What one poker pro would go back and tell his former self about the game
By Bob Garcia
Matthew Wheat has learned a lot about what it takes to survive at the poker tables
After developing a taste for both NLHE and PLO, Matthew Wheat has become somewhat of an authority on poker and how to succeed at the game. As with most players, he’s learned through trial and fire and understands first-hand how difficult it is to make a living at cards. When it comes to getting to where he is, there are certain things that he would like to have known before he started his journey.
Wheat loves what he does, but admits that poker is a “hard way to make an easy living.” He describes the experience as highly stressful, comparing it to being an “air traffic controller with an anxiety disorder.” However, he acknowledges that a lot of hard work and a fair amount of intelligence can make almost anyone become a poker pro.
Building up a bankroll is important to success, but there comes a point where a lower limit has to be set. Wheat asserts, “When money comes and goes from your hands that quickly for long periods of time it basically becomes impossible to be frugal with your money. Most players I know will tell you that anything that costs less than $1,000 is completely irrelevant and that they don’t even give a second thought to purchasing it. This is because purchases less than that amount have no emotional impact on them; it feels like it’s free.”
It’s important to be ready to adapt to new situations at the tables since the game is constantly evolving. Wheat adds, “If you’re going to play poker for a living you need to be constantly evaluating what type of game will provide the highest hourly win rate for your unique set of abilities and experience. One serious mistake that I see among professionals is that they find a game they can win at and then only play that type of game month after month and year after year. The poker landscape changes constantly and games that used to be easy money are practically unbeatable for significant amounts of money these days.”