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You Want a Second Income from Poker?

Written by Jason Frakk. Last updated on
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You have a good life.

You have a supportive family, a nice set of friends, and a decent job.

Whenever you find free time, you play poker with your friends and relatives and for some strange reason, you get to kill the game and win almost every time.

Although it’s impossible to win each hand you’re dealt with (even Phil Ivey has to fold a hand from time to time), you have a sense of what’s going on at the poker table.

When we play, we must realize, before anything else, that we are out to make money

You think you have the steel to win poker matches, especially in your home games, but have you ever thought about earning a second income from poker?

If this is the first time you’ve heard of playing poker as a source of secondary income then you’re in for a treat. A fair warning though, I don’t suggest that you gamble your lifesaving’s away.

All you need to do is be smart about it and plan in advance.

Start off with the extra cash that you have and make sure you don’t blow your hard-earned money away.

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Don’t give poker a bad name

dangerous cowboy poker

Bull going all-in!

You’ve cards flying up in the air together with limped bodies and cowboy boots.

Poker is often associated with cowboys and westerns thanks to much Hollywood movies we’ve seen.

If not westerns, poker (and other card games) is often played in sleazy and dingy card rooms.

Rats won’t stand a chance in these filthy places much less you, the poker player.

Whether we like it or not, that’s the poker environment we’ve grown accustomed to: polluted, covered with cigar smoke, and dangerous.

Let’s thank the poker gods (and ESPN) because the descriptions above aren’t close to real card rooms and casinos.

You don’t see dudes from the ‘hood with guns toting at you. Instead, you’re more likely to find businessmen, math professors, MBA degree holders, and more plain average Joes.

Of course there are sharks (professional poker players who make a living out of the game), but with the right preparation and steady bankroll, the idea of earning a second income from poker is very possible.

The Reality of Poker: Gambling versus Sport

A scene from the movie Rounders.

A scene from the movie Rounders.

“Guys around here will tell ya, you play for a living, it’s like any other job. You don’t gamble, you grind it out. Your goal is to win one big bet an hour, that’s it. Get your money in when you have the best of it. Protect it when you don’t. Don’t give anything away. That’s how I paid my way through half of law school. A true grinder. You see, I learned how to win a little at a time” – Mike McDermott.

Are those lines familiar to you?

If they’re not, they’re from the opening scene of the movie Rounders.

We can get a lot of card philosophy from the movie if you’re considering earning a second income from poker.

The debate whether poker is gambling or sport remains unresolved and to the uninitiated, poker players are often frowned upon.

But one thing should be clear: Poker only becomes gambling if you play with reckless abandon like a boxer who throws punches with his eyes closed. What goes on at the poker table – how you you’re your cool, how you react, and how you decide – is a microcosm of real life.

Poker is no different from a sought-after business deal. It’s no different from war (or the threat of it) and brinkmanship is crucial. And just like the many aspects of our professional and private lives, poker is about making decisions.

Poker is not for the faint of heart. It’s for adventurers, thrill-seekers, and especially those with entrepreneurial spirits. It’s about taking risks and calculated chances.

You must have the heart and soul to appreciate victories and the humility to accept defeat without going crazy.

Earning a Secondary Source of Income FROM POKER: How to Prepare

The Art of Poker

The Art of Poker

“Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” – Sun Tzu, Art of War.

It’s a scary thought, but I have to admit that poker’s a tough sport.

What’s easy these days anyway?

With that in mind, in wouldn’t hurt if you prepare before you rush into the sport.

Here’s another tip: treat poker as an investment.

If you look at poker as an investment, you won’t squander your cash in casinos and online card rooms like you have a cash flow that never runs out. Every investment has risk and to keep that always in mind will help you protect it.

Play within your means. Don’t be blinded by a pipe dream. Sure, it’s sweet to see yourself at the final table of the World Series of Poker with Phil Ivey on your left and Tom Dwan on your right.

Don’t mistake the money you win for fame, glory, and wealth. Think of your winnings as windfalls that could help pay the bills or the vacation you’ve been longing for.

What’s important is to play the blinds that won’t hurt your wallet.

