If you think about it, really, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who would disagree with professional gambling being an ideal job. You get to enjoy the glitz and glamor of that high society which comes with casinos and gambling. Those who manage to become top professional gamblers all earn millions of dollars and are set for life. You can see this job is a dream of many by the fact that the best among gamblers become famous for it. We’re yet to have a world-famous bookbinder.
But before you quit your current full-time job and drop all your life savings into a single bet on a slot machine, there are things you should think about first. If it were that easy to become successful at it, everyone would be playing casino games for a living! It takes years of dedication and grit to be able to compete, and to some, even that isn’t enough. So before you dive in head-first, you should consider whether you’re ready for it. We’ve singled out five questions you should know the answer to before you embark on your epic journey through chips and payslips.
That is the most important question you need to ask yourself and give a truthful answer. The thing with gambling is that it’s a pastime activity. But the reason we enjoy it so much is due to its competitive nature. There’s just something in us humans that makes us want to showcase how we’re better than others, and how we can beat them.
That’s even if we’re doing it against a blackjack dealer whose job is to give out cards. The possibility to win real money and the nature of the games (not knowing what’s going to happen) gives us a rush of adrenaline, which is what makes gambling so interesting. Simultaneously, however, that is what makes it addictive as well.
In the United States alone, more than 80% of adults have admitted to gambling at least once a year. Out of those 80%, estimates show that three to five people out of every hundred suffer from a gambling problem. Consequently, what this means is that there are eight to 13 million Americans who are problem gamblers. Compulsive gamblers just can’t fight off the urge to keep going even after their rationale tells them to stop gambling. They have an ungrounded belief and confidence that they will win if they plow on, but that is not the case. With problem gambling, your life balance becomes unstable, and games take over.
You start overpaying and chasing losses, which is always a one-way ticket to financial and personal troubles. Over 50% of problem gamblers have committed a crime in order to be able to support their addiction. Moreover, those who don’t seek help on time have to face deep psychological issues. Namely, a report has shown that one in every five pathological gamblers attempts suicide, which makes it an addiction with the highest suicide rate.
We hope there is absolutely no need to explain why you should do everything to avoid forming an addiction. A person’s character and psychological profile have a lot to say in whether you’ll end up with an addiction or not. Essentially, some of us are simply more prone to addictive behavior than others. If you don’t have the willpower to fight it off and control your urges, gambling is not a thing for you. Moreover, if you turn it into a profession and make it so that your life depends on playing consistently, it’s going to be even easier to get addicted.
Make sure you have the character strength to stop when it’s time to stop and not go overboard. If you manage to do so, you’re in for a brilliant job, which comes with an upscale lifestyle. But that’s another thing to consider.
While it does bring a breath of luxury and exclusivity to your life, like any other profession, it has its cons as well. Yes, you won’t have a strict 9-to-5 schedule, and you’ll have pretty lax “working hours.” But the thing is, when you get invited to a tournament, a no-show can result in not receiving the invitation again. So you’ll have to prioritize your job over private matters. Hopefully, your partner is understanding and can accept your missing the anniversary.
Additionally, you will have to deal with some people frowning upon your profession. Usually, traditional and religious people don’t really find gambling as an honorable act, so you’ll need to learn not to get affected by other people’s opinion.
Lastly, think about long-term effects a profession such as gambling or sports betting can have. You’ll be traveling a lot to cities such as Las Vegas and Hong Kong to compete in major tournaments, and you’ll have to always stay on the lookout for new casinos whose house rules can give you a competitive edge.
While Sin City can be alluring to people in their twenties, it can become exhausting to live in hotels and spend night hours gambling after you’ve been doing it for decades. So what happens if you want to detach? Sending in a resume with job experience of betting on horse racing for 30 years doesn’t make for good reading for most employers.
If you have money only for a Fiat, don’t buy an Aston Martin. In other words, don’t bet money you can’t afford to lose. Simply, you must have a strategy on how you spend your money, and you must have the discipline to stick to it. If, say, you come into a casino with the plan of not spending a dime over $1,000, well, don’t do it.
The biggest difference between professional gamblers and those who play just for fun is being goal-oriented. Pros don’t look at the success of a single playing session. Rather than that, they have their focus on the long term. With gambling, you have to realize that you’ll have dry periods when seemingly nothing would go your way. Likewise, you’ll have winning sessions during which every bet will be the winning one. You might even consider playing Wheel of Fortune (don’t).
The point is, when you’re winning, you have to keep in mind that such as streak won’t last forever, and you have to make budget adjustments for those unlucky periods. Don’t be trigger-happy when it comes to taking that credit card out. Instead, be strategic and never dip into the funds left aside for expenses in other spheres of life.
When you go over the aforementioned topics and you think you have the mental strength and financial discipline for a professional gambler, this is the next important thing. Is there a difference between games, or do you just pick any old one and become the best you can be?
