One of the most popular games in the world, poker, is a phenomenon in many countries, with the United States leading the way. Not only do people love playing Texas Holdem in their spare time, but they also enjoy watching poker matches when the top professionals compete.
That is why the top players can not only earn outstanding prize money for winning tournaments, but have the chance to grab lucrative sponsorships from companies that want players to help promote their brands.
If you try your hand at poker and discover that you have a real talent for this game, then you may want to work on making a career out of the game. Below is a five-step guide that explains how you can become a sponsored poker player.
Becoming a poker player when you are new to the game is a big hurdle, but one that you can get over. Start by learning the basics of poker, master the various hands, understand gamesmanship and winning techniques, and then test your hand at gameplay.
When you are at a level where you are confident about beating good players, set up a place where you can put out poker content on the internet. There are countless ways to post videos, including YouTube and various gaming streaming websites. Live-streaming is usually a better bet when you want to gain a following, as people can interact with you in real-time.
A lot of the most popular poker players in the world who have significant sponsorships got them as a result of their exploits on sites like Twitch, YouTube, and recently Facebook Gaming. By establishing such a platform, you become a lot more attractive to any company that may want to offer you a sponsorship.
Establishing a large following is a very good start if you aspire to have a career as a professional poker player. One way to take your brand over the edge is to gain a following in one or two specific demographics, as that will help you gain sponsorships.
Companies have a very good understanding of who does and does not buy their products. While an aspiring poker player may be lucky enough to gain sponsorship from a mega-corporation that has products appealing to nearly all demographics, most such sponsorships come from small and mid-sized companies.
If a poker player can show that they get a lot of views on Twitch and Facebook, but also that most of these views are from men aged 18-30, they are in a very good position. That demographic would be very appealing to companies that have products to market to men in that age group.
Poker players are not unique from other entertainers and gamers in online spaces. They must often tread a very fine line between showboating and demonstrating arrogance, and remaining humble and relatable.
The everyman approach can work wonders when you are attempting to gain a following on Twitch. Even as you win poker tournaments and showcase your skills, remaining humble helps you attract an audience. Eventually, you may want to shift gears ever so slightly.
Showboating and talking up your wins can be helpful when you want to gain sponsorships. Companies want to partner with entertainers and gamers who are willing to put themselves out there. If you talk yourself up, your fanbase will do the same, and that further raises your profile.
Ensure that you tread the fine line between the occasional boast and display of justified arrogance, and the off-putting cockiness that may turn brands away from you.
The moment you open yourself up to scrutiny over the internet, you must forget about the notion of privacy. Whether you are streaming on Twitch, recording a video to post on YouTube, posting a photo on Instagram, or tweeting about a news article on Twitter, you are now a public figure.
Conduct yourself with that in mind during any interaction, especially online. Even if you are in a private chat with another person, you must be careful about what you say. Any statement that is deemed offensive or inappropriate could cause problems for your personal brand, which is problematic for getting sponsorships.
Even if you are lucky enough to secure backing from one or multiple companies, do not let your guard down. Speak your mind and show your personality, but remember that people are always waiting for high profile gamers and entertainers to slip up. Do not give anyone the opportunity to cause problems that could threaten your livelihood.
Someone who has ambitions of becoming a professionally sponsored poker player must prove themselves in tournaments. Even with a decent following on Twitch and other platforms, most companies want to support winners in the long term. That is why poker players, who go many years without a tournament win, can fall off the radar.
Having an appealing personality and marketing yourself will get you very far in this profession. Winning is what takes you over the top, and establishes you as a pro poker player who can match up against the very best. Those are the players any company would want to represent.
Do not despair if you are not already at this level. Many poker players spend years improving their game before they can win big money tournaments. Continue to persevere with your game, play against opponents of different styles, and understand your weaknesses as well. Then you can elevate your game and gain the attention of companies for sponsorships.
Having a career playing poker is not easy, and you must have real talent to succeed in this profession. Not only do you have to spend countless hours perfecting your game, but you do need moments of luck to come away with big winnings at tournaments.
One of the ways to earn and save more money as a poker player is by securing a sponsorship. Having a company that pays you money each month or year helps you become less reliant on winning tournaments to stay afloat.
Even though you must continue to compete and excel to retain and gain sponsorships, you can make more money through this method compared to tournament prize money.
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