Can You Gamble Online for a Living?


Gambling Online for a Living

Ever wonder whether you have what it takes to gamble online professionally? If you love playing poker, blackjack, and other games online, it probably is something which has crossed your mind at one point or other.

The reality however is that very few gamblers ever manage to play professionally. The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey reports that pro gamblers consist of only half of one percent of the entire gambling population. There is no concrete data on exactly how many people this likely constitutes, but most estimates range between 100,000-700,000 people in the USA. This includes online casino gamblers as well as sports bettors—and mostly the latter.

So do you have what it takes to gamble professionally online and pull in a solid part-time or full-time income?

Following is a list of what you need to do to succeed.

  1. Pick a great casino—or several.
  2. Choose games to play where you can actually get an edge.
  3. Build up your bankroll.
  4. Keep your stake sizes reasonable.
  5. Hone your strategies.
  6. Download tracking software as needed.
  7. Work on skills like memory, executive function, and decision-making.
  8. Have the right mindset for success.
  9. Keep solid records.

Let’s take a closer look!

1. Pick a Great Casino, or Several.

Your very first step is to pick the right place(s) to gamble. For this, I recommend turning to our reviews.

Why should this be the first step you take towards making a living as a gambler online? Well, it hardly matters if you are great at what you do if there is no way for you to collect your winnings. Sadly, there are a lot of online casinos which are not really legitimate businesses, and are out to scam their customers.

There are also quite a few casinos online that are valid businesses, but have such high fees and turnover requirements as to make it difficult to withdraw your winnings.

We have screened the online casinos that we recommend according to a number of criteria. Our recommended casinos have excellent bonus and promotions programs, low fees, and a wide selection of games to play. Their software is reliable, and their customer service is equally so.

2. Choose Games to Play Where You Can Actually Get an Edge.

After you have selected the right venue, your next step is to choose games to play which you can actually win time and again. This means staying away from games such as slot machines and keno, no matter how fun they are and no matter how tempting their jackpots might be. Games like these have a high house edge and force you to rely entirely on luck.

Some examples of games which you could potentially play professionally include blackjack, table poker, and video poker. None of these games are easy to make a living with, but it is feasible.

It is probably best to concentrate on just one or two games in the beginning. You know the old bromide, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” When it comes to developing expertise with something like poker or blackjack, it does apply. Some lessons do translate across games, but it is so hard to develop pro-level expertise without focusing closely on just one.

3. Build Up Your Bankroll.

While it is nice to think that all you would need to make a living gambling online is the will to succeed and some good strategies on your side, there are a couple of other resources you requires well: time and money.

As far as time goes, you will probably feel like you are juggling two full-time jobs at once if you are learning how to gamble professionally while working a day job.

Still, it is important to hold on to that day job. Remember the statistics that I shared with you earlier; very few gamblers ever go on to become professionals. If you are going to be one of them, you need to start out with stability and a steady income. Your day job is the key to funding your bankroll.

How can you find the time to balance both jobs simultaneously? There is no easy answer to this question— it is one of the reasons why so few would-be gambling professionals actually succeed. It is also one of the many reasons why you will need great patience.

4. Keep Your Stake Sizes Reasonable.

The next thing you will need is financial discipline in the form of a money management plan with conservative stake sizes.

Nobody succeeds at gambling for a living by “risking it all” on one big game. It may look dramatic in a Hollywood blockbuster, but it does not work in real life.

Whatever approach you take, the most important thing is that you have logical rules set up, and that you follow them. This will prevent you from losing it all on one foolish bet.

5. Hone Your Strategies.


The next thing you will need is one or more strategies that you can rely on to help you win the casino games you have chosen to play. The only way that you can know that you have reliable strategies is to test them on your own— not just rely on what other people have told you. You will also need to practice them to put them into action effectively.

Thankfully, this is an easy proposition online. Most online casinos give you the choice to play for real or play for free. A lot of gamblers skip the free play option because they think that it cannot profit them. They are impatient, and want to get right to putting down stakes.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, practicing without risking real money is one of the most profitable decisions that you can make. This comes back to the need for patience that I mentioned earlier. Even though you will not be making money while you practice, you will not be losing it either.

During this time, you can save more and more money to fund your bankroll. Once you have mastered your strategies and proven it through practice, you will be ready to gamble for real. Practicing for free does not mean you will not encounter hitches along the way, but it will reduce them to a minimum, maximizing your profits instead.

6. Download Tracking Software as Needed.

Next, depending on the game you are playing, you may need to download some additional software to help you track your history. This is particularly true if you choose a table game like poker where you will be facing numerous anonymous opponents throughout the day.

Keeping track of these opponents and your experiences with them can be next to impossible without assistance. But with poker tracking software, you have a computer program to do it for you and present you with useful analysis. That analysis can help you make more efficient decisions when you face those opponents in the future. Most of your opponents probably already use this kind of software.

7. Work on Skills Like Memory, Executive Function, and Decision Making.


Along the way, as you work on your game strategies and money management skills, there are some general skills and abilities you will need to work on cultivating.

In general, most forms of gambling require you to excel in areas like executive function, memory, and swift decision-making. The exact set of skills you need will vary from one game to the next.

Gambling online however is a fast-paced job. This is true even if you pick a game which is traditionally slower in pace at a land-based casino, like table poker. Online poker flies by, and you might end up getting into multi-tabling, which means you could be juggling numerous decisions within a short time span.

As to a game like video poker, you will be making decisions at lightning speed, because you need to play around 1,000-1,500 hands per hour to earn a decent living.

Gambling regularly will help you to develop these skills, but you may want to look into other exercises you can do to improve these abilities. Without them, you cannot hope to succeed, even if you have a solid grasp on strategies and techniques.

What do you do if you cannot handle the pace of online gambling every day, but you do feel like you could gamble for a living under different conditions? One alternate plan might be to use online gambling to win entries into offline tournaments. So you could for example play poker satellite tournaments online (the stakes are often quite modest), and then play for big money at offline tournaments.

8. Have the Right Mindset for Success.

On a similar note, just as there are certain cerebral skills you need to develop to do well gambling online, you also need to cultivate certain overall attributes for a successful gambling mindset. Some examples include:

  • Discipline
  • Commitment
  • Grit
  • Equanimity
  • Extreme patience
  • Focus
  • Self-awareness

Many of these traits have an emotional component as well. The good news is that nobody is born excelling at all of these. They are trainable, and if you are committed to going the distance, you can do it.

9. Keep Solid Records.


Finally, one more thing which is absolutely essential if you want to make a living gambling is keeping spectacular records. I am referring here not just to records of your gambling decisions and game outcomes, but also of your finances.

Why? There are certain occupations that the IRS pays extra close attention to, and you can be sure that professional gambling is one of them. Your audit risk is higher than average, and that means you need to be ready to prove your income or expenses.

So whether you do your taxes on your own or you hire a professional tax preparer, stay closely involved every step of the way. Hang onto your receipts, log your expenses, and understand the tax codes as they pertain to your business. Log your winnings accurately, and make sure every penny is accounted for.

Gambling Online for a Living Is Harder Than It Sounds, But It Is a Rewarding Path

In the grand scheme of things, very few gamblers will ever succeed at actually becoming professionals. That is true both online and offline. But if you can make it happen, the rewards are well worth the struggle. You will gain autonomy, which means you will be able to make decisions about your own life and how you schedule your work. You will become your own boss, and be able to spend more time at home with your loved ones.

Over time, you could also end up accruing quite a bit of wealth. This gives you the chance to live comfortably and share your fortunes with others.

So if you think you have what it takes to gamble professionally online, take a look at our casino reviews and sign up for a few accounts. Be patient and stay focused. With commitment and a bit of luck on your side, you could just become one of the professional gambling elites!

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