MYTHS REGARDING PROFESSIONAL POKER PLAYERS
There are few jobs quite as exciting as the professional poker player, so it’s easy to see why there’s so much interest around them.
From the long-lasting career of Doyle Brunson, the outbursts and controversies surrounding Phil Hellmuth and the chatty nature of Daniel Negreanu - it’s the personality of the players that can make the game so interesting.
What goes on between the ears of the professional poker player might be strictly kept for themselves, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few myths here and there that pop up surrounding the profession and those that play.
This late in the game we’ve heard just about every myth, misconception and flat out lie under the sun, but that doesn’t mean that the truth isn’t common knowledge.
Here are just some of the biggest myths that we’ve seen in recent years surrounding professional poker players as a collective.
Poker pros are great at mathematics
Coming in hot with one of the most popular myths surrounding poker players, it’s actually not true that poker players are experts when it comes to the numbers.
Although it doesn’t hurt knowing a thing or two about the numbers and theory behind the game, the majority of the calculations used in the game of poker are actually rather simple. So simple, in fact, that some of the biggest players avoid the numbers altogether, playing with experience and feeling over any form of statistics.
There’s no long equations, hypothesis or complex long division for those that like data - just the pot odds and implied odds (alongside a couple of other little bits) that players really need to know.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out the figures and, with enough practice, just about anyone will be able to work out the math.
It’s all about the big bluff
If you’ve spent enough time watching some of the best hands and biggest bluffs on YouTube, you might be forgiven for thinking that poker players all practice and shoot for the big bluff to eliminate opponents and go for the win.
Put simply, this is far from the truth. Although big bluffs are some of the entertaining play, it’s not exactly what professionals look for in any given game. Both being able to identify and execute a bluff is an essential part of the game (great guide on how to do it here), but it’s far from the most important part.
There are the basics, the pre-flop ranges, the continuation bet, the balancing of the ranges and plenty of other little bits and pieces that need to be considered before the big players can even think about making a bluff.
It’s not about how good you are at lying, it’s about how much you can read from the other players.
Poker pros are all after that one big win
We’ve got Hollywood to thank for this myth, but the truth is that poker players aren’t all chasing that one big win - it’s actually a process of consistency and grinding the tables.
The majority of pros making a living from poker aren’t just playing for the chance to win that one big game, but rather are always bettering their game, playing in tournaments and poker rooms in their favorite casinos. Granted, there are a few players that shoot for the bigger wins and are more than happy to live off the pot, but it’s rare.
It’s not the big win - it’s the process and consistency.
Poker pros risk millions of their own dollars
No matter which pro player you’re targeting, the chances are that they’re going to take a hit that’ll be difficult to come back from if they’re betting millions of dollars of their own money in a game of poker.
This isn’t always the case and plenty of players choose to sell shares of their action to friends, family, and members of online marketplaces to ease the burden, similar to investing in a sense. With players aware of proper bankroll management, they’re able to reduce the variance and the risk they’ve put on themselves.
If you’re looking to some of the biggest players, they may even get their buy-in through sponsors, so there’s little for them to worry about. After all, games can be stressful enough.
Poker pros make most of their money in games
If you’re a player on the world stage, such as Daniel Negreanu or Doyle Brunson, you’d be mad not to opt for additional revenue streams adding to your poker winnings.
The bulk of the money that poker professionals make doesn’t actually come from the games and tournaments, but the sponsorship deals and schemes that the players release.
Adrian Sireca, of OnlineCasinoGems, spoke briefly on the way professional players make a living: “Playing poker is just the start, once you’ve got a name a personality out there, everything becomes much easier. It’s why so many pros have masterclasses, books, and big-time sponsors.”
Looks like you’ll be getting paid twice if you’re winning games regularly!
To cut a long story short
There are plenty of myths and misconceptions surrounding poker and the professionals that play for a living, but the truth behind them tends to make a lot of sense when taking a second to think.
Although mathematics is an important part of the game at the higher levels, it doesn’t take a genius to work out the numbers required and given enough practice, just about everyone can do it. Players don’t go for the big bluff, it helps to be able to identify and execute a bluff effectively, but there’s much more to be considered in the game.
Players don’t see the bulk or at least all of their income from the bigger games and tournaments, but the sponsorship deals and alternative revenue streams that stem from the exposure in the community. Similarly, they’re also not always after the big win, it’s instead a continuous grind to always improve skills and win games.
Ultimately, poker is a game of skill and to get that skill players need to spend a good chunk of time practicing.
In the end, good poker players aren’t born, they’re built.
Posted by Retro Kimmer at 11:00 PM