What steps can I take to become a live tournament pro?

PokerPascPokerPasc BelgiumRed Chipper Posts: 24 ✭✭
How realistic is it to make a living from playing live tournaments?

I assume I will be travelling a lot to be able to play big enough tournaments?

If only playing live tournaments is not providing enough $$, what options are there to make money on the side?
- Giving lessons
- Sponsoring
- Playing online
- Playing cash games
- ?

I'm currently playing small tournaments, doing really great. Starting to build a nice bankroll and working my way into a few larger tournaments.

I realize this road is going to take a long time, I just want to start preparing and setting a direction!

Any tips and advice is welcome!

Best Answer


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 3,399 -
    This is one of those good news/bad news deals.

    The good news. Compared to cash games, tournaments have a far higher percentage of truly inept players. By developing sound fundamentals and understanding how strategy changes with stack depth and the stage of the tournament, you can easily become part of the top 10% in skill in tournaments up to at least $400 buy-in.

    The bad news. Nothing can produce a bigger bankroll downswing than playing exclusively tournaments. Additionally, tournament juice is high in most places. So depending on how you want to approach this, it's typically necessary to have a considerable bankroll and/or get backing. Despite the fact that I've often been backed in tournaments, I don't recommend it if you can avoid it. All you do is cut your hourly and the sword of Damocles of getting buried in make-up is always hanging over you.

    Since you ask exclusively about live tournaments, I'm assuming you don't have access to online ones which have huge advantages like the ability to multi-table and low juice. Both mean bankroll requirements are much lower. Until you have a *lot* of money/backing, traveling to tournaments eats into profits and is only viable if you're planning on playing pretty big buy-ins. If you like traveling and have cash now I'd recommend coming out to Vegas during the WSOP and playing as many medium buy-in (~$400) tournaments as fits your stamina and bankroll at venues other than the WSOP itself, assuming your tournament theory is sufficiently solid. If it isn't, work on it.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • PokerPascPokerPasc BelgiumRed Chipper Posts: 24 ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    I've heard the opposite being said, that high buy-in tournaments are becoming harder and harder to win.

    I do have access to online games and live cash games, I just enjoy live tournaments way more.

    I currently do not have the bankroll to play $400 tournaments.
    I'm still working on my fundamentals as well, though I think they're a bit (or a lot) better than most of the other players in my player pool.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 3,399 -
    I guess it depends on what high buy-in means, and I haven't played in Europe for a very long time, but in Vegas at least $400 buy-ins are still pretty soft.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • PokerPascPokerPasc BelgiumRed Chipper Posts: 24 ✭✭
    Are there enough of those to play them for a living though?
    I could also mix in some cash games, teaching, ...

    My goal is definitely to play in the big televised tournaments eventually, but they don't need to be my main source of income.
  • PokerPascPokerPasc BelgiumRed Chipper Posts: 24 ✭✭
    Cool, thanks for the replies!
    Are you, or do you know anyone who plays them for a living? Would love to talk to some of them!
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 3,399 -
    I haven't played tournaments exclusively for a living for about a decade and then it was mostly online. Live I've always mixed in some cash games. Some of the coaches here are tournament pros, I just dust the shelves and make the sandwiches.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 2,313 ✭✭✭✭
    Hard to justify being a coach if you haven't any coaching book/videos and/or consequent result to present

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