Just about everyone who plays poker regularly dreams about the day they can quit their normal job and play the game professionally. However, doing so is a lot harder than most people give it credit for. If you’ve ever thought about pursuing this fantasy, there are definitely some guidelines you need to follow. Play Regularly There’s a misconception that somehow poker is easy and that turning pro is just a matter of hitting the right tournaments. In truth, though, it’s about playing and playing often. You also need to play against a wide range of people. Just because you develop the skill set necessary to beat your five best friends doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do it again and again in the future. Play Online Players these days have a very big advantage over those in the past because they can play online. Now, online poker is definitely no replacement for real, live games. However, it is a good place to go and practice your betting and statistical analysis. Plus, when you get good enough, online poker is where you can go to make pretty good money from players who aren’t as dedicated as you. Play High Stakes Speaking of money, this is where things can get scary. If you want to become a pro player, it’s going to entail playing with for a lot of money. The journey there, however, will also involve a lot of money. That’s because you simply can’t get used to the pressure that goes with playing big money hands if you’re not doing it on a regular basis. Not every single hand you play has to be for hundreds. You also shouldn’t be chasing high stakes games until you’ve had a winning streak behind you. That being said, without getting used to staring at piles of chips worth many of your paychecks, turning pro will simply never happen. Learn Mental Cues Mental cues may be one of the most underappreciated facets of getting good at poker. Everyone knows the obvious ones: leaning forward is a sign of aggression; leaning back means the player is limping in, etc. However, to become a professional level player, you absolutely must be able to pick up on all the little cues as well. The best players in the world won’t give you much to go on, so you have to make the most out of every little detail. You also need to learn how to solicit these cues from opponents without them knowing. This is how you can break the mental game of the best poker players out there. Furthermore, you have to be able to block out your own mental cues, so you’re never handing over an advantage. This will take a lot of practice and even some help from players you trust who will actually tell you how they read your body language. Like any other skill, if you want to get good at poker, you need to practice, practice and practice some more. To become a professional, keep the above advice in mind.