So, you wanna know how to become a professional gambler, do you? You’re fed up with the daily grind, you’re ready to start living a little, and you see gambling as a way out. That’s ambitious, and it is achievable, but we want to kick you the real deal about gambling professionally so you have the best chance of success.
The name of our website is Gamblerspro.com, so we know a thing or two about gambling professionally. We’ve watched the rise and fall of countless poker players, financial traders, and sports betting pros over the years. We even have some gambling success stories of our own to draw lessons from.
The first thing you need to know is that there are many different types of gambling. Your chances of making it as a pro gambler in these different disciplines differ wildly. As you’ll see, your odds are much better in some fields than in others, so it’s worth your time to find out the pros and cons of gambling in each different discipline.
Ready? Let’s study the different types of gambling before deciding which one you’re going to pursue professionally.
Becoming a Professional Gambler – Choose Your Discipline
We like to say that gambling is a lot like martial arts. You can be a black belt in Muay Thai, and a complete beginner at Jiu-Jitsu. The same goes for gambling – you can be a semi-pro level poker player, but not have the first clue about trading the financial markets for a profit.
Each gambling discipline is unique. Which one you should choose will come down to your temperament, your appetite for risk, and your current understanding of how that type of gambling works. So, what do professional gamblers bet on? All kinds of things! Let’s look at each one by one.
Become a Professional Casino Player
We’ve got to be honest upfront – becoming a professional blackjack player or slots savant is not the best way to go about things. Most casino games, with very few exceptions, are down to pure luck. We’d rule out becoming a professional roulette player, or playing slots for a living, from the beginning. You’re 100% at the mercy of the casino and the whims of lady luck, and that’s no way to make a steady living, friend!
There are some skill-based casino games. For example, you can play blackjack for a living with a reasonable degree of success. That’s because the blackjack house edge is tiny if you play with a proper strategy. With an optimal blackjack strategy, the house edge can be as small as 0.5%. That still puts you at a slight disadvantage, though, even if it’s only a minor one.
If you have your mind made up on casino games, becoming a professional card player is the best option. Playing games like slots and scratch-offs will mean you have no control whatsoever.
Here are some casino games you might consider playing as a professional gambler along with their house edge and odds:
|Blackjack||0.5%||49.5% (player win), 50.5% (dealer win)|
|Roulette (American)||5.26%||47.4% (even/odd, red/black, high/low), 2.6% (single number)|
|Roulette (European)||2.7%||48.6% (even/odd, red/black, high/low), 2.7% (single number)|
|Baccarat (Banker bet)||1.06%||51% (banker win), 49% (player win)|
|Baccarat (Player bet)||1.24%||49% (banker win), 51% (player win)|
|Craps (Pass/Don’t Pass)||1.41%||49.3% (pass line), 50.7% (don’t pass line)|
|Craps (Come/Don’t Come)||1.41%||49.3% (come), 50.7% (don’t come)|
|Video Poker (Jacks or Better)||0.46%||45.5% (loss), 21.5% (1 pair), 25.8% (2 pairs), 6.5% (3 of a kind), 0.4% (straight), 0.3% (flush), 0.2% (full house), 0.1% (4 of a kind), 0.01% (straight flush), 0.002% (royal flush)|
|Slots (Average)||3-6%||Depends on the machine and payout table|
Become a Professional Sports Gambler
Successful gamblers know that they need as much control as possible. While there’s most definitely an element of chance in sports betting, you do have more control than you would when playing casino games for a living.
Gambling on sports is what we’d call half luck, half skill. There’s no accounting for freak events like Leister City winning the EPL. However, you can tap into your existing knowledge of certain sports to win more often than not. Our EPL tipster is a prime example of that – he would never be able to win the majority of his football bets by luck alone.
Pro sports bettors are rare, but they do exist. Millionaire sports bettor Billy Walters is an example. We’ll tell you more about how he succeeded below.
Of course, betting on sports for a living has its pros and cons.
One of the major advantages is the excitement involved. If you love sports, you can basically make a living doing what you love. You can jump around between football, horse racing, martial arts, tennis, golf, and any other sports you please. For some, that’s much more exciting and interesting than spinning the reels or flipping endless numbers of cards over.
One of the major disadvantages is that random events can happen, and you can get wiped out and go without any money for a while. You can go on a bad run of luck where your knowledge and skills just fail you, and you need to be able to weather these financial hard times until the storm passes.
