Having a strong mental game is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to “preconditions” to become a professional poker player. There are many more tangible things that we need to master (such as managing our money, skill in the game, etc.). Therefore, the purpose of the chapter is to give more details about these points or prerequisites.
1. The starting point
The starting point to which all poker players who aspire to improve their game – amateur or professional – is to get a sufficient amount of money to achieve this goal. We refer to the money they will use to play poker, also called bankroll. Usually, they start with a small bankroll (one reserved specifically for poker), or even no bankroll and they must start from scratch, trying to get the first euros through online freerolls.
Having a small bankroll to start with (100 euros for example) is a great way to play at low levels, learn the game, hone our skills, and accumulate bankroll so that when our game improves we can raise levels, ie go to tables More expensive. Or play more expensive tournaments and with better prizes.
I said, if you prefer to play online without making a deposit, there are the “freeroll” tournaments (tournaments where players enter for free, but there are real gains for the best). A real example of this happened in 2007 when Chris Ferguson created (and ended successfully) a challenge that was to go from $ 0 to $ 10,000 in about 18 months. He did it mostly to prove that any poker player has the ability to create a bank from scratch.
Regardless of how you initially build your funds, however, it is very important to keep that money separate from the money we use for other things. In this way, you can have a steady growth of the money we use for poker. That said, let’s take a look at what the typical requirements on bankroll and other financial advice you’ll need to know if you get to jump to the professional level.
2. About the bankroll.
First of all we show you below a basic list on bankroll management (BRM):
- 30 buy-ins for cash games
- 30 buy-ins for Sit-N-Go (SNG)
- 100 buy-ins for multi-table tournaments (MTT)
To understand this, we must know that the buyin is the highest money in which you can play at a certain level. For example, let’s say that our bankroll for poker is 6,000 euros. This would mean that we should play a maximum of 200NL (with blinds of € 1 / € 2 and a table buy-in of € 200). This equals 30 buy. If we play tournaments, the most expensive should be € 60 registration
It is important to keep in mind that the figures described above are the minimum requirements for proper bankroll management. But there are certain poker players and more conservative and they are based on the rules described below:
- 100 buy-ins for cash games
- 100 buy-ins for SNG
- 500 buy-ins for MTT
These two examples of rules are very basic guidelines for bankroll management. Keep in mind that these can and should change depending on the level of the rivals or the type of game. For example if we play Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) the limits should be higher since the variance is much higher.
To make sure that these rules are not broken (especially when you try for the first time), it is recommended that we have a friend or poker partner who manages these issues and is in charge of making sure that we are fulfilling this golden rule .
3. The numbers send.
For an amateur to even consider the possibility of becoming a professional, the first thing should be if he is a winning player. And we’ll know that by analyzing our statistics on a large enough sample. It is not worth having earned money the first two months of play. We need hundreds of thousands of manops and a lot of experience to be sure that we are really winners and we are not going through a good run.
In general, we have positive statistics of 100,000 to 250,000 hands of sample, we will have valid data that will eliminate much of the influence that the variance has had on the general results. These types of numbers will later prove that you are the player who wins in a sustained manner in the long term.
4. Earnings calculation.
To calculate the possible monthly and annual income, we have to familiarize ourselves with a common calculation that many players use to determine their monthly accounting, especially for cash games. We talk about the ratio between BB / 100 (or the average number of big blinds won every 100 hands).
The use of this statistical variable is interesting since we will only win consistently if this ratio is positive. Let’s assume we’re playing 100,000 hands a month. That by the way, there are not many on the internet!
- 30BB / 100 hands at 2NL would be $ 600 / month ($ 7,200 / year)
- 17bb / 100 hands at 5NL would be $ 850 / month ($ 10,200 / year)
- 12bb / 100 hands at 10NL would be $ 1,200 / month ($ 14,400 / year)
- 8BB / 100 hands at 25NL would be $ 2,000 / month ($ 24,000 / year)
- 6BB / 100 hands in NL50 would be $ 3,000 / month ($ 36,000 / year)
- 4BB / 100 hands at 100NL would be $ 4,000 / month ($ 48,000 / year)
- 3BB / 100 hands at 200NL would be $ 6,000 / month ($ 72,000 / year)
When we know these numbers it is the moment to decide what we want to dedicate ourselves to: playing low levels but doing many hands and playing many tables at the same time and the number of hands that we must play each month to fulfill the objective.
The calculation is done like this: suppose we are playing 100NL tables on the internet, and we have a profit rate of 4bb / 100 at this level. This means we are earning $ 4 on average for every 100 hands we play. Based on this, how many hands should we play to win $ 2,400?
- Well we have the following formula $ 4 x $ 2,400
- Where ‘x’ is the number of hands (100 hands) = ($ 2,400 x 100 hands) / $ 4
- Then we get that we must play 60,000 hands / month
5. The importance of HUD
A heads-up display (HUD o) is a very common tool used by all online poker players. They are programs that help us create a statistical database that makes for the monitoring of our game as well as that of our opponents.
One of the greatest benefits provided by this software is that it shows the statistics of its opponents (VPIP, PFR, 3B%, etc.) directly on the tables on the screen. With these numbers in view, you can quickly identify the opponents’ game tendencies, allowing you to classify them. This information allows us to play optimal poker against each individual opponent.
The most common HUD software currently available on the market are PokerTracker4 and Hold’em Manager 2. Both are currently available for around € 50.
6. Hand History Analysis
The evaluation is fundamental to the progress of any online player. We will be able to see the game areas in which we stand out and what we can improve. Hand history is the basic tool to review our sessions, which should be a thing to study on a regular basis as it is very beneficial for our game does not stagnate. Because as we have seen before, there is software that indicates our betting guidelines and rivals can easily see how we play. So we must review our game and recycle.
Like any business and industry, poker is a game in constant change. New players come with new styles and new methods so keeping up with game trends is a must.
7. Types of professional players
There are three types of important players in terms of professional dedication:
- Cash games players
- Tournament players
- Cash games and tournament players.
While there are many professionals who mainly play their role in cash games, most players enter the third category because they prefer to play both modalities. In fact many use the cash games to finance tournaments.
We must be careful with professional poker players only play tournaments. Those who do are aware that the variance is huge. A great tournament player can spend a year without winning a tournament and many months without entering money positions, so if you are looking for a monthly salary through poker, no doubt cash games are the way to go.
Whichever roadmap you are thinking of taking, remember this:
- If you are a good cash player, play cash tables.
- If you are a good tournament player, play tournaments.