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Poker player Do you fancy yourself as a bit of card shark? Can you think of nothing better than dedicating your days to playing cards? Then stepping into the world of professional poker playing could be a career worth pursuing. Your parents probably aren’t going to like it initially, but once you bring home a big, fat novelty cheque from your first tournament win, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll soon be bragging to all their friends about how talented you are. Dominated by an elite few, the world of professional poker playing captivates many (and bemuses many others who think it’s not a ‘real job’). Whether it’s the extreme amounts of prize money on offer, the glamorous trips to Las Vegas or the sheer chutzpah required to bluff your way to victory, the life of a pro poker player is one many people would love to live, even if just for a day. While some poker players build a career out of playing small tournaments both locally and online, the big paydays (and fame) can be found on the professional circuit where large tournaments (and even larger cheques) dominate. How big does it get? Well, with some poker tournaments televised, poker is now also a spectator sport and with that comes television rights, endorsements and sponsorship deals. In that respect, poker playing is as legitimate as many mainstream sports. To make it on the professional circuit you really need much, much more than a good poker face. You also need to have a watertight understanding of the rules of the game, nerves of steel and the supreme ability to read others. You need to be patient and be okay with a bit of trash talking to put everyone else off their game. Poker is a waiting game, with most players sitting around for hours watching others play, and lose, before striking at the right moment.

So playing hand after hand is a requirement, and this is where boredom can set in if you don’t really love the game. Possessing a good understanding of mathematics is helpful, but arguably the best thing you can do for yourself if you want to be a poker pro is play hours and hours and hours of poker. In this field, personal experience is everything and it can’t be found in a book or on YouTube. As a career that crushes anyone stupid or naive enough to think they know it all, dedicating a serious amount of time to developing your skills will put you in the best position to succeed and not end up living on the boulevard of broken dreams. As a highly stressful career, this isn’t the right fit for anyone who wants a guaranteed stable income or low-risk life. However, if you love the thrill of playing cards, are happy to travel to tournaments and have strong poker skills, then it could be for you. On top of the prize money, some of the best players also earn extra income from endorsements with companies like Pepsi, Chrysler and Puma, who have all sponsored players in the past. With multi-million dollar paydays on offer, all you need is one good tournament to be set for life – if you don’t fold too soon.

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: None. Experience required: Experience playing poker in a high-stakes environment is a must. This experience will give you the ability to read other people’s body language and handle the intense pressure of the game. Training: None. Just years of playing poker. Although there are also poker courses, books and online tutorials to help. Restrictions: None. Unless you get caught cheating and end up getting thrown out of the circuit or blacklisted from casinos.

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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