One of the world’s most popular games, poker, is a phenomenon in many countries, led by the United States. Not only do people enjoy playing Texas Hold’em in their spare time, but they also enjoy watching poker games when the best professionals compete against each other.
This is why the best players can not only win great prizes by winning tournaments, but also have the opportunity to secure lucrative sponsorships from companies that want players to help promote their brands.
If you try your hand at poker and find out that you have a real talent for this game then you might want to work to make a career out of it. Below is a five step guide on how to become a sponsored poker player.
1. Create quality content
Becoming a poker player when you are new to the game is a tall order, but one you can overcome. Start by learning the basics of poker, mastering the different hands, understanding the meaning of the game and winning techniques, then test your hand at gameplay.
When you are at a level where you are sure to beat good players, set up a place where you can stream poker content over the Internet. There are countless ways to post videos including YouTube and various game streaming sites. Live streaming is usually a better bet when you want to gain subscribers because people can interact with you in real time.
Many of the world’s most popular poker players with major sponsorships have earned them as a result of their exploits on sites like Twitch, YouTube and recently Facebook Gaming. By creating such a platform, you become much more attractive to any business that would like to offer you a sponsorship.
2. Gain popularity in a specific demographic
Building a large following is a great start if you aspire to a career as a professional poker player. One way to put your brand on top is to gain followers in one or two specific demographic groups, as this will help you gain referrals.
Businesses know very well who is buying and who is not buying their products. While an aspiring poker player may be lucky enough to get a sponsorship from a mega-company that has products that appeal to almost any demographic, most of those sponsorships come from small and medium-sized businesses.
If a poker player can show that they are getting a lot of views on Twitch and Facebook, but also that most of those views are from males between the ages of 18 and 30, they are in a very good position. This demographic group would be very attractive to companies that offer products to men in this age group.
3. Occasionally showboat
Poker players are not unique from other artists and players in online spaces. They often have to walk a very fine line between being bold and arrogant, and staying humble and relatable.
Approaching everyone can work wonders when trying to gain an audience on Twitch. Even if you win poker tournaments and show off your skills, staying humble helps you attract an audience. Finally, you may want to change gears very slightly.
Showing and talking about your victories can be helpful when you want to get referrals. Companies want to partner with artists and players who are ready to go. If you express yourself, your fan base will do the same, which further elevates your profile.
Make sure you don’t cross the line between occasional bragging and display of justified arrogance, and off-putting arrogance that can deflect brands from you.
4. Conduct yourself appropriately
As soon as you expose yourself to scrutiny on the Internet, you should forget about privacy. Whether you’re broadcasting 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 this in mind in all interactions, especially online. Even if you are in a private conversation with another person, you should be careful what you say. Any statement deemed offensive or inappropriate could cause problems for your personal brand, which is problematic for obtaining referrals.
Even if you are lucky enough to get support from one or more companies, don’t let your guard down. Express your opinion and show your personality, but remember people always expect top players and performers to get it wrong. Don’t give anyone the opportunity to cause problems that could threaten your livelihood.
5. Win tournaments
Someone who has the ambition to become a professionally sponsored poker player has to prove themselves in tournaments. Even with decent following on Twitch and other platforms, most businesses want to support winners in the long run. This is why poker players, who go many years without winning a tournament, may disappear from the radar.
Having an attractive personality and marketing yourself will go a long way in this profession. Winning is what takes you to the top and establishes you as a professional poker player who can compete against the best. These are the players that any business 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 tournaments. Keep persevering in your game, play against opponents of different styles and understand your weaknesses as well. Then you can elevate your game and get the attention of businesses for referrals.
Chase your poker dreams
Making a career out of playing poker is not easy, and you need to have a real talent to be successful in this profession. Not only do you have to spend countless hours perfecting your game, but you also need lucky moments to win big tournament wins.
One of the ways to earn and save more money as a poker player, it is by getting a sponsorship. Having a business that pays you money every month or every year helps you less depend on winning tournaments to stay afloat.
Even though you have to keep competing and excelling to retain and earn sponsors, you can earn more money through this method compared to tournament cash prizes.