I'm a good poker player. Can I become a pro?
This blog post is for you: good players with good results on the Internet and occasional live tournaments or online tournaments where you have performed well. You have good results and you play better than the others. Is that enough to try to go further?
Can you become a professional? Can you live the poker life? That's not an easy question to answer for anybody.
Every case is different, but I can give you some general guidelines that may be can help.
You have to be good first. Really good.
Do not think that because you have won some tournaments that you are almost invincible. So many people make that error and end up crashing and burning against the hard reality. They are good, but they end up playing better players. Inevitably, they end up losing.
You have to win regularly at the level you are playing several times a week at your club or online. Not only you must be a winner, you must feel like one. Know and understand why you win. Understand that you have more vision on the game than those with whom you play with. You must be able to realize the strengths and weaknesses (yours and those of others). You should feel like the owner of the table.
You have to study
There are very good books, articles, forums, magazines, and blogs that can help. No matter how good your game is, you will always learn something reading what others write. A line or a sentence in a two-page article can teach you something new.
Then you have to put it into practice! When you read a good article that teaches practice what you learned as soon as you can.
And, if you are an online player only, use the technical tools that abound in the market.
You have to get our head together
There are going to be bad beats. There are going to be bad hands. The problem is that it is hard to know if you play well and lose because you have bad luck or you are just playing bad.
In these cases it is best to look for help from other players in the forums. Ask about the hands you have played. Ask if your peers think your decisions were correct. You will receive different views on the same hand, and that helps a lot. Each hand is different, and every situation is different, but there are general rules to follow, which is always good. And surely you will learn listening from others.
You have to have the roll (and a clear head)
If you play well and you have a good bankroll to withstand several consecutive bad beats, eventually you will win. Your bankroll will cover your bad beats. Your game will put you in the most favorable situations to make that bankroll grow.
Finally, delete the word "tilt" from your vocabulary. You can't become a professional poker if you're prone to tilt. Keep a cool head always.
Leo Fernandez is a member of Team PokerStars Pro Argentina