the banker as this way, you have the best chances of winning.

Alternatively, you should consider playing blackjack. Depending on the variant and the number of decks, blackjack’s house edge can vary from 0.28% to 1.5%. With blackjack, you’re going against the dealer, and the goal is to get the sum of 21 or be closer to it than the dealer. If you go over, you bust. When you play blackjack, you have two pieces of information — the value of your starting hand and the value of one of the dealer’s cards. People have developed basic strategy charts, which tell you what your best course of action is considering the information you have (i.e., which cards are on the table). This gives you a strategic approach to blackjack and is the necessary foundation for more advanced strategies such as card counting.

Counting Cards

With card counting, your goal is to give value to cards that have gone through so you can better anticipate which card will be next. If you’ve counted that it’s most likely going to be a big card, don’t ask for a hit if you have a high count already. Card counting can significantly lower the house edge and maximize your profit.

Although it’s not actual cheating, some casinos ban card counting and will ask you to leave if they suspect you’re doing it. But it’s not illegal, and it’s a great way to earn playing blackjack. Just keep in mind that it’s not a skill you develop easily.

Now that we’ve gone over the games, let’s talk about casinos themselves. Should you keep it traditional and stick to land-based casinos, or do you give online casinos a go? Let’s take a look!

Going Vegas vs. Going Google

As is the case with most things in life, both sides of the argument have their pros and cons. With brick-and-mortar casinos, you have the glamorous lifestyle that comes with it. Let’s face it; a casino’s presentation is the major part of its charm. Additionally, when playing competitive games such as poker, you can benefit from being physically in the same room as your opponents. This way, you can work out their body language and read some telltale signs on how confident they feel about their hand. However, this works both ways, so make sure your poker face game is on point.

An issue with land-based casinos is that unless you live in Nevada or New Jersey, it’s not easy to come across that many of them. Your money-making strategy should be precise, and you shouldn’t deviate from it. Subsequently, if a casino introduces a rule change that goes against you, you’d need to look for another casino which might prove to be a tough task.

Contrarily, online casinos have the advantage of offering convenience which physical casinos simply can’t compete with. With the advancement of online gambling, we now have the ability to access our favorite games from the comfort of our homes. Now, just two taps on the phone are enough to play a live game of poker against other players. It’s also more convenient for your budget because you can quit a game after just ten minutes when you see it’s not going your way. Theoretically, you can do that in a real casino, but nobody nips in for just a few minutes.


Another thing websites have on their side is online casino bonuses. The thing is, there are thousands upon thousands of online casinos, and they have to fight against each other to, basically, get to your credit card number. In order to entice you to join one casino over a different one, most online casinos offer promotions.

You, as a player, should take advantage of this. Promotions are basically free money casinos hand over hoping it will get you to put on some of your money. The thing you should be wary of are the terms they come with. Many casinos give bonuses with unfavorable wagering requirements which render them useless. WRs represent how much money you need to wager before you’re able to ask for a withdrawal.

Closing Thoughts

So there you have it! Before you even start looking into which games to play and how, you must figure out whether professional gambling is the right thing for you. Some people don’t have what it takes to remain in control and let the adrenaline overpower them. They often end up with financial issues and form an addiction. You have to be able to focus on long-term goals and make a strategy accordingly.

Once you figure out your approach, and you’re sure you’re able to carry it out, turn to games themselves. Usually, people prefer sports betting and poker due to the fact that they can have the most impact on their earnings via these two games. But if that’s not your thing, there are other options available.

All in all, it’s not an easy job to become a professional gambler, but it’s far from impossible. It’s just that, like any other profession, it takes years of learning and dedication to become proficient at it. If you manage to find a balance between personal life and playing addictive games, if your life permits you to have months where the money’s just rolling in followed by penniless months, then you’re good to go. Do everything the right way, and you’ll land yourself a dream job. Good luck!

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