Do Poker Players Really Make Money


How to play like a pro?

Thinking long-term

Professional players make from $25,000 to $500,000 per year. Salaried gamblers will sit at high-stakes tables and amass solid poker winnings. They will play live poker tourneys and win at the final table. And this may not be easy.

But how to make money like a professional? Even though luck decides on which cards players get, it skills that dictate the winner. Good players understand that only long-term success is valuable. Not hitting a jackpot at an online tourney.

Answered March 1, 2018 Author has 6.2K answers and 10.9M answer views Some are independently wealthy and some, who play poker for a living, get their money from other poker professionals and from the independently wealthy players that are not poker professionals. Professional Video Poker Players Need a Combination of Skills to be Successful. The first thing that. People will simply ask you point blank how much money poker players make. So here is the quick answer: Good poker players in small stakes online games like 1c/2c to 50c/$1 will make between $600 and $5000 a month. Good poker players in live games like $1/$2 to.

To get a solid annual income, top players only bet with favorable odds. If the odds are against them, they fold. Pros make sure to calculate the expected winnings or losses from each bet. Hands with negative expectations are not worth playing. Hands with positive expectations are worth raising.

Many people think of poker as a game of luck. Amateurs will join tourneys and expect to win the entire prize pool. Regulars, however, will instead grind cash games for stable earnings. Becoming a professional requires long-term thinking.

Stable monthly winnings over the years are far better than simply hitting a jackpot!

Accomplishing perfect poker play

The Fundamental Theorem of Poker states that:

  • The mathematically correct and precise way to play is when fully knowing the opponent’s cards
  • Any deviation from that play is a mistake and will result in lower profit
  • This logic applied to every gambler on the poker table!

To play poker like a pro requires getting as much information about the opponent’s hole cards as possible. To avoid making mistakes. And concealing own hand to make the rival play wrong. The best players in the world will play perfectly or close to it.

Players make mistakes by raising a bad hand. Or calling when they should have folded. Every mistake made results in a lower profit. Becoming a professional requires seeing the game as a job. The better the play, the higher are the earnings.

Some poker tips

A poker pro will tilt the match odds in their favor. They will use tactics and strategies to accomplish this goal. For example:

  • 3-betting pre-flop to conceal a poor hand
  • Continuing with a c-bet post-flop to make opponents fold
  • Stealing the big blinds in a high-stakes poker match
  • Semi-bluffing with marginal hands to increase own equity
  • Making value bets with good hands to maximize pot odds

Do Poker Players Really Make Money Bills

Playing poker professionally requires a gambler to estimate card ranges on the fly. As a result, a poker pro will know their own odds of drawing a winning hand. And the odds for their opponents.

In high-stakes poker games, winning the whole pot early on is the right strategy. In low-stakes poker games, a poker pro will make value bets to grow the pot. And take it during the showdown.

WIth large big blinds, games will be loose. With a lot of bluffing and stealing pre-flop.

Novice gamblers should start with micro-stakes of $0.01/$0.02 to hone their poker skills. Here the play will be tight with not a lot of pre-flop action. And bluffing kept to a minimum.

A solid article detailing winning poker strategies is located here.

Do professional poker players use their own money?

Staking as financial support in poker tourneys

A professional poker player like Phil Ivey will use their own money for games. But poker players that are at the early stages of their careers do in fact get support. This is also known as staking. Playing poker is a high-risk activity.

And stable returns from major high-stakes games cannot be guaranteed. Often semi-pro players make millions in one year but suffer heavy losses in the next. As a result, these poker players turn to staking.

Sometimes staking is done by a professional poker player for a younger semi-pro. This greatly lowers the risk for the starting gambler. And provides them with money to wager in tourneys. However, a part of the winnings of staked poker players is taken by their backers.

Even the best poker players have experienced swings in their careers. To win big, a gambler needs to join a major tournament. Like the World Series of Poker. Such tourneys will have a huge variance. Meaning that a gamer can lose money in the short run.

The risk of getting wiped out by variance at a tourney is mitigated through staking. When starting out a professional career, staking can become very important. With the extremely high variance of major tourneys, poker players often turn to staking. This allows gamers to remain afloat despite a series of losses.

How does staking work in practice?

