GOING PRO: from casual gamer to pro in five steps

  • Step from casual game to pro requires dedication, experience and knowledge
  • Be prepared to out in the hours, and to keep on top of your game
  • Follow Casinopedia’s five steps and you’ll be up there with the best

Want to call yourself a professional gambler? Then be sure to follow these five key steps to make the most of your gaming.

Ask any professional gambler about the most important first step, and they will tell you it’s your bankroll. Think about this for a minute. The casinos have more capital than gamblers (the vast majority of the time). Therefore, if the casino has a slight mathematical edge, it’s only a matter of time before the house wins and the gambler loses. In other words, the casino has a bigger bankroll.

1. Bankroll


The gambler knows the house has the edge and must make necessary adjustments for success, but without a bankroll, the gambler has no chance whatsoever. It’s important to note that bankroll doesn’t refer to your entire life savings, nor does it mean money you use to pay bills.

A bankroll is separate from your everyday expenses yet it needs to be big enough that you can withstand bad runs. At these times, it’s imperative that you lower the stakes at which you play in order to grind your way back up.

For example, a professional blackjack player might move down from $100 per hand to $25 per hand, which will allow the gambler to withstand bad runs and attack fearlessly when opportunities present themselves.

For a professional poker player, it might mean moving down from 5/10 No Limit to 2/5 No Limit, which will allow the player to get away from tilt and begin making correct decisions again – against an easier field. If the professional poker player continues to make mathematically advantageous decisions and good reads based on betting patterns, then it’s only a matter of time before he builds his bankroll again.

If you’re rolling dice, then you need a big enough bankroll to withstand bad rolls, as well as enough money to press during a good run. The good run will always come, but you must be patient in awaiting its return.

Regardless of the game, a professional gambler knows that in order to protect his bankroll, he must get out when ahead. Greed and ego will always be your biggest enemies.

2. Education


Most people are stubborn in this area. They want to go out and gamble without putting any work in, thinking that will somehow miraculously lead to success. However, the cold hard truth is that you need to educate yourself in whatever game you’re choosing to play. Reading books (or listening to books) is a good way to start.

Many successful gamblers have written about their experiences. You might be surprised to find that some of these gamblers will write about their failures as well, which is valuable because it provides you with an opportunity to avoid making the same mistakes.

Also consider finding a coach. For example, if you want to be a better poker player, find a poker coach. There are plenty of them out there. However, some are for real and others are not. In order to determine who is real and who isn’t, you can check their Hendon Mob Database – a website that tracks larger poker tournament results.

If you’re a blackjack player, look at the MIT blackjack team as an example. These people were educated in a classroom and ended up bringing down the house. The casinos that were hit weren’t pleased by this and shut those players down, but the point is that education led to success.

3. Life Balance

poker player

This factor is often overlooked. Not everyone can handle being a professional gambler. A recent example is professional poker player Tom Dwan, otherwise known by his online pseudonym as Durrrr.

Dwan had much success early in his career, but due to his LAG (Loose-Aggressive) style of play, he had to contend with enormous bankroll swings, which he has had trouble dealing with. This led him away from the everyday poker scene.

In prior years, Dwan played poker day and night without enjoying any aspects of life away from the table. This can be dangerous for health, mental well-being, and family relationships.

Remember to keep life balanced. It will make you a better gambler. Some professional gamblers also fall prey to drugs, which can destroy a bankroll in no time. Steer clear.

4. Support System

People playing cards

Everyone needs a positive support system to succeed, especially in the gambling world. If you fail and you surround yourself with people who will get on your case about it, forget it, you’re done. Toast. Game over.

However, if you surround yourself with people who can pick you back up and/or show you the right path to success, then your odds of a lucrative gambling career will greatly increase.

In the poker world, people will stake other players all the time, fully expecting that the player receiving the stake will return the favor one day if necessary.

Plus, a stake has an added benefit for the lender because it could lead to a big score for that lender – without ever having to play a hand.

5. Detailed Records

Digital data

Keep track of every game you play, including the date and time. You need to know where you feel comfortable, where you like/dislike the dealers, when you have the most/least energy. You will be surprised to find that these factors will be revealed in your records. Let’s use poker as an example once more.

Let’s say you play in a 5/10 No Limit game on Thursday nights at your local casino. After 25 sessions, your win/loss record is 12-13 and your profit/loss is -$3,450. Now let’s say you play in that same 5/10 No Limit game on Saturday nights. After 25 sessions, your win/loss is 17-8 and your profit/loss is +$5,500.

Without keeping these records, you wouldn’t notice that difference, which is critical information if you want to be successful. As far as the reason for the difference, more regulars (regs) play on Thursday nights, and more tourists play on Saturday nights – sometimes with drink in hand.


To review, the five key steps for going from casual gambler to professional gambler:

1. Bankroll
2. Education
3. Life Balance
4. Support System
5. Detailed Records

Good luck. And more importantly, plan well!

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