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Can you make a living playing poker in Vegas?

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Here are some thoughts and suggestions:

Crafting a sustainable career in the competitive world of poker, especially in the heart of the action like Las Vegas, requires a blend of skill, strategy, and psychological acumen. Here are strategies and tips for the aspiring poker professional:

Understand the Game Theoretically

1. Master Game Theory:

  • Learn about game theory optimal (GTO) play to understand the unexploitable strategies.
  • Dive into the mathematics of poker, familiarizing yourself with pot odds, implied odds, and expected value (EV).

2. Specialize in a Format:

  • Focus on either cash games or tournaments. Each has different strategies and bankroll requirements.

Practical Gameplay Strategies

3. Develop a Solid Pre-Flop Strategy:

  • Understand the importance of position and hand selection pre-flop.
  • Utilize hand range charts to guide your play in various positions.

4. Post-Flop Excellence:

  • Study common post-flop scenarios and the best actions to take.
  • Work on reading the texture of the board and adjusting your play accordingly.

5. Bankroll Management:

  • Never play outside your bankroll. A common rule is to have at least 20-30 buy-ins for the level you are playing.
  • Understand the swings (variance) and be prepared financially and emotionally.

6. Mental Toughness:

  • Cultivate resilience to cope with bad beats and downswings.
  • Engage in activities that promote mental well-being, like exercise and meditation.

Continuous Improvement

7. Study Regularly:

  • Dedicate time to study away from the table. Review hand histories and use poker software to analyze your play.
  • Join a poker training site or hire a coach to accelerate your learning curve.

8. Stay Abreast of Trends:

  • Poker is an evolving game. Keep up with the latest strategies and counter-strategies.

Psychological Warfare

9. Psychological Insight:

  • Develop the ability to read opponents and recognize patterns in their play.
  • Work on your poker face and your ability to conceal your own tells.

10. Emotional Control:

  • Learn to keep your emotions in check, avoiding tilt at all costs.
  • Understand the psychological biases that affect decision-making, like confirmation bias and sunk cost fallacy.

Lifestyle Considerations

11. Health and Stamina:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure you can endure long sessions and late nights.
  • Pay attention to diet and physical fitness; staying sharp is key.

12. Networking and Community:

  • Build a network of fellow poker players for support and strategy discussion.
  • Engage with the poker community online and in person to stay connected and informed.

Business of Poker

13. Record Keeping:

  • Keep detailed records of sessions, wins, losses, and expenses. It’s crucial for tax purposes and to track performance.
  • Use a dedicated bank account and credit card for poker-related finances to simplify record-keeping.

14. Legality and Compliance:

  • Stay informed about the legal aspects of playing poker professionally, including tax obligations.

Finding the Right Venues

15. Table Selection:

  • Choose games and venues that are most profitable. This might mean playing at off-peak times or less glamorous locations where the competition might be softer.

16. Understand the Rake:

  • Be aware of the house rake and its impact on your winnings. Look for the most favorable rake structure.

When You’re Not Playing

17. Life Balance:

  • Strive for a work-life balance. Take regular breaks from poker to prevent burnout.
  • Have interests and hobbies outside of poker to maintain a healthy balance.

18. Financial Planning:

  • Save for retirement. Poker doesn’t come with a pension plan.
  • Invest winnings wisely and consider consulting a financial advisor.

By integrating these strategies and maintaining a disciplined, studious approach to the game, a poker player can significantly improve their odds of making a successful living playing poker in Las Vegas. Remember, the key to longevity in the poker world is adaptability and continuous learning.

Article above assisted by ChatGPT, article below assisted by Google Bard.

How to Make a Living Playing Poker in Las Vegas


Making a living playing poker in Las Vegas is a dream for many people. The city is home to some of the biggest and best poker rooms in the world, and there is always money to be made for those who know what they are doing. However, it is important to remember that poker is a very competitive game, and it is not easy to make a living. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and skill to be a winning player.

If you are serious about making a living playing poker in Las Vegas, there are a few things you need to do. First, you need to make sure that you have a solid understanding of the game. This means learning about the different game variations, the basic strategies, and the advanced concepts. You can find a lot of information about poker online and in books, but it is important to find a reliable source.

Second, you need to develop your own playing style. This means figuring out what hands you like to play, how you want to bet, and how you want to react to your opponents. It is important to be flexible and to adjust your style depending on the game and the opponents you are facing.

Third, you need to be disciplined. This means managing your bankroll properly, taking breaks when you need them, and not letting your emotions get the best of you. It is also important to stay up-to-date on the latest poker trends and strategies.


Here are a few specific strategies that you can use to make a living playing poker in Las Vegas:

  • Focus on the right games. Not all poker games are created equal. Some games, such as no-limit Texas Hold’em and pot-limit Omaha, are more profitable for skilled players than others. If you are serious about making a living playing poker, you need to focus on the games that offer the best opportunities for profit.
  • Play against weaker players. The key to making money playing poker is to play against people who are not as good as you. This means avoiding the games that are full of professional players and sharks. Instead, look for games where you can identify at least a few players who are weaker than you.
  • Be selective about your hands. Don’t play every hand that you are dealt. Only play the hands that you have a good chance of winning with. It is better to play a few hands well than to play many hands poorly.
  • Be aggressive. Aggressive players tend to win more money than passive players. This is because aggressive players put pressure on their opponents and force them to make mistakes. However, it is important to be aggressive wisely. Don’t just bluff all the time.
  • Manage your bankroll properly. Bankroll management is one of the most important aspects of poker. You need to make sure that you have enough money to bankroll your play and that you are not risking too much money on any one hand.


Here are a few additional pieces of advice for poker players who are trying to make a living in Las Vegas:

  • Be patient. It takes time to become a winning poker player. Don’t expect to start making money right away. Be patient and keep learning and improving.
  • Don’t get discouraged. There will be times when you lose money. That is just part of the game. Don’t let your losses get you discouraged. Keep your head up and focus on the long term.
  • Get help from other players. There are many successful poker players who are willing to help other players improve. If you are serious about making a living playing poker, consider getting coaching from a professional player.


Making a living playing poker in Las Vegas is not easy, but it is possible. If you are willing to put in the hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goal. Just remember to be patient, disciplined, and to focus on the right games and players.

Additional tips

  • Join a poker club. Poker clubs offer a number of benefits for serious players, such as access to private games, discounts on rake, and coaching.
  • Study poker books and videos. There are many great poker books and videos available that can help you improve your game.
  • Use a poker tracking software. Poker tracking software can help you track your hands and identify areas where you can improve.
  • Take breaks. It is important to take breaks when you are playing poker. Get up and move around every hour or so to avoid fatigue.
  • Eat healthy and get enough sleep. Eating healthy and getting enough sleep will help you stay focused and alert when you are playing poker.

Remember, poker is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and dedication to become a winning player. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep learning and improving, and eventually you will reach your goal of making a living playing poker in Las Vegas.

Here is a quote from professional poker player Phil Galfond that I think sums it up nicely:

“Poker is a game of incomplete information, and there is no such thing as a perfect strategy. However, if you can consistently make better decisions than your opponents, you will win in the long run.”

So keep learning, keep improving, and keep making better decisions than your opponents. And with hard work and dedication, you can achieve your dream of making a living playing poker in Las Vegas.

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