Do You Have the Skills to Be A Pro Poker Player?

Written by: Webster Lupton , Casino, Gambling, and Sports Journalist
9 minute read
How to Become a Professional Poker Player

Anyone who has played poker knows it is a fun game. But it is also a game of skill, ability, patience, and perseverance. If you play real money poker, you get a hint at how difficult it is to be a pro because the higher the stakes get, the harder it is to win.

If you want to go all-in as a professional poker player, you need to put in a lot of work to master it. You have to study, calculate, manage money, and know about ups and downs. This blog will give you an idea of what it takes to be a pro poker player.

Tips To Become a Professional Poker Player

Becoming a poker pro is not as easy as simply playing a lot. You have to work at it and make sure you master all the ins and out of how to play poker. We’ll make it easier with these tips to help get you on your way.


Treat it Like a Business

Treat it Like a Business icon

Playing professional poker isn’t just a game. It’s a business, and you should treat it like one.

That means keeping good records of profit and loss, business expenses, and filing taxes, just like any other business.


Develop the Right Mindset

Develop the Right Mindset icon

Patience and stamina are a big part of pro poker skills. You will be in long games and grueling tournaments, and you have to maintain concentration. Approach the game like an athlete by resting, exercising, and eating well.


Learn Poker Strategy

Learn Poker Strategy icon

Studying and learning poker strategy is a part of playing like a pro. Spend time learning Game Theory Optimal (GTO) strategy, which puts math to work in your favor. You can use tracker software that employs hand histories to analyze your game.


Evaluate Your Strengths and Weaknesses

evaluate Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Calculate how many hands you win per 100 rounds in every type of game you play. Analyze other playing statistics, and learn from your mistakes. You will be a better professional poker player if you know what you do well and what you don’t do well.


Apply Bankroll Management Techniques

apply Bankroll Management Techniques

If you treat pro poker as a business, you must manage your bankroll. Separate your poker bankroll from the rest of your budget, and use no more than a small percentage of that bankroll in a tournament or cash game. Have savings because you will also need to play through dry spells.


Don’t Just Play One Type of Poker

Don't Just Play One Type of Poker icon

Being a professional poker means playing different games, not just variants like Texas Hold ’em or Omaha, but deep-stack and short-stack games and various types of competitions. You will find that live poker events and online competitions host that game variation. You will also discover what kind of poker offers the best profit for your style.


Master Your Game and Know Your Odds

Master Your Game and Know Your Odd icon

You want to know the odds of getting the right card in any situation and calculate those odds. You should see the value of your hand compared to others on the table. Are the bet and pot worth a call or raise, or should you fold? And when you make the play, it’s essential to know why it worked or did not work.

Learn from Other Professional Poker Players

learn from other professional poker players icon

Other professional poker players can be your best keys to being one yourself. Play online poker, watch other skilled players on TV, observe and take notes. You can go to live tournaments and talk with others. Knowing the successful tactics of other good players will enhance your learning.

You can also go to live tournaments and talk with others. You can join the conversation at top poker forums online, like TwoPlusTwo. Knowing the successful tactics of other good players will enhance your learning.

Professional Poker Considerations

Before you decide on going all-in as a professional poker player, there are things you need to take into account. After all, pro poker may not be for you. So, keep in mind the following as you approach the game.

Work Ethic and Commitment icon

Work Ethic and Commitment

Are you dedicated to poker and willing to put in the hard work? You have to put a lot into the game to get something out of it.

And you have to accept the bad runs with the good and be willing to stick it out when things go south.

The Poker Playing Ceiling icon

The Poker Playing Ceiling

The money you make from playing poker has its ceiling or the highest stakes level you can beat. There is a significant turnover of regular players every several months at every stakes level. The people playing at 5/10 tables last year have backed off to 2/4 games or gotten out altogether.

Devaluing Money icon

Avoid Devaluing Money

When chips turn over at the rate you see at most poker tables, it can cause you to devalue money. It is a natural reaction, but one you have to consider. Always be aware that everything has value and nothing is free. As you mature in your game, you should learn to handle your money better.

The All-Time Top 5 Professional Poker Players List

Pros who hit the big time all have their stories. Most have had to go through tough times to reach the highest level, especially at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Here are the top five professional poker players of all time and the massive prizes they picked up to make it to the top.


Bryn Kenney – New York (USA) 

Professional Poker Player Bryn Kenney

Bryn Kenney became a pro player in 2007, and by 2014, he had earned his first World Series of Poker bracelet.

