Love of the game is the biggest reason, and monetary reward is of course an obvious factor for professional poker players. Katrina Jett is one of the top female players in the world and has made it to the World Series of Poker finals table four times. One of her passions was to see the world and poker allows her that opportunity. She loves her job and the freedom involved. Jokingly she states that it also gives her more time in the garden. Both of her parents play poker and she once admonished them for having no life, but still followed in their footsteps. Jett started off with online poker before taking her show on the road. She loves the many friendships she has formed along the way. Her daughter, however, wants mom back online more so she can be home more often.
Jesse Sylvia was runner up in the 2012 WSOP Main Event and took home over $5 million. He loves working with numbers (especially with dollar signs before them) and also is a big player in the real estate world. Katrina Jett is also involved in real estate, so both she and Jesse gamble in more than one respect, as the two careers are both related to chance. Sylvia used his poker winnings to finance his college education, but didn’t refer to himself as a professional until he used poker winnings to live off of totally. Professional poker players also state that the game and its strategies are always changing, staying fresh and studying new techniques keeps the game and their brains alive – never dull and boring.
For Jason Somerville, a professional player from Long Island, NY, it was the thrill of winning his first $5 online that set him on the road of poker stardom. At the age of 16, he was steadily losing money on the computer and got totally frustrated. He read every book he could get his hands on and watched every video available on the subject of poker. He never envisioned a life in professional poker, it was the dedication he put into learning all he could about poker that stimulated him – which was caused by his frustration factor. So Jason actually chose poker because he had the desire to learn about something that he previously had struggled with. It could have been any other profession or subject, but in his case, simply learning to play the game was the driving force.
Most professionals will probably admit that when they were asked in grade school what they wanted to be when they grow up, professional poker player didn’t come out of any of their mouths. In most cases a recreational or amateur poker player gets the taste of blood when they are educated enough on the game to hit that winning streak. Notice I didn’t say “lucky” winning streak. Indeed some luck is involved anytime cards or dice are involved, but skill plays a major role in poker success. Take a look at our page on this site about tips and strategy.