Staking is a contract signed between two parties. The sponsor, or the backer, and the player, or the horse. It works like that:

  • The backer assumes all the risk
  • Any losses suffered are covered by the backer
  • The winnings of the horse are split 50:50
  • Any losses incurred take the form of debt
  • The debt must be paid back in full from future winnings

Years ago playing poker was easier. There was less competition in the field. Today professional poker has become much more competitive. Big tourneys are nearly impossible to win. As a result, many people turn to staking.

Staking seems like a good idea as the initial losses are covered by the backer. However, losses get also added to the horse’s debt. Thus, if a horse has lost $2,000, their debt to the backer will be $2,000. The debt must only be paid back if the horse begins to play better and win.

So the backer will take the $2,000 from any future winnings. For example, playing poker a new professional has made an additional $4,000 in winnings. Their net profit will be:

  • (4,000-2,000) / 2 = 1,000!

As staking is a contract signed between two parties, the debt must be paid back in full regardless. And the only way out is to stop playing poker completely! Or get dropped by the backer!

Staking can help a novice make money in the short run. But in the long run, staking can ruin a successful poker career!

Real professional poker players avoid staking!

Good players will rely on themselves at a poker table. They will bear the risks and earn the rewards in full. Most gamers that get staked are fishes. And they drop out of poker within a few years. To have games staked by backers is likely to ruin a successful poker career.

Getting investor backing can lead to loss of personal freedom. When staking, backers will always think of making a return on their money. Otherwise, it would not be profitable for them. The debts accumulated can easily eat away much of the future winnings.

And lead to a gambler dropping out of poker for good.

Who is the richest poker player?

Dan Bilzerian is the wealthiest professional poker player

Dan Bilzerian is currently the richest professional poker player. The 40-year-old gambler has a fortune of $150 million! Not all of Dan’s net worth has come from playing poker. However, the bettor has excellent gaming skills and is one of the best poker players in the world.


Dan’s career also includes acting, entrepreneurship, and social media participation. Some of the player’s wealth has come from inheritance. However, Bilzerian’s poker skills are truly excellent. Along with the bettor’s reputation as being the funniest one on the table.

Dan’s poker winnings

The gambler stated that he once won $10.8 million in a single night of playing poker! This is a huge win for Dan. According to his own testimony, the biggest daily loss was a meager $3.6 million. In 2014, Bizlerian’s net winnings have amounted to a staggering $50 million!

A great example of just how much professional poker players make from the cards. To play poker as well as Dan would require skill and professionalism at the highest level. And an element of luck. However, the bettor’s wealth claims have been disputed.

It is not clear just how much of the $150 million has come from live poker directly. Dan is also engaged in business and entrepreneurship. And receives stable rent payments from his inherited properties. Nevertheless, playing poker has made Dan number 1 in the top 10 players across the world!

Is it hard to be a professional poker player?

Yes, it is. Here are a few reasons.

Poker players make money from their competitors. This requires skill and commitment. Higher-stakes games will feature better players than matches with lower antes. In fact, the difficulty of a game increases with the amount of buy-in.

As much as it is fun playing poker, the game requires every day commitment. And a lot of time spent playing. From formulating strategies to learning how to bluff. It could take a year or more of playing 10 hours a week of poker to begin making serious money.

Poker is hard at a professional level because:

  • The game requires a solid mathematical intelligence
  • Strong emotional skills
  • A lot of reading of professional literature
  • Heavy practice and good experience
  • Strong bankroll management skills

How to quickly get experience in poker?

The fastest way is to begin playing online. Poker sites can be an excellent resource for a newbie. To earn money in the future, new players must amass some serious gaming time. Playing free poker against other people online can help.

Every time a newbie logs onto an online poker site, they need to select the antes. Games with lower stakes will feature more fishes. While a game with higher stakes will have more regulars. So picking a good poker table is a must.

Playing free poker on the top-rated online casinos can add valuable experience. And help make money in the future.

Getting an income from online poker can be hard. So first a novice must learn to break even. Once this is accomplished, the future path will become much easier to tread!

How big are the winnings of pros?

Having solid bankroll management is important. A pro will earn a stable income of $70 to $500 per hour. Playing NL texas hold’em. However, amateur players can only expect around $20 per hour as their starting wage.

A solid win rate for NL25 can be anywhere between 5 to 15 big blinds from a 100 hands played. Online poker will often feature games like NL2 and NL5. Here the win rate can increase to 30 big blinds per 100 hands.