He topped that in 2019 with a run of three competition triumphs that brought him more than $1 million each. In the 2019 Triton Million, Kenney won a heads-up deal that paid $20.5 million.  


Justin Bonomo – Virginia (USA)

Professional Poker Player Justin Bonomo

A teenage phenom, Bonomo turned a $500 buy-in into $10,000 at Paradise Poker when he was just 16.

He mounted a huge run in 2018 when he cashed in more than $25 million in prizes. Now, at age 46, he has nearly $50 million in winnings.


Daniel Negreanu – Toronto (Canada)

Professional Poker Player Daniel Negreanu

Rated by the Global Poker Index as the Player of the Decade, Negreanu was named WSOP Player of The Year in 2004 and 2013 and made the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014.

He won several WSOP bracelets and World Poker Tour titles, enough to accrue more than $43 million in prizes. His biggest prize was a second-place finish that brought him $8.3 million.


Erik Seidel – New York (USA)

Professional Poker Player Erik Seidel

Seidel hit the World Series scene with a runner-up finish at the 1988 WSOP Main Event. He won enough bracelets to make it into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2010.

But Seidel’s big year was 2011 when he collected more than $6.5 million. He won two major competitions in a week that year.


Dan Smith – New Jersey (USA) 

Professional Poker Player Dan Smith

Always swinging for the fences, Smith is known for playing high-roller competitions almost exclusively.

His first big score was better than $2 million at the Bellagio Super High Roller in 2014. Then in 2019, he collected an $8.7 million prize for a third-place at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series in London.

Top Female Professional Poker Players

icon female poker players

Women have been a big part of the professional poker scene since TV exposure and online play brought popularity to the game. 

Annie Duke and Barbara Enright began making serious inroads in the WSOP competition in the mid-1990s. Enright was the first woman to be inducted in the Poker Hall of Fame, making that mark in 2007 alongside poker legend Phil Hellmuth. 

Linda Johnson and Jennifer Harmon have since made it into the Hall. Duke pocketed more than $9 million in winnings, and other female players have made their marks on the pro poker landscape. 

The Best Female Pro Poker Players

More women are breaking into the poker pros scenes every year, taking grand prizes home. Let’s take a closer look at the top female professional poker players and how much they won.


Vanessa Selbst

Vanessa Selbst

Vanessa Selbst is currently considered one of the best players in the world. With around $12 million in poker earnings, few would argue.

She has three WSOP bracelets and has made it to eight final tables.


Kathy Liebert

Kathy Liebert Professional Poker Player

Kathy Liebert has been in the money at 47 WSOP events on her way to nearly $7 million in winnings.

She has reached six World Poker Tour final tables and in 2004 earned a bracelet in the WSOP $1,500 Limit Texas Hold’Em Shootout.


Liv Boree

Liv Boree Professional Poker Player

Liv Boree has earned a WSOP bracelet and is the only woman to have won major events on both sides of the Atlantic, on the World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour.

She has more than $4 million in her poker pocket. 

Play Online and Practice to Become a Professional Poker Player

Playing online is the perfect way to put your practice to the test and become a pro poker player. Try these legit poker sites and start practicing online.

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Not Ready to Play For Real Money?

Practice makes perfect. There are several demo versions of poker at online casinos that you can play before you commit to putting cash in the pot. Try Triple Edge Poker below.

Use These Professional Poker Player Tips To Win Big!

Being a professional poker player has been called “a hard way to make an easy living.” It requires talent, hard work, and the ability to overcome slumps. But when you score big, it is rewarding. 

All gamblers know the road to the big score takes time. But those prizes come a little quicker online. You’ll find that out if you try our top-rated online casinos. Sign up there, and you will find great bonuses that can fund your quest for the best prices. 

 Professional Poker Player FAQs

These are the most frequent questions that our readers ask about professional poker players.

How much do professional poker players make?

Professional poker players make an amount that usually reflects their level of commitment. Part-timers who reach a ceiling can make enough online or in-house games to supplement their day-job salaries. But the ones who go all in and work at the game can make in the millions.

Webster Lupton

Webster Lupton Casino, Gambling, and Sports Journalist

Webster Lupton is a journalist and expert sports and casino writer with over 30 years of experience. He is a seasoned researcher and a published author that enjoys the outdoors and birdwatching.

Learn More About Webster