Become a Professional Poker Player
If you have dreams of making your way to the WSOP, the good news is that you do have a better chance of becoming a professional poker player than almost any other form of gambling; just ask Amarillo Slim. That’s because poker is a game of skill. While there is most definitely an element of chance involved, you can compensate for bad luck with your poker skills.
What’s the earning potential? A professional poker player’s salary largely depends on what level he or she is playing at. It’s not even correct to call it a salary since the word salary implies something steady which you can depend on month after month. That’s not the case in poker – if you don’t finish in the money regularly, you’ll be broke, but that can all turn around with one big win. Some pro poker players do manage to score sponsorships for a steady paycheck, but you won’t be eligible for those until you enter the big leagues.
To become a professional poker player, you need to practice, practice, and practice some more. The great thing about this being a skill-based game is that every hand you play gets you closer to the goal of turning pro. You’re acquiring a skill, rather than just wasting time. We suggest reading all the books and poker articles you can and then applying what you learn in online poker tournaments. Of all the ways to become a professional gambler, turning pro at poker is among the most realistic. If you have an interest in or aptitude for it, we’d focus on this over sports betting or casino gaming.
Here’s a list of the most successful poker players in history and how much they’re worth. As you can see, the potential is insane.
|Rank||Player||WSOP Bracelets||Net Worth|
|1||Phil Hellmuth||15||$20 million|
|2||Johnny Chan||10||$10 million|
|3||Doyle Brunson||10||$75 million|
|4||Phil Ivey||10||$100 million|
|5||Johnny Moss||9||$5 million|
|6||Erik Seidel||8||$35 million|
|7||Daniel Negreanu||7||$50 million|
|8||Stu Ungar||5||$1 million|
|9||Chris Ferguson||5||$25 million|
|10||T.J. Cloutier||6||$10 million|
Become a Professional Financial Trader
Don’t let anyone tell you that gambling for a living is a fool’s game. Just tell them to ask George Soros or any of the other multi-millionaire financial traders, and ask them why the world’s biggest banks have entire floors filled with professional financial traders. Financial betting is serious business, and if you have the desire to learn and study, there are ways to make money at it.
Financial traders attempt to predict the future price of stocks, commodities, and other assets. They bet against other traders, so there’s no house advantage. Each trade is a zero-sum game – someone wins, and someone loses, so it’s a lot like peer-to-peer betting.
Becoming a professional gambler in the financial markets is not like other forms of gambling. That’s because there is not much luck involved – it’s all about having experience, discipline, and intuition for what’s going to happen next. With proper risk management strategies, you can make sure that your wins (when they occur) are always bigger than the sum total of your losses. This means that you only have to be able to survive financially until an inevitable win comes.
We’d almost go as far as to say that financial trading isn’t really gambling in the strictest sense of the word, but at the end of the day, you’re risking money in the hope of walking away with more, so it does fit the definition of gambling for our purposes.
Successful Gamblers Stories
There are plenty of successful gamblers out there, and to be frank, most of them keep it quiet. They want to keep their financial business to themselves, and they don’t want people pestering them 24/7 with questions about strategies, or begging them for cash. Yet, there are some famous professional gamblers, so we decided to pick three of them and share their stories with you. They can serve as inspiration, and if you read more about them, you might learn a thing or two about how to be a professional gambler yourself.
We said above that playing poker for a living was one of the more realistic options for becoming a professional gambler, and this man is living proof. At the time of writing, he has earned well over $20 million as a pro poker player.
Nicknamed ‘The Magician,’ Esfandiari has won three WSOP bracelets and has won the World Poker Tour twice. He also holds the record for winning the largest poker pot in history – a cool $18,346,673.
Esfandiari has a colourful life story aside from being a professional gambler. He grew up in Iran, moved to California when he was nine, and went to jail for selling marijuana not long after graduating from high-school. After a brief stint as a magician, he began playing poker and eventually founded the poker website Ultimate Poker. This poker legend is an inspiring example of how everyday people can become pro poker players with enough dedication and skill.
Not many pro sports bettors can claim a winning streak which lasted more than 30 years, but the legendary Billy Walters can. Walters grew up poor in rural Kentucky, but quickly amassed a fortune worth millions of dollars based on exploiting roulette and betting on sports professionally. He’s a professional gambler that struck so much fear into bookies that he had to employ teams of runners to place his bets.
Waters started young – he began gambling when he was nine years old. He claims that by the time he was in his early twenties, he had lost $50,000, which in the 80s was a LOT of dough. He also claims he once lost his house, but that the winner let him pay him off in cash instead.
