Anyone who has shown a significant appreciation for online poker has asked themselves if they can turn their hobby into a viable career path. After all, many people have been able to amass respectable amounts pursuing poker as a little more than a hobby.
Some, have played mostly outside the United States, where the traffic is slightly better in the offshore card rooms, while others have tried to persevere playing on home turf in places like New Jersey and Nevada.
In any event, making poker into a viable career would require you to be smart, pick your playing hours well, probably hold down a day 9-5 job, and most importantly – know your poker. What does it take exactly to make it as a poker high-flyer?
Love Your Poker
If money is the sole motivation to your actions, you might want to reconsider your strategy. Most of the people who enjoy poker have an honest passion for it. They like studying it and actively improving themselves to be better at it.
Reading strategy books, doing research, visiting forums is all part of the equation. Understandably, finding your passion for poker at first might take you a little while, as people, including today’s pros, mostly suck when faced with new tasks.
This is where a set of distinct qualities comes into play. According to Michael Shinzaki, one of the noteworthy professionals of our time, poker takes endurance, creativity and a level head. Mastering the game and turning it into a viable career path would require quite a bit of concentrated effort and only those willing to soldier on through the difficult patches might have a shot at it, Shinzaki notes.
Find Role Models
There have been many great examples of poker players making a living without playing on “the big poker stage” or in events such as WSOP.com. Some people just have it, as it turns out. Dale Philip, a UK player who was winning £10,000 a month, roughly $13,000 is a good example.
While Dale is not from the United States, his story can serve as an example of how even low-profile players can quickly turn their knowledge of the game into sustainable way of life.
Of course, Dale had access to slightly better markets than most US players do online, hence his quick way of turning a profit. To repeat his success in the United States, any player would need to show even stronger determination and very possibly attend some of the bigger land-based events.
Some professionals, including Phil Galfond, have moved to Canada to be able to play competitively and continue to operate in big money territory. Others are still soldiering it on. The potential for online poker is immense, though, and it has been somewhat of a hot topic since May, 2018 when PASPA was finally repealed.
Understand the Market
Perseverance is all very well, but you will certainly need to study the market and the opportunities available thereof. Presently, three states allow online poker, namely New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. A fourth state, Pennsylvania, has announced an official launch on July 15. With its 12 million people, the Keystone State may join the compact that the previous three states have signed in order to pool their players and prize pools.
If Pennsylvania does join, this will poor a lot of fresh blood into the online industry, allowing better opportunities for players to make a living without having to hustle at illegal website located outside the country.
Even better yet, a growing number of states in the US is now entertaining the idea of introducing their own legal online poker. The landscape is quite patchy, though so making sense could take some effort. For more information on legal online poker in the US, visit this website and stay up to date with legislation updates across all states.
What Other Legal Challenges Are There?
In 2019, choosing a career as an online poker player is slightly more demanding and even uncertain. At the beginning of this year, the Department of Justice issued a new opinion on the Wire Act whereby online gambling across state-borders may become illegal in the summer.
This can very possibly throw a spanner in the works for states looking to legalize online poker and join the compact with other states in a bid to create a national network that can finally compete with the offshore options.
However, the long hand of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson could be felt in the latest turn of events, re-purposing the Wire Act once again. DOJ is nowhere near banning online poker for now and the states potentially affected by the move are already gearing up for a fight. Yet, you need to factor these possible limitations should you choose to drop your day job to pursue a career of online poker in America.
Relocating to Play Online Poker?
Some Americans have opted for this option, temporarily leaving home to gain access to bigger and more profitable markets. This could be a career move that is worth more attention and a great way into diving into somewhat better poker options. Some players, though, prefer to entertain poker as a hobby and stick to the legal options home, hopeful that the introduction of Pennsylvania to the poker fold would expand the play field and give even better opportunities to turn a profit.
More states are entertaining poker, too, with Michigan and New York having been trying to introduce legislation for years now. Despite numerous failures, there are enough lawmakers in both states to keep pushing. Kentucky is also hopeful of a change, although, New Hampshire just got a draft bill that would have introduced online casinos shot down.
A Final Word and Considerations
Online poker is very popular in the US. Some of the world’s best players come from the country and despite the somewhat limited options to learn and most importantly – practice the game, many players have succeeded to conquer not only the online world, but also some of the most prestigious land-based events in the entire country.