It seems that everyone today wants to chuck their particular nine to five job, hop onto the Internet or into their local card room and say they are a 'professional poker player'. Tell the truth…you've had the thought, after a particularly large tournament win or a good month in the cash games (wherever they may be), of doing just that. Some interesting food for thought before you make this monumental decision can be found in the new book from Mark Blade called "Professional Poker" (available at his website, markblade.com, for $24.95 U. S./$31.95 Canadian).
Blade, who has a unique background in earning a B.A. from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business (imagine the dilemmas he faces during college basketball and football season), was pursued for a number of high profile and potentially lucrative corporate business positions. He did what was logical for anyone who had spent that amount of time, money and schooling would do…he decided to become a professional poker player. Over the last ten years, Mark has been able to use not only his poker senses but also his business mind to be successful at the endeavor. "Professional Poker" is the natural spawn of his experiences which should be a textbook for anyone who is thinking about doing just the same thing.
Through reading "Professional Poker" I was consistently amazed at how closely that the business world and the poker world are related. Blade consistently enforces that looking at poker in any other way is detrimental to not only your professional aspirations but also your game as well. Through several aspects both inside and outside the game, Mark demonstrates that there are many pitfalls that can bring down even the greatest of players.
"Professional Poker" is broken down into six substantive sections, with the first two being the most informative of the lot. In "The Decision To Become A Pro Player", Blade looks at the potentially million dollar question from a variety of aspects. He takes many matters into account, including your position today (in whatever occupation you may have), the potential that the future has between your poker "career" and your occupational area, playing requirements and other long term prospects. In this segment, Mark really is presenting all the obstacles that people either knowingly or unknowingly overlook in the assessment of their skills and their potential for the future. He also firmly states that the life of a poker player is far from what most dreamers see on the television screen.
In the best section of the book, Blade puts his business acumen to work thoroughly in an analysis of "Money Matters". Mark offers suggestions for those who plan to become tournament specialists and cash game players (two separate entities, as he demonstrates, as the rates of return are significantly different) and extremely viable business management situations that are often ignored. His suggestions for a gradual approach to the poker world are extremely useful and potent to taking up poker as a profession, but he also looks at taking "the plunge" (as he puts it) and moving at a risk-takers pace. There is quite a bit on the numbers front, as Mark analyzes the situation from nearly every angle (and then some), but it is the meat of the book as to the eternal question that the book attempts to answer.
The other sections of "Professional Poker" are somewhat skimming the surface looks at the subjects of strategy and psychology. Blade emphasizes throughout the book that this is the first in a series of books ("Professional Poker 2" delves into the nuts and bolts poker strategy that Blade espouses and "Professional Poker 3" will handle the mindset and psychological side) so, as such, these sections are somewhat light. By far, though, the fifth section, "Advanced Mental And Emotional Tips", can get readers by until the thorough discussion of the subject that Mark promises "Professional Poker 3" will be.
Overall, the questions that everyone may ask themselves when considering the "poker pro" option are answered in "Professional Poker". Mark Blade has created a blunt, straightforward analysis of the subject that is as thorough as anyone has ever attempted to do to this point. He asks of his readers that they take what is offered in the book and, if they decide to take the Big Step, apply it to their own trek. While stopping short of an outright guarantee, Blade does state that if the book is applied completely and appropriately, then success can be had.
After reading the book, I can safely say that Blade has presented the definitive guidebook to success in the poker arena. If every aspiring poker player reads and applies the lessons of "Professional Poker", then the career field of "professional poker player" will grow and we will have more members of the fraternity (or sorority) joining the felt battlefields soon.
Ed Note: Professional Poker Player? Let your results at Poker Stars decide. Sign up today.