Just like in any widely played sport, there are always players that become exceedingly good at what they play. The same can be said about poker. Although some may contest that poker is not a real sport, the popularity, following, and the amount of time and effort spent playing it, this makes for a highly competitive and cutthroat sport and/or game of skill. Poker can be considered a mix between skill, intelligence, and luck. The reason being is that there are hardly any players that have all three characteristics down perfectly. Professional poker players did not receive this title, they took it.
Poker Pros Experience and Skill
Like with many careers and jobs out there, many people had to go to a College or a University to get a degree and then become a professional at whatever they studied. It is the opposite with playing poker. The reason most of the poker players that consider themselves professionals, is not because they have a diploma in poker, but instead they gave themselves that title. They had to gain several things in order to give them the right to call themselves professional. Poker players in the past did not have access to information that players now-a-days have, and thus had to gain all of their knowledge through experience. Playing countless hours of poker and against all kinds of opponents is how they got the experience they have now. In most cases, poker players would usually have played for over 500 hours before they would even consider themselves poker pros.
With the experience they have gained, they also get the players’ instinct. Their instinct kicks in automatically when they play. They have learned how to spot a Tell, a possible bluff, and even know when to give up/fold. The opposite is also true; they have learned to control their outer emotions. Limiting their emotions allows them to better hide their intentions, whether they have a great hand or are trying to bluff their opponent. Unless a player has been able to attain most of these features, they cannot truly call themselves a professional poker player.
Poker Pro Styles and Personalities
The great thing about professional poker players is the fact that they each have a unique way of playing, as well as a unique personality that makes them different than the rest of the players. There are two general playing styles, Aggressive and Passive, and there are variations of each that are tweaked to best fit the player’s personality. Aggressive players tend to go all-in, try and bluff their way through bets, and even bully other opponents if they have the chance. While Passive players like to take their time, usually fold more often as they wait for those better cards, and are more cautious overall when playing. As such, players that are more talkative and extroverted when they play, usually have a more aggressive gameplay and those that keep to themselves and are quieter, tend to be passive players.
When a player finds the perfect combination between their personality and their style is when they start to win and make a name for themselves. Professional poker players are the kinds of players that have found a good mix and are able to continually get better with it.
Being a Poker Pro
For those players wanting to become a poker pro, it is not an easy road to take. As stated before, pros usually have more than 500 hours of gameplay experience, and that is considered to be a minimum. To be a poker pro; players need to have experience, skills, a defined style, and need to be able to leave emotion out of it. Players that consider playing poker a hobby are usually the players that show their emotions after each hand, getting happy if they win or mad if they lose. Being a poker pro has been compared to being a businessman. They need to be calculating, since in the end, playing poker is how they get their income.
Many players are turned off from being pros. The reasons being poker is not a highly social game, it can become a very repetitive task, and some do not see themselves being able to earn enough money to sustain them; poker is a very volatile game, where a person’s luck can change very quickly. Either way, this is why professional poker players differ from the rest.