The first piece of advice I give to people who want make a living playing poker is whether or not they have the personality for it. Unfortunately most people don’t. The most important thing you can have in your personal arsenal of tools is self-control and discipline.
If you want to be a “balla” and flashing cash and living a life of luxury you probably don’t have the right mentality for making a living playing poker. Some guys who have all of the flash will make it but most won’t.
Whenever I’ve studied people who have built up long-standing businesses they all have one thing in common; they don’t waste capital. They don’t brag about how much they’re making. They’re notoriously tight with their cash because they know every penny of capital is a penny that could be helping themselves more money.
Making a living playing poker is about discipline at the tables and with your bankroll. Many famous poker players’ biggest leaks in their games are what they do away from the tables. Many can’t resist the urge to gamble on sports or casino games. Some start living a lifestyle where a downswing will wipe them out.
And for professional poker players this can very difficult thing to manage. Poker players don’t have 401K’s, disability insurance, health insurance, and other benefits provided to them by the casinos. So it’s easy to think that one “get by” on a certain level of income but not have anything set aside for retirement or even skip on health insurance premiums when going through a dry spell at the tables.
If you want to become a professional poker player the first thing you need to realize is that it is a business. You should treat it like a business. That means learning proper bankroll management, diversifying your risks (making investments outside of poker), and keeping a cushion of cash should you hit a dry spell at the tables.
If you can do that you have a better chance at being a successful poker professional than many players who may be better than you.