Remember: your objective is to make poker a source of secondary income, not make you poorer. You have to grind it out.

Set Targets

Set your target.

Set your target.

Set yourself a goal each time you play.

Put a reasonable monetary target.

There’s no shame if your goal is to win $100 per four or five hours of playing poker every day.

The point is to build your bankroll big enough to augment your current income to support your family’s or friends’ financial needs.

Here’s another Rounders treat for you: “You can’t lose what you don’t put in the middle.

Be wise when you play poker and make it a source of secondary income.

All the other players sitting with you at the table are out there to take your money, too.

Variance and bad beats will show their terrible heads from time to time, but you can control your losses if you leave yourself outs.

Who knows? Maybe the next time you re-read this article in front of you – this article that spawned your desire to consider earning a second income from poker – your monetary target is no longer $100 per night, but $5,000 or $10,000 or more!

Live Poker Games

Playing poker live does have some advantages.

Playing poker live does have some advantages.

I don’t know where you live or from which part of the world you come, but there are plenty of places you can go to find a good poker game.

  • Search for local card rooms within your vicinity.
  • Check out the tables and their swings.
  • Observing how the regulars play will give you an idea how strong the players are.

You can use what you observed and assess whether your game is good enough to play head-on with the veterans of the card rooms. You can have a feel of what’s going on around you by playing face-to-face with other poker players.

However, live poker games in card rooms and casinos have disadvantages.

Here they are:

  • Gas money – with the economy plummeting, the price of petrol fuel is a pain in the neck. The objective why you want to play poker is because you want to earn a secondary income. If driving around town to find the best card rooms would result in additional cost then playing live poker may not be a good idea.
  • Food money – Although there are card rooms that give free drinks and sodas to their clients, you need to eat, too, while you play for hours. However, food choices in card rooms and casinos can be pricey. You can’t play on an empty stomach because it can affect your judgment.
  • Physical distance – travelling can be very exhausting. Apart from the gas and food costs, and depending where you are, the physical distance can take a toll on your game and decisions.

Online Poker Games

Not as good as live but still...

Not as good as live but still…

If you can’t handle the distance and you want to avoid additional cost, don’t worry.

Online poker games abound it’s like choosing from live card rooms, too. Below are three examples of online poker sites that you can try if you prefer to save more money:

  • PokerStars.com – this is considered one of the largest poker sites worldwide. You can browse the site and you’ll find more tournaments and games than any other poker site. It has 24/7 customer support with secure deposits and fast cash outs.
  • FullTiltPoker.com – Full Tilt Poker is an online poker room conceived and designed by some of the world’s leading professional poker players. Notable poker players that play in this site are Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan. You can start playing with beginners at small stakes tables or you can rough it out with the best players in the site.
  • Bodog Poker – Bodog has plenty of tournaments and you can play in sit and go tournaments, multi-table and even WSOP qualifiers. All you need to do is to create an account and download the free poker software.

Learn More Poker

Learn more poker.

Learn more poker.

Finally, learn from the masters of the game.

Sure you can beat your buddies at home even when blindfolded. You can rip them off and take their barbecue money.

However, when you go pro – at least from earning a secondary income standpoint – it wouldn’t hurt to read about the game.

Chess grandmasters would spend thousands of hours playing. They also spend loads of time reading and studying chess books to up their game.

Go grab a poker e-book. Read Doyle Brunson’s Super System. My personal favorites, for some strange reason, include Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book of Poker and Daneil Negreaneu’s Hold’em Wisdom for All Players. You could also try the books of Phil Helmuth, Barry Greenstein, and Gus Hansen.

They’re all worth reading.

Watch videos how the pros play and bluff their way. Watch Ivey, Dwan, Esfandiari, Mizracchi. Sooner or later all else will become clear and you’ll have an arsenal of tricks that could help you increase your bankroll.

Besides, when you’re just starting with the game, you learned the rules and felt it as you went along.

This time, you have to be smart. Really smart.

That’s how you prepare if earning a second income from poker is what you want.

I will leave you with an inspirational video from Doyle Brunson and after you can start playing some real poker.

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