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From Hobby to Income

When the time comes for you to go from playing poker as a hobby or pastime to a legitimate way to earn money and play in competitive forums, it is a good idea to consider the strategy behind your new goals.

Establish Your Bankroll

The first thing you must do is to establish your bankroll. Some people suggest estimating the size of your bankroll by calculating 100 times the big blind for games such as Texas Hold'em, or up to 300 times the big blind limit for no-limit poker, but these are just very loose estimates. If you are serious about making poker work for you, you may have additional considerations. You should assess all the funds you have available to you after your living expenses have been paid; that amount can go into your poker fund. You should note, however, that though the hope is you can win more, you could possibly lose it all. Assess the available money wisely, and as you start winning you can increase your bankroll.

Play Smart

Much like investing money, diversify your portfolio. Break your money into segments to be used on different games, and at different times. If you have a really bad day at the tables and lose your bankroll, you will have to wait until the following week or month to get back into the game; this hurts your playing consistency and might really set you back. Continue to play games that you tend to do better with - playing to your strengths is always a good idea - but don't be afraid to try different tournaments or forums. You may just find a new game that will increase the amount of money you are bringing in, thereby increasing the amount you have for your bankroll.

Remember, never guess at how much you are winning or losing. Always keep meticulous records of money going in and out, and keep a thorough record of the outcomes of different types of games. Much like you will assess your opponents, you have to be brutally honest about the games you should be playing and the stakes you should be willing to risk.

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