The answer is no! Generally, you can divide casino games into games of skill and games of chance. Now, only one of these is a viable option for professional gambling. Take a guess which one. You’ve said “skill,” haven’t you? If you have, then you’re right, you goofy goober!
The difference between the two is by how much your gameplay and knowledge can affect the outcome of a round. For instance, if you play slots, you’ll realize that there’s nothing you can do differently to get the machine to stop on an active payline. Slots are pure games of chance, as you can’t influence the machine, which is independent of any of your inputs. That’s why you’ll never hear of a professional slot player (slotter, slotist?).
Alternatively, games of skill you can influence. For example, if you play poker against someone who’s doing it for the first time, you won’t beat them because you’ve gotten continuously better hands. You’ll win because you know how to play the game. Poker, of all casino games, is perhaps the most reliant on one’s skillset.
You need a lot of experience and knowledge to become proficient at this game, so take your time and don’t join a big boy table right from the get-go. You need to work your way up as you would with any other profession. Poker relies on psychology as much as it does on maths. To be a pro, you must master both aspects.
Professional players don’t just think about their own hands. They also take into account what their possible hands are. It takes time to get your brain accustomed to thinking in ranges which your opponents’ hands can cover. But when you become capable, you’ll be able to realize whether your full house is good enough or maybe you should drop it because that guy across the table is probably rocking a straight flush.
On the psychological side of the game, you’ll be able to “read” your opponent. That signifies that you can see a pattern in the way they bet and act accordingly. If they’re not betting often and suddenly drop a large raise, they probably have a strong hand. Unless, of course, you believe you’re reading a bluff.
Aside from poker, most pros focus on sports betting. Sports betting, when you approach it on a more advanced level, is more of a mathematical equation than trying to predict a future event blindly. The thing is, when bookmakers come up with odds, they use a sea of data which allows them to form an opinion on how likely a specific event is. But they’re not mathematical geniuses — they have an odds model which helps them do it.
Sports betting on a professional level consists of utilizing a suchlike model and figuring out what the best odds possible are. Often, sportsbooks won’t use the best model available, and their odds will be off. So you can profit by finding discrepancies in realistic odds and those that sportsbooks offer.
Alternatively, if neither poker nor sports betting is a thing for you, you can turn to blackjack. Unlike poker where you compete against other players, in blackjack, you go up against the dealer, which means you have a house edge to deal with. But blackjack comes with one of the most generous house advantages towards the player. Namely, depending on the number of decks and the variant, blackjack’s house edge goes from 0.28% to 1.5%.
With blackjack, you can strategize more easily because there’s only so much you can do. The base game consists of three moves — hit (take another card), stand, and split (when you have two identical cards and split them into two hands). You can find online basic strategy charts which will tell you what’s the best statistical move on every occasion. For instance, if your two cards sum up to 14 and the dealer’s holding a seven or above, you should hit.
There are more advanced strategies, such as card counting. Card counting can help you significantly tilt the house edge in your favor, but it’s not an easy thing to do, and it takes a lot of experience and practice.
Now that we have the what, the why, and the how, it’s time to figure out the last one — where do you do it? Are there any differences, aside from the obvious ones, between online gambling and land-based casinos?
The thing is, you can find a niche within the gambling world which suits you best. For instance, maybe you become a master in a specific poker version or you’re profiting off of a casino using only one deck in blackjack. A sudden change in rules (let’s say they replace your poker variant with another one) can result in your not being able to be as effective as before. Now, you have to find a new casino nearby, and, unless you live in Nevada, that’s not always an easy thing to do. That doesn’t count for online casinos, which you can switch with a click of a button.
Additionally, some games offer a different experience when played online. For example, you don’t have to worry about your body language when you’re bluffing in a game of online poker. Likewise, you can have a blackjack strategy chart ready in your hand and look at it all the time. That’s something brick-and-mortar casinos, naturally, won’t allow.
You can also profit from bonuses online casinos offer. Since there are a lot of gambling websites (some would say too many), they offer promotions to entice you to join them over their competition. You can use these bonuses (barring unfavorable terms they come with) to earn some money without spending your own.
Perhaps the best course of action is to combine the two. You can play online from the comfort of your home, but you can still go to physical casinos to participate in tournaments, for example.
So there you have it! Although professional gambling would be a dream job for many, to actually do it is not such a straightforward decision. There are several things you should know about. Most importantly, you must make sure you’re the right person for it, as it can negatively affect your financial and psychological well-being.
If you think you’d be good at it, you need to find the perfect game for you — just make sure it’s not a game purely relying on luck, such as slot machines or bingo! Before you start doing it professionally, go through some training and don’t go into it while you’re a newcomer to strategies and games themselves. Once you feel you’re ready to go, have the courage to make the leap. Good luck!
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