Poker can be a great way to earn a little money on the side – as long as you know what you are doing. As the song says, “You gotta know when to hold, know when to fold them, know when to walk away….” If you are relatively good at poker and understand how the game is played, you can cash in on your talents to supplement your income.
That said, you have to be smart about it – you should not put all your savings on the line or gamble with the rent check. Start off with extra cash that you can spare to lose and, if you do lose that, stop playing.
If you plan ahead, and chose your games carefully, you could be looking at a nice little nest egg. It is really only a big gamble if you lose control and play recklessly. If you are able to maintain a clear mind, it can be a good earner.
Look at it more like a business investment – you leverage the skills that you have and pit yourself against your competitors. You weigh up the options carefully and take calculated risks. As with any investment, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.
Poker is not for those with a timid heart though – there is no doubt that, even when taking calculated risks, you will find your heart racing. It can also be very disappointing when you lose. If you can handle both the highs and the lows, then you might want to look into it.
Preparing to Win
Of course, that is not to say that it is easy. You are going to come across those who are better than you as well as those who are worse. By being as prepared as possible though, you can minimize the risks.] and maximize the benefits.
Start off by budgeting how much extra money you have to play with. You need to understand from the get go that, no matter how tempted you are, you do not have an endless supply of money. When playing in casinos, remember, the house always wins – gamblers who lose it all are those who keep playing even when they are on a losing streak, hoping to turn things around.
Always make sure that you play with money that you can afford to lose. The idea of getting into a high stakes poker game can be very tempting but can you afford to bet the amounts required?
Start off by setting a strict limit on the amount of money that you can play with at any one time. Let us say, for example, that you have an extra $500 a month. Set that money aside to play with and, if you do lose it all, it is time to leave again until next month.
Decide from the outset what a good target to reach is for an evening of play. Let us say that you want to be up $200 at the end of the night – if you do achieve this goal, you have to decide whether or not you want to keep playing or walk away while you are ahead.
The clever money is on walking away while you are ahead – sure, you could be missing out on a chance to win even more but you could also be missing out on a chance to lose everything. When it comes to gambling, you need to remember that you are not the only one that is looking to make extra money. The difference between a calculated risk taker and a hopeless gambler is that the latter does not know when to stop.
The idea here is not to become super-rich but rather to come out with a bit of extra money to use for the things that you want. You want your money to work for you, like it would in any other investment.
Learn as Much as Possible
Learn as much as possible about the game before you get started. Even if you have been playing poker for years, it will still pay off to become a subject matter expert – if you are playing against professionals, you need to be well-prepared.
Going to Live Games
Depending on where you live, you might be able to play live games. There are definite advantages to a live game, especially if you are playing against regulars. Find a game near you and do a bit of a reconnoiter. Watch for a few games before you actually get started so that you can assess how good the other players are and whether you can match them or not.
When you have a good idea about the way the others play, etc. you can see about playing a few games yourself. The advantage of being in a live match is that you get to see the other poker players faces and, if you can pick up on tells, use that to your advantage.
Online games are not quite as much fun but they are very convenient because you can play from anywhere, whenever you like. This means not schlepping in your car to the game, not worrying about paying for food, drinks, etc.
If you are worried about being able to maintain a good poker face, online games can be advantageous for you because no one else can see what you are doing.
Overall, if treated correctly, playing poker part time can help you pull in some extra money for that vacation you have been wanting to take or to add to your kid’s college fund. And who knows, maybe you will be really good at it.