Walters didn’t let any of this deter him. He kept gambling, kept learning, and eventually turned to professional sports betting. He joined the Computer Group, which uses computing power to analyze sports betting stats, and in a thirty-year sports betting career, he lost only once. His biggest score was $3.5 million on the New Orleans Saints to win Superbowl XLIV. Walters was so successful that he had to use runners to place his bets because most bookies were so afraid of him that they wouldn’t accept his bets.
So, can you become a professional sports gambler? Just ask Billy Walters. Sadly, you’ll have to write to him in prison, because he got involved in the financial markets and was put away for five years on insider trading charges in 2017. To learn more about his epic Superbowl bet, scroll back up and watch the video above.
George Soros is so successful that he once broke the Bank of England, and has been blamed for causing a multitude of financial crises all over the world. He’s a professional gambler of the financial variety. This man built himself up from being a poverty-stricken Hungarian immigrant to one of the richest men in the world, and he did it all as a professional gambler in the financial markets. It’s estimated that Soros has a personal net worth exceeding $11 billion today.
How did he do it? He left Hungary to study economics at the London School of Economics, and after getting his degree, he started trading the financial markets. After a little while, he moved to NYC, and before long, he was running his own trading firm. Investors gave Soros money hand over fist because of his spectacular returns, and his offshore hedge fund named the Quantum Fund is one of the most successful of all time.
Soros is obviously at the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to successful financial traders. Only one in a million can ever hope to reach this level, but it is possible if you have the gift. Most wannabe professional gamblers would be happy with 0.1% of this man’s success, which would still make you rich to the tune of tens of millions.
The Richest Professional Gamblers of All Time
|Gambler||Estimated Net Worth|
|Bill Benter||$1 billion+|
|Edward Thorp||$800 million+|
|Zeljko Ranogajec||$600 million+|
|Phil Ivey||$100 million+|
|Billy Walters||$100 million+|
|Chris Ferguson||$80 million+|
|Doyle Brunson||$75 million+|
|Daniel Negreanu||$50 million+|
|Erik Seidel||$40 million+|
Professional Gambler Tips
By now, you should have an idea of the pros and cons of gambling for a living in the different disciplines. Hopefully, you’ve realized that casino games don’t give you much of a chance and that either playing poker, betting on sports, or trading financials are your best bets.
Whatever you decide to do, there are five professional gambling tips which will help you make a decision and succeed more often.
- There’s no such thing as a professional gambler salary for the majority of players. You might land a sponsorship if you start playing poker at a high level, but it’s not likely for most people. Make sure you have enough set aside to weather losing streaks and rough patches financially, especially in the beginning.
- Try the different gambling disciplines to find out which one you have a knack for. They all involve different levels of risk and will appeal to different interests. If you’re obsessed with sports and the financial markets bore you to tears, that should tell you something about where your natural talents might lie. To succeed at anything, you need to have an interest in it.
- Being a professional gambler is all about effective risk management. It’s as much about not losing as it is about winning. It’s better to grind out a slow and steady living by gaming the odds than it is to be flush one week and sleeping on your friends couch the next. Be strategic, never risk more than 1% of your total capital on any bet or trade, and as any professional gambler will tell you – listen to your gut! If you have a bad feeling, walk away, and live to bet another day.
- A professional gambler tax will apply to wins in some countries. We don’t know where you are reading from, but we know it does exist in many countries, even where normal gambling wins are tax-free. Once you turn pro, it’s considered your primary source of income.
- It may be best to try your luck as a professional gambler while keeping your day job. For example, you could work 9-5 and gamble from 7-11 every evening online. When your income from gambling exceeds what you need to pay your bills, that could be the right time to make the switch into gambling full-time. This way, you’ll have time to build your skillset, and you’ll have a good idea if this is financially viable after a few months.
Becoming a Professional Gambler – Conclusion
Now you know how to become a professional gambler, the question is, are you going to do it? We don’t recommend taking reckless risks, so even if you hate your job and can’t wait to escape to a life of gambling and travelling, we advise you to take your time and test the waters first, especially if you don’t have much experience.
Being a pro gambler has its pros and cons. If you succeed, you’ll have lots of freedom, potentially will get rich, and might even become famous. If you don’t succeed, you’ll have a miserable life of financial ups and downs, will be stressed, and might end up in debt if you push your luck too far. Take your time, try it part-time with your disposable income, and built those skills before you go pro. That’s the best advice we can give you!
Greg has been an avid gambler for over 15 years. He loves slot machines and betting on football. He’s been writing on the subject for close to a decade now and knows everything there is to know about video slots, jackpots, and slot sites in general! He has been writing for GamblersPro.com for over five years now.