Misconceptions About Poker Professionals

A person picks up a stack of chips on a poker table.

Poker is one of the world’s favorite games of intrigue and excitement. High-stakes games and the lifestyles of top players have captivated the public’s imagination in recent years, but some of those perceptions are based on outdated stereotypes that often paint players in a negative, undeserved light. 

In reality, players who compete in the world’s top poker tournaments come from many different backgrounds and the truth is more nuanced than these misconceptions suggest. These players are often highly disciplined and strategic, driven and motivated, but they’re also just people trying to get by at the end of the day.

So, how did these misconceptions come about and why are they no longer relevant in the modern age? Let’s shed some light on the realities of life as a professional player and explore some of the most common misconceptions you may come across.

Change and Progress

Today’s pros are a far cry from those of the past. In the early days of the game, in particular, poker was mainly viewed as a form of entertainment instead of a serious career option. The players who excelled at the game didn’t make enough money to make it worth quitting their jobs and switching careers, but it didn’t take too long for that mentality to change.

As the game grew and became more popular over time, so too did the opportunities for players to make a living from playing. The 1970s eventually saw the rise of the first professional poker players, who were able to live comfortably off the winnings they received when competing in sponsored tournaments.

Nowadays, with the rise of online casinos, you can play online poker from anywhere in the world against players who could be thousands of miles away. The game has become a thriving career option for many players. A top professional poker player’s salary can reach millions of dollars per year thanks to prize money, sponsorships and endorsements.

If you play Texas Hold’em poker online, you may know that they’re the most popular variant by far, with millions of players competing across multiple betting sites. Players from all backgrounds and walks of life compete at the highest levels, so it’s entirely unfair to judge them all with broad strokes. Speaking of judgments, here are three of the most common misconceptions regarding poker professionals. 

1. Luck Is the Only Important Factor

A croupier reveals the community cards to players at a poker table.

Many people unfamiliar with poker believe it’s nothing more than a game of chance, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While luck does play a role in any game of chance, poker requires strategies that extend beyond random odds. The random nature of card draws is what makes the game exciting, but you need skills and talent to make the most of luck when you play poker, online or in person.

Achieving consistent success as a pro requires a combination of skill, strategy, luck and discipline. You have to be willing to spend countless hours studying the game, analyzing your opponents and developing life skills that give you an edge at the table. You also have to understand probabilities and psychology, know how to take calculated risks and manage your bankroll effectively. 

Professional players work tirelessly to develop a productive schedule and winning habits and saying that their efforts all boil down to being lucky is patently false. It takes hard work and dedication to perform in any competitive scenario (and there’s no doubt that poker can get extremely competitive.)

2. Habitual Liars Excel at the Game

Believing that liars excel at poker is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the game. Bluffing is an important part of the game, but it’s not the only factor that determines success. Skilled players understand that it’s a tool that has to be used wisely to inform your decisions and outmaneuver your opponents.

A good player is able to read their opponents’ behavior and adjust their strategy accordingly, regardless of whether or not buffing’s involved. They use their understanding of human nature to their advantage, with no intention of deceiving anyone in a harmful way.

Skilled players understand that their reputation and integrity are important; they’re careful not to engage in behavior that could be seen as unethical or dishonest. And while bluffing may involve some deception, it’s not the same as lying or engaging in unethical behavior.

3. Only Men Play Poker

 A person with manicured nails holds up a poker chip and two aces.

Once upon a time, this misconception rang true. Historically, poker has been a male-dominated game throughout most of its existence, but the good news is that change is happening rapidly and a growing number of talented female players are involved in the game at every level.

There are many successful female poker players, like Vanessa Selbst, Liv Boeree and Maria Konnikova. These women have won major tournaments and earned millions of dollars in prize money, demonstrating that gender makes no difference to the outcome of a poker game. 

To speed things up and keep progress moving at a healthy pace, some organizers hold female-only tournaments and events, encouraging more women to get involved in the game in an environment where they feel comfortable enough to learn basic poker strategy and gain experience.

Get Your Poker Career Off to a Flying Start With Borgata Online

Thinking of becoming a professional player? Before you go hunting for further online poker tips, register with Borgata Online to get yourself off to the best possible start, including exclusive rewards and sign-up bonuses, extensive sports betting options and all the Texas Hold’em games you need to perfect your poker skills.