I know from personal experience just how tough it is to actually play poker full time. If you have only come from a background where you have been employed then you may just find things even tougher. The variance within the game can be similar to many types of businesses where you can end up losing over any given week or month. I always feel that many of the skills that are needed to play poker full time are in-built and in place long before a player even makes the decision.
I don’t think it is correct to say “I want to be a professional poker player” until you are fully aware of what that actually entails. Because the middle limits are very tough in which to make a living then you will probably need to play lower down the levels. Doing so makes the disparity between what you can earn from playing poker and what you could earn from a career too close. This would certainly be the case for graduates for example who could find a well-paid job between the £30k-£60k range that also had a pension and other benefits.
This is why I think that the majority of players that are playing the game full time are doing so out of necessity because they don’t have other serious career options in many cases. This certainly applied to me because my final years at school were something of a washout and so I left school with minimal qualifications. This led to a career in gaming which I ultimately left after becoming disgruntled with being passed over several times for promotion. Little did I know it at the time but that led to a successful change of career although I did have several false starts in between.
So the bottom line is that I arrived as a full time player not by design but by accident and necessity and I think that this applies to most players who play the game full time. The problem from my perspective was that all through my adult life, I have become disgruntled with certain jobs and careers when I have been doing them for too long. In some cases I have left jobs after a few weeks or months that I wasn’t enjoying. One of the key factors that prevent many players from succeeding at poker is “greed” or trying to make too much money.
The game itself will only allow you to extract so much money because as you increase the levels then your opponents will increase in skill, knowledge and sophistication. So to beat players at say the $1-$2 level in no limit Texas hold’em then you will need to be substantially better than you would need to be to beat opponents at say the $0.10-$0.20 level and so on. If you imagine poker as a sort of pyramid where the higher you go then the fewer players that you encounter but the tougher they are.
So do not allow greed or the desire to play for more money hinder your chances of success. There is a fine line in poker between not playing high enough for your skills and playing too high. You should curb the desire to want to test yourself at higher levels until you have categorical proof that you can make it. There are too many people who are gambling or shot taking as some like to call it for my liking. A good online poker player will be cold and hard in their attitude towards money.