Players need to strive for consistency of winnings. This ensures a stable profit over the years. Online poker players that are average can expect anywhere from $100 to $2,000 per month. Starting with micro stakes will add needed experience.

To make $25,000 per year or more, players need to enter the professional field. The maximum a mid-tier pro can make is $500,000 per year!

This amounts from $68 to $1,369 of profits per day that a professional poker player can make. The variance of returns matters just as much. And pro poker players will strive for lower but more consistent daily earnings.

Top gamblers could easily make a million dollars or more every year. But their income will be directly proportional to the difficulty of play. To be the best top poker player would require commitment and stamina. Can you play bingo online for money. To earn that much will depend on EQ as much as IQ.

To sum up:

  • Online poker salary ranging from $100 to $2,0000 per month for average players
  • Starting wage of around $20 per hour for live poker tourneys or cash games
  • Rising to $70-$500 per hour range with added professionalism in big tourneys
  • A minimum of $25,000 per year for a low-ranking pro
  • Growing to $500,000 per year for a top pro
  • Anywhere from $68 to $1369 of income per day playing as a professional
  • Millions upon millions of dollars for the very best!

How long does it take to become a professional poker player?

Becoming a pro takes from several months to several years

From 2-3 months to 2-3 years. A gambler that has spent a year playing poker on the internet will net an income per month of around $1,000 to $2,000. The more time one spent playing each day, the bigger is their profits.

Spending at least 10 hours a week playing poker is a must. Tourneys will often promise huge returns, but with massive risk. Recreational players are quick to join them and lose. But regulars will often grind cash games to earn a profit.

The more time spent, the greater experience and knowledge of the game will a bettor have. Learning how to break even and avoid major losses takes stamina and confidence.

Reading professional poker literature is important. Books can help a player formulate a winning strategy. And help them gain valuable experience. As poker is a game of mathematical skill, consistent winners will often think in terms of numbers.

Poker players make cards their favorite pastime. They learn to love the game and spend all their free time playing. A pro never stops learning and sees each loss as an opportunity to get better. As the field has become more competitive nowadays, it has become harder to make a decent living from poker.

Why so long?

The best poker players make bets only with a positive expectation. Never with the negative. This tilts the odds in their favor. And lets them earn money over the whole year. Calculating expectations for each hand played on the fly requires a lot of practice.

Pros also need to quickly estimate the ranges of both own and opponents’ hands. This provides people with valuable insight. What cards can a gambler hope to draw on the flop? What are their chances of hitting a straight or a flush?

The more time one spends playing poker, the better will be their skill. Making a consistent profit month after month is not easy. A strong player will fold the best hand when they suspect that rivals will outdraw them on the turn-and-river.

Each year poker becomes more difficult. With the growth of online gambling, a greater number of people participate in poker games. Also, tournaments today have become much more competitive. The demand for poker has increased steadily over time. Winning is now much harder than before.

What else to think about

Rake and games

Many people often become confused by a rake in live poker. Rake is the price a casino takes for hosting a live show. It is often 1-4$ per hand. Playing many hands per month, the rake can severely eat at the profits. So much that a gambler cannot break even.

When playing for a long time at a casino or a poker room, rake must be subtracted from the possible winnings. Some pros use rakeback at online casinos to cover their losses. In fact, they rely on rakeback to earn money from the games.

Picking a good venue or online poker site to gamble on is necessary for success. Similarly to watching over the bankroll.

Balancing risk and reward

It is a golden rule of finance that with higher risks come bigger rewards. Tourneys often give the possibility to earn millions. But the odds are very low. With higher-than-normal variance, it is also common for gamers to get wiped out.

A Cashgame offers far lower profits. Making 2-5x buy-ins from a cashgame is a success. Many regular players will often grind cash games for stable earnings. While recreational players are often found in tourneys. With the 100x possible buy-in winnings.

Low-staked tables will be easier to succeed at. As the blinds are not large, there is little bluffing or stealing. But with high-stakes, the action can become intense. The higher the possible winnings, the bigger are the risks of going bankrupt.

Do Professional Poker Players Make Money

Finding a correct balance between risk and reward is mandatory for long-term success. How much net profit a gambler make depends on this balance

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