Can You Be a Professional Gambler?

professional gambler

The vast majority of you see gambling as a bit of fun or a side hustle but there are a select few that actually do it professionally. For punters who win semi-regularly or hit jackpot wins, there might always be a temptation to try it. In most cases it would be foolish as professional gambling is just as challenging as other “jobs”. We’ve recently been asked the question “can you be a professional gambler”. So, in this article, we’re going to answer the questions by giving an in depth look at what it takes to be a professional gambler, highlight some benefits and also show the disadvantages too.

The Necessary Skills & Resources

Becoming a professional gambler doesn’t happen overnight or by chance. There are plenty of strengths a full-time pro will need to be successful. We’ve narrowed our list down to five key skills or resources that a gambler must possess.


One of the most important skills requirements is a good temperament. Even if you’re the best poker player in the room, there is no guarantee you will win your next session. Having a sound temperament is essential to being consistent and making the right decisions for the long-term. In our experience, this attribute is very rare. Most gamblers mindsets are heavily swayed by the most recent results or outside influences.


Discipline is another necessity for professional gamblers. The discipline lies in playing the right stakes, not moving up too quickly, resisting games where there is no edge. Even avoiding alcohol when going to the casino. All these examples help a gamblers’ chances as they are treating gambling as a business, not entertainment like 99% of people.

Game Selection

This is a concept lost on the social gambler. They will go from one game to another, losing here and there without mastering any. This is anathema to a pro who carefully picks and chooses which games are right to play. A pro is more likely to stick to games where there is more skill input e.g. poker or blackjack. A professional won’t play slots 9-5 as they know the house edge is massive.  


Getting advice from likeminded successful gamblers and researching games and strategy is critical too. Like anything worth doing well, seeking advice from the best will only enhance your chances. For instance, if you are considering mastering sports betting, speaking with the best tipsters regularly will enhance your ability to find profitable betting strategy. You can find some offering free service plays on reputable sports betting forums.


Accountability and keeping accurate records are a vital resource to a full time professional. One needs to track everything so they know how many hours they played, what their wins and losses are and how they are doing overall. Without detailed records and understanding your ROI you are just aimlessly gambling.

poker spreadsheet

Advantages of a Professional Gambler  

The most obvious advantage to being a professional gambler is the ability to pick and choose when you work. Unlike a regular day job, you can wake up later in the day. You can have Monday off if you want. It’s up to you. This level of freedom is unheard of in most walks of life and undoubtedly one of the big perks of living the life of a professional gambler.

In many countries around the world, winnings from gambling is tax free. This is the case in the United Kingdom and a huge advantage to anyone who gambles for a living. In a regular job, a £1,000 bonus might be worth £668 after taxes or less if you have student loans or in a higher tax bracket. In gambling, you keep the entire £1,000, worth more than £332 than in a normal job. When you compare hourly rates, you should look at post-tax to compare with a professional gambler to really see the value to the individual.

Finally, the general freedom you have is certainly a benefit. You’re able to go on holiday whenever you want. You can also access games from anywhere. A professional gambler in 2020s doesn’t need to travel cross country to a casino to play. They can jump into a game in seconds through their phone or laptop.

Disadvantages of a Professional Gambler

Gambling for a living isn’t all luxury. There are several important disadvantages to the gamblers lifestyle that must be addressed before one even considers going professional.

An unpredictable and uncertain income is probably the largest disadvantage. In our regular jobs, we can comfortably forecast, plan and predict our future. This is essential to anyone who is in a relationship, has a family or just likes to know what is round the corner. For a professional gambler, it’s very difficult to look far into to the future.

Another disadvantage is the external societal aspect. A professional gambler cannot get a mortgage, a house must be paid for in cash. A rent tenancy must be paid for in full (e.g. 6 months or yearly). In UK, we have the national insurance system whereby paying in for decades entitles us to a state pension. So, a professional gambler loses the massive benefits this has too.

The lifestyle of a gambler is unsociable. That may seem contradictory as gamblers are generally playing on the nights at weekends, right? Well, that is anti-social when it comes spending time with friends and family. If you’re using time to gamble when your friends and family are free, you are unlikely to spend much time with them. After all, your partner is likely to work weekdays and your children will be at school. This is a heavy burden to put on those around you.

Finally, the motivational and mental aspects of professional gambling can be a downer too. How will you react when you are on a losing streak? Will it impact your decision making or your mood away from the tables? If so, you should think twice. The motivation to keep gambling and striving to do better is also a large obstacle for professionals. Even when you’re winning regularly, gambling can be demotivating and seem like a regular job at times. If it’s like a job, you may as well get one as the sacrifices for professional gambling are numerous and weighty.


Clearly, professional gambling is not something to go into lightly. It’s something for a very select few that have a strong mentality, a desire to learn, disciplined with temperament and accountable. A successful professional need all these traits to do well. We believe even lacking in one area could destroy your chances. For most of you, playing for fun and entertainment is going to be the right call. Just remember to gamble responsibly and stick to games you know well.  

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Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: