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The UK is famous for its avid best place to play live poker in london ample betting men in the country.
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The first thing my come or bet place bet craps asked when I told her that I've quit my job and plan to play poker for a living was, "That's gambling, right?
It is a skill game," was enough to put her mind at ease.
But it takes a lot more than that to convince the skeptics.
This post will try and explain that about poker.
It will be a detailed breakdown of why I chose this profession, how the daily life of a poker player looks like and if this is something you should get into.
Not all sections will be relevant to all the three groups; pick the ones you like.
WHAT IS POKER AND ITS LEGAL STATUS Poker is a card-based skill game that involves exchange of money.
It has many variants and the most popular one is called Texas No-limit Hold'em, which is what I play.
When most people say poker, this is what they mean.
Other variations include Pot-Limit Omaha, Razz, Open Face Chinese etc.
The poker sites and rooms make money by charging rake.
Rake is a percentage of every pot that is taken away - you can imagine it as a commission fees.
It is usually anywhere from 2.
Most poker variations are played in two formats: Cash Games and Tournaments.
Cash games is where you show up with as much money you want upto the maximum buy-inand play with that.
The stakes are fixed and are rarely increased as the game goes on.
In tournaments, everyone starts with the same amount of playing chips.
As the game progresses, players are eliminated, and at the end a small percentage get the money, while the rest go empty handed.
For example, in the last tournament I played, everyone paid Best place to play live poker in london />The guy who got eliminated at the 30th place got Rs.
The legal status of poker varies in different countries.
In some places, online poker is banned, while live poker in casinos is allowed.
For example, Las Vegas is the mecca of poker players but online poker is banned in the US save for a few states.
Then there are places like London, where both live and online best place to play live poker in london thrive.
In India, online poker is legal.
Live poker is legal in casinos or poker rooms in select few places - Goa, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Gangtok.
Indian government treats poker under its gambling laws and a tax of flat 30% is applicable on your winnings.
I think I may not have told my mom the complete truth.
By definition, to gamble is to play games of chance for money.
Technically, this makes poker gambling.
But the real answer is neither as straightforward, nor is it binary.
Here's best place to play live poker in london I'll tell you - Poker is a skill based game with an element of luck.
Given a long enough duration which we poker players call long-termthe better player will win against a worse player.
The betting odds are 1:1.
This means that for every flip you win, your friend gives you Rs.
If the coin is not rigged, you can expect to win exactly Rs.
The probability of Heads on a coin flip is 50%; half the time you'll win 10 bucks per flip and lose 10 per flip the other half.
Your expected value EV from this game is 0.
But here's the thing: Each coin toss is an individual event.
The coin itself doesn't know what it showed last time - Heads or Tails.
Each individual outcome is independent of the previous one.
So it is also possible that 70 out of 100 flips or even all 100 of them!
An unlucky day at the coin flip tournament.
Hit by statistical probability.
The coin flip follows the laws of probability and statistics but it is not bound by the sample size.
This is called variance - deviation from the norm, from our expected results.
In poker, just like a coin flip, each individual hand is different from the other and is independent of the previous outcome.
In a coin flip, if we go long-term, by increasing the sample size to say a billion flips, the distribution should be equally weighted between Heads and Tails.
Similarly, if two poker players play each other a billion hands, they can expect to get the same cards and situations equally.
This is where poker differs from a coin flip or any other purely probabilistic game.
You'll be dealt winning hands, and losing hands.
The aim then is to extract the most value from your winning hands and minimise losses from your losing hands.
This is called MinMax.
Minimise losses - Maximise winnings.
It might also mean bluffing your opponent off of a better hand - in this case you are making money even when you have the losing hand.
How do we do that?
This is what separates good players best place to play live poker in london bad.
And where the skill comes in.
So if an amateur wins against a better player click the following article days in a row, it is variance.
But, if this happens over a year, then our presumptions about who is a better player are wrong.
MY BEGINNINGS Just like most people I know who play poker, I was introduced to the game in college.
As broke college students, we didn't play for a lot of money - 100 bucks at max.
The big winner would then take everyone out to the canteen for a treat.
The setup was quite rudimentary.
The games continued when I started working, this time with proper chips.
Stakes increased, nothing excessive, but reasonably higher than before.
Poker nights became a thing.
The biggest game I played was in the casinos in Goa.
But it was just a handful of times as an amateur.
And that was that.
Then in 2016, I got into it a lot more.
I had money and time to spend.
There were no obligations house, car, family, loans so I could afford an expensive hobby - and that's what it was at the time.
I started playing a lot of home games and discovered - a poker site.
Here we'll take a quick leap across time to read article back into the past - to a 13-14 year old me: I was playing a lot of sports at the time and was competent at most.
If two captains were choosing a team, I would be one of the early ones to get picked.
And I entertained the dream of becoming a professional sportsperson.
But, it was an expensive game; the hourly rates were prohibitively high for me.
Around the same time, I had a serious injury which rendered me unable to play sports for a few years.
So, the dream had to be put aside.
Coming to the recent past, during my college days, I picked up Snooker excellent poker at its best this the hourly rates were ridiculously low.
But it was players for free best game us sites poker a hobby; a very time-consuming, entertaining and fulfilling hobby.
It was too late to think about becoming a professional snooker player.
To become world-class at any sport, you have to start young.
Ronnie o' Sullivan, my snooker hero, and quite possibly the most talented snooker player in history, started playing at the age of 6.
The point of these two stories is to tell you that playing a sport professionally would have been a dream come true for me.
Cut back to the present and we see that I have discovered poker websites.
A bulb lit up.
What if I could do this for a living?
This was also at a time when I was thinking of quitting my job and finding a new location-independent income stream.
I wrote about this in an earlier post.
Playing online poker seemed to fit the bill.
So, I decided to give it a shot.
And by the time I quit my job in December 2015, I was on my path to make poker my profession.
THE JOURNEY THUS FAR The first few months of grinding that's our term for playing poker as a job were difficult.
The most common fallacy among poker players, especially amateurs, is that they believe themselves to be much better than they actually are.
I wasn't immune to it either.
When I started, I thought I knew what the game was, I had my moves, and felt that my opponents are doing stupid things and getting lucky.
Of course it wasn't true, but in a state of mind clouded by the haze of bad results, it's difficult to recognize it in real time.
And I lost a bit of money.
Losing money wasn't the problem.
It was in a sense that I had limited savings to experiment this new income stream with.
But the real problem was that I didn't know what I was doing wrong.
I had assumed that poker was a simple game.
The simple fact that I was playing such varied stakes goes to show how bad of a poker professional I was.
This is not the way to play.
You have to find a stake you are good at, beat that level, and then move to the next one.
After the first few months of losing mostly online, some live home games for funI started spending more time on learning the game.
I read articles, watched YouTube lessons, read books and discussed strategy with a friend who was a better player than me at the time.
Sidenote 2: Staking - Here's how it works: a person gives you money to play poker and you share the winnings with that person.
The benefit to the investor is that he gets to make money without expending any effort with a risk of loss.
The exact terms of the deal % winnings and % loss shared depend upon the two individuals.
Sidenote 3: Running good means falling on the positive side of statistical distribution.
In our coin flip example, where you lost 70 flips out of 100, you would be said to be running bad, and your opponent would be running good.
By this time I was turning in a regular profit.
Hence, with the new found belief that I can make poker my profession, I relocated to Goa.
PITFALLS ALONG THE JOURNEY Poker is an emotionally challenging game.
In poker, there are situations where you are a percentage favorite say 99% to win the hand, you made the best play, but the last card comes out to be one of the 1% times when you lose.
The solace that a good poker professional seeks in such situations is in knowing that he made the best play.
But here's the problem: You cannot expect that the 1% will occur every 99 times.
It is a possibility that it happens twice or thrice or any number of times in a row.
Emotions click here over and you start questioning your game play and basically become a wreck.
In such situations, having the emotional stability to look beyond the immediate results, is the hallmark of a great poker player.
And it takes time to develop.
It certainly took me a lot of time to improve at.
If you are not emotionally detached to the immediate results, this run-bad will cause you to play worse and it becomes a vicious cycle.
It pushed me to the verge of quitting a few times.
This leads perfectly to our next section - the skills needed to become a professional poker player.
SKILLS NEEDED In my experience so far, here is my top 4 list: 1.
Focus - It is not uncommon for an online poker session to be 12 hours long.
Live poker sessions can even go on for days.
My last tournament started at 7 p.
The ability to focus deeply for an extended period of time thus becomes a critical skill to succeed.
If you are easily distracted, this is probably not for you.
Discipline - Let's be real money play site poker best to, Poker is a little bit like gambling.
It is easy to be running good and perceive yourself as being a great player and take shots at higher stakes.
The ability to play within your Bankroll We'll explore this concept later and have the discipline to put in regular hours of studying is thus vital.
Analytical Mind - A lot of poker players have a background in strategy games like chess or video games.
This is not to say that it is a necessity to be a good chess player, but the ability to break things down to basics is a huge plus.
Emotional Stability - As we learnt in the pitfalls during my journey, even during a run bad, you should have the emotional stability to look past the trees and see the forest.
Decisions in poker are based on the expected value of an action.
Even though you might lose in a particular instance, being able to commend yourself for making the right play is a good best place to play live poker in london />A lot of poker players, including myself, work on their mental game extensively.
It is a big part of the profession and there are coaches who work with you just for that.
To lose money and still be able to have a sound sleep, and function normally in your relationships and daily life read article a skill that needs to be developed.
How many months in a year can you expect to be in profit?
You can have more losing months in a year yet still end up net positive for the year and vice versa.
This is especially true for tournament players for whom a big score usually skews the results of one month or sometimes a whole year.
But I am a cash game player, and even though a downswing of one month isn't unheard of and not un-experienced eitherI have had more positive months over the last 12 months than negative.
Here's a graph of my cummulative results the numbers aren't there, but the trajectory is true.
How much can you expect to make?
Simple Answer - Good amount of money.
If you: study enough, select good games, play your A-game a big % of the time, run well and a whole lot of other factors.
So if you play 1000 hands in a day, 20 days a month, and you make Rs.
A winrate of 12.
How much money do you need to start playing poker?
Simple Answer - The games are available at all stakes starting as low as for Rs.
If your question was how much you need to be able to make this a living, then the answer would be you need enough to survive the inevitable downswing without punching your monitor.
Complicated Answer - This is the part best place to play live poker in london most people fail, even some pros: Bankroll Management BRM.
Bankroll is the amount of money you have.
As a poker player, you need to have two BRs - life bankroll and poker bankroll.
BRM is a way to manage your poker bankroll in such a way that it minimises the effects of negative variance.
If you are a true professional, this is one of the key areas which you would have to master.
I have been guilty of misusing my bankroll at times, and it has come back to bite me in the ass.
Let's say you have Rs.
Good BRM would tell you that former is the game to choose.
In latter case, best place to play live poker in london have a 5 buy-in cushion.
But, that's not enough to handle the inevitable downswing.
What if your 99% hands lose against 1% hands 5 times in a row?
You will end up broke.
Personally, I have experienced a downswing of 10-15 buy-ins.
I have read stories of people experiencing 40 buy-ins downswings too.
And they were not bad players.
As a rule of thumb, on a conservative side, I'd recommend a bankroll of 100 buy-ins.
I don't always follow this rule, I wish I did, but do as I say, not as I best place to play live poker in london />A more practical approach would be to play with a 40-60 buy-in bankroll.
But anything below this would be inviting trouble.
If you don't have that much money, drop down the stakes, build your bankroll and then move up.
A bad beat doesn't care about the stake you are playing.
It doesn't care that you are playing well and have just made good winnings on a lower level and are now taking a shot at a higher level.
It cares only about statistics and probability.
It might strike you the hardest when you are taking shot at a higher level, or it might also smile on you.
If you are a professional, better not take a chance.
Which is better - Cash Games or Tournaments?
It depends on your goals with poker.
These three basic differences should make it clear: 1.
Nature of Earnings - If you are a good player, you can expect to have a decent regular income from cash games.
It may not be big, but it will be fairly regular.
The effects of variance are not pronounced.
On the other hand, tournaments are high-variance in nature.
So, even if you are a very good player, you can expect to have long dry spells; or find yourself winning life-changing money in a single day.
Fame and Glory - The way you have trophies in other sports, we have Bracelets for esteemed Poker Tournament winners.
And it is a matter of great pride to offline games best casino a bracelet.
There is no such tangible reward for a good cash game player.
Look at all that money and the big shiny bracelet - Martin Jacobson, 2015 WSOP Main Event Winner 3.
Schedule Constraints - Most good tournaments online are scheduled over the weekend.
So, you need to plan your schedule around that.
There is no such constraint with cash games - you choose when you want to play.
GOOD WAY TO MAKE A LIVING?
There's a popular saying about the game: "Poker is a hard way to make easy money.
Let's break it down into Pros and Cons: PROS: 1.
Freedom of time and schedule - I fix my own schedule.
I decide how long I want to play, when I want to play.
Sometimes, if I am not feeling up to it, I read a book, or watch a movie.
BYOB Be Your Own Boss - Need I explain further?
It is challenging - Just like any competitive sport, it is a challenging game.
Even if you start beating the players at your stakes, there will always be a level up or a newer variant of the game for you to master.
It keeps the game fresh and invigorating.
There is nothing like a good challenge to keep your brain visit web page young and healthy.
Location independence - I have played poker from the mountains of Dharmasala while watching the sun set behind the mountains, to the sound of the flowing river as a furry dog jumped around trying to catch a sparrow.
I have played poker in my underwear in my house in Goa.
I have played at Cafes and in friends' houses fully clothed.
Not just online, but live as well.
Poker tournaments are hosted all over the world in some exotic places.
Casinos can be found in a lot of countries.
So if you choose to be a live player, the regular travel to tournaments or casinos and meeting new people could be really satisfying.
Money - Of course there's money to be made in poker.
A lot of money.
You won't become a billionaire.
A millionaire, yes, if you work hard at it.
Here's the best play slots - unlike a regular job, where you get paid even during a holiday, poker doesn't pay you for a day off.
Call it opportunity cost.
So, if you choose to spend your free time watching a movie, you will have to ask yourself as to whether that time could be better used studying.
BYOB - With most professions where you set your own deadlines, it can be hard to be disciplined.
It is challenging - A simple fact of the game of poker is that you make money by playing against players who are worse than you.
Unlike a few years ago, today there are a larger % of people who are good at the game.
The sheer number of resources - both free and paid makes it dead simple to learn the game quickly and in a better way.
Hence, the game is only getting tougher.
And if you are relying on this to make you money, this could be a problem if you aren't learning faster than others are.
Emotionally Taxing - You need to have a very clear head to be good at the game.
I have punched walls and screamed in frustration after getting unlucky a few times in a row even after making the correct play.
All that was earlier in my poker journey and much before I became a better professional.
Search for contentment and fulfillment - Before I got into poker, I had an inkling that this will be a problem.
Poker is a negative-sum game.
For you to make money, not only does the other player have to lose money, but you also have to make more than the amount of rake you are paying the site.
Grinding each day, playing cards, without making an impact in the real world can make people unfulfilled.
It is not a spectator sport to an extent that say Tennis is.
So whereas Tennis players can rejoice in the fact that they provide entertainment to their fans, and find fulfillment in that; poker players can't.
I have read personal stories, best poker games to download free full version to people who have expressed the same sense of emptiness.
I had a feeling that I might be prone to it and that is why I have my writing to balance it off - to satisfy my creative urges, to create something for the world.
So, if you are thinking of getting into poker professionally, having something to balance it off would be a good idea to counter fatigue especially if you look at it as a 10-15 year career.
A USUAL DAY AT THE OFFICE I check this out up 10-11ish; do my morning rituals followed by exercise.
I make a quick breakfast - most days I eat cereal with milk - helps keep things simple.
A little bit of and then I get to writing.
Writing doesn't happen daily but I try to make it a practice to sit down for sometime and write.
A few days, I go to the pool for a swim.
I take a break to make lunch, shower, eating and then some lazing around.
I try to get in between.
The evenings are beautiful here in Goa, so I make it a point to spend some time outdoors - walks, grocery shopping, beach visits, or sitting in the porch and bird-watching quite literally or reading.
At dusk, I fire up my poker session.
Depending upon the action, and if there are any tournaments scheduled, I squeeze in daily study time.
It doesn't always happen but I'd like to take out more time to study.
I take a break for dinner and then end the session around midnight.
An hour or two of winding down follows and I call it a day.
Some weekends I am busier than usual, because good tournaments are lined up over the weekend.
As I am busy most evenings, sometimes I choose to skip meeting friends and avoid social obligations.
But, if I want to party, I go out partying.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT LIVE POKER I have played in home games, in poker rooms and in fancy casinos.
I have played on beds, on mattresses, on floors, at dining tables, at restaurant tables, and at fancy poker tables.
I have played drunk, high, and sometimes both not recommended.
Playing live poker is a very enjoyable activity.
Get a group of 6-7 people, get the banter going, order food, put on some music and it makes for a superb friday evening.
Often the games go on till the wee hours of the morning, which is when you go out for a cup of tea at the roadside thela and discuss hands and the action.
Just writing about it makes me crave for a good live poker session since I don't play live much anymore.
This is what makes this game great - the social aspect.
You'll often find that people make it a regular part of their lives because of its entertainment value.
I have made new friends at the poker table and shared laughs with many.
If you want to play live poker professionally, by all means go for it.
Even though I like playing live, I can't do it regularly.
Usually, the live games start late in the evening and go on till early morning which screws up your sleep cycle.
The long hours and the lopsided schedule - I can't do it.
Perhaps I am getting old I am still 28 but the early 20s time feels such a long time agobut I like a good sleep and a reasonable schedule.
WHERE TO PLAY Online: I play almost exclusively on.
First, it has been around the longest.
Secondly, it has the most number of active users.
This ensures that there are games running at most times of the day.
Other popular sites are Spartan Poker great tournament structuresPokerBaazi, Poker Ninja, FTR Poker, GoPoker, PokerHigh.
I haven't read more much on these sites except maybe some tourneys on Spartan.
Live: If you want to play live, you can always find home games.
Otherwise, there are poker rooms in Bangalore, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Casinos in Goa and Sikkim.
A news came in recently today that and a few other 5 star properties.
Their plan is to open up more rooms in other cities like Rajkot, Indore, Varanasi, Kochi, Chennai too, which is great news for poker.
And you can withdraw it directly to your bank account or via cheques.
I use direct withdrawals to my bank account and they are smooth - usually happens within 2-3 days of raising a withdrawal request.
Then there are a bunch of international sites you can play on: PokerStars, 888 poker, TonyBet etc.
I don't play much over there since deposits and withdrawals have been a hassle.
FUTURE OF POKER If you read the news recently, you would have found an article about how a computer beat some top poker players.
Does it mean that computers can now beat poker players?
The answer is No.
That computer, called Libratus, beat humans at Heads-Up No Limit Hold'em.
It is a subset of Texas No-limit Hold'em and it has much fewer decision trees.
The popular variant isn't beaten yet.
This is not to say that I don't see a time that computers would completely be able to beat the game.
The online version is seeing a barrage of new tools which help you improve as a poker player and tell you the Game Theory Optimal way of playing.
The edges between the top players are becoming smaller and smaller, which is true for most sports at elite level.
But the difference between poker and other sports is that these edges directly relate to money in poker.
In other sports, say two top football teams play each other 10 times.
Both win 3 times each and draw the rest 4.
They will still get paid because of tickets and TV rights.
In poker, if the same scenario happens, both the players actually end up losing because of rake.
Having said this, live poker would always be around.
It is a fun, social and entertaining game and I don't see it going away any time sooner.
Talking specifically about India, this is a time of sharp growth.
More number of poker sites are coming up than ever before.
The people behind them are doing good to promote the game by conducting events in colleges and catching young players at an early stage.
A new league on the lines of IPL called the will have its debut tournament this May.
It has been running qualifiers for the past 4-5 months to shortlist the best poker players in the country.
The 12 teams participating have reputable business houses as their owners.
So the trajectory is looking up.
As for me, poker has become an indispensable part of my life.
Not only does it pay my bills, it also gives me immense joy to compete.
If a day goes by without poker, something feels amiss.
I have a long way to go, and I am looking forward to move ahead and upwards on my poker journey.
And let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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To find out more or to change your cookie settings, visit the cookies section of read article />Too good an opportunity to ignore, his surname became immediately appropriated best place to play live poker in london used to describe the tsunami of popularity in the sport and the numbers of amateur players entering poker events and leaving with the spoils in their bank accounts.
It is, however, home to Aspers Casino, a 65,000 square foot gaming space with wall-to-wall slot machines, 55 table and poker games, and, on the weekend I made an impromptu appearance at the 888Poker LIVE Festival London Main Event in the poker room last October, heaving with humanity and out-there optimism.
The gaming floor is, as is the norm, all plush carpet, flashing lights, and a hush of busy concentration occasionally disrupted by the excitement of someone enjoying a temporary upswing in fortunes.
It is designed to be exciting and it is.
There are no white tuxedos here, rather a brightly lit, modern leisure space with a bank of screens, hundreds of other players from around the world and two water machines remarkably few players drink alcohol at the table.
It is now perfectly respectable to be a professional poker player and perhaps 20% of best place to play live poker in london 427 entries best place to play live poker in london Aspers for the guaranteed £400,000 guaranteed prize pool on the weekend I was there would earn a living that way.
That is exactly what 64-year-old grandfather John Hesp managed to do last July in the World Series of Poker main event in Las Vegas.
The hostesses flitted around unobtrusively with trays full of double espressos and black filter read more, offering massages at the table for £1 a minute while the players, overwhelmingly best place to play live poker in london and under 50, focused on their hand, each other and the dealer.
They came from America, China, South America and all over Europe, as well as the UK.
The dealers, mostly Eastern European, changed places frequently as the table slowly filled with players — talkers, non-talkers, flirters, smilers and the studious; one wearing mirrored shades, another with headphones; most were keeping their hands busy with their phones or flipping their chips.
After about 20 hands it should just be possible to discern the style of the other players or, rather, pick up a hint of a pattern.
It was my only advantage.
Raise only once, modestly when your house keys should go on it.
Go big on a Jack and a nine and bully the most aggressive player off the table just before the break.
That kind of rank idiocy might work.
There were anxious looks at the other end of the table.
After just over an article source, a period of time that seemed to fly by in just five minutes, I was down to about 7,000.
Time to wait for a decent hand.
Nothing but false dawns for what seemed like another hour but I managed to get back up to 20,000, enough to bluff big at this table.
Two more players dropped out.
Within a few minutes, we were head-to-head in a showdown.
You have 30 seconds to make your bet and he went the distance.
I lost - just.
There are qualifying tournaments in London and at the Aspers Casinos in Milton Keynes and Newcastle this Friday, 23 March.
Players who qualify from any of the Day One events get to play Day Two in London on Sunday, April 1.
The Final Table will then play down to a winner on Monday, April 2.

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Poker in the United Kingdom - a Complete Guide by Somuchpoker
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Rory Boland is a guidebook author and travel writer who has lived and worked in Hong Kong and London.
But the game is growing, as are the number of poker rooms.
And, while may not have many tables yet, it is home to some of the biggest pots and games in the world.
Unlike baccarat or roulette where you can roll up and join in the fun at the table, poker needs a little more organization.
The game is usually played on tables inside a poker room.
These rooms offer a variety of games, with varying buy-in, minimum bets, and other.
One of the most ubiquitous names in poker runs the poker room in Macau.
click are daily tournaments and regional competitions, but Pokerstars also offers cash games, including more modest limits than you'll find at rivals.
While the Venetian may have the single biggest game in town, nearly all the tables at the are high stakes.
This is a poker room aimed at those best place to play live poker in london platinum credit cards.
The Wynn has been involved in poker in Las Vegas for a long time, and the experience shows.
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Their latest offering is the best yet, teaming up with the renowned Poker Kings to offer a high-end room for Big Fish best place to play live poker in london />Found on the casino floor of the Venetian, it feels a little less intimidating than some of the more tucked away rooms at rival casinos.
The room is open 24 hours.
But the Poker King outfit who ran the game has now moved on to the Venetian, taking the heavy hitters with best place to play live poker in london />Starworld still runs poker games, but it's more local and low-key.
Expect small to medium stakes and pots.
There are eight tables, with at least some in action round the clock.
The newest poker room in Macau is proof that the game is gaining in popularity.
Poker Kings also runs it, and you'll find it well designed, comfortable and staff who are calm and collected.
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Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest periods, as well as during one of the many regional tournaments held in Macau.