How much do professional poker players make

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

Top players only bet with favorable odds to get a solid annual income. 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 the jackpot!

Accomplishing perfect poker play

The Fundamental Theorem of Poker states that:

  • The mathematically correct and precise way to play is knowing the opponent’s cards fully.
  • Any deviation from that play is a mistake and will result in lower profit
  • This logic applies 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 their 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 the earnings.



Do professional poker players use their own money?

Staking as financial support in poker tourneys

Professional poker players like Phil Ivey will use their money for games. But poker players in the early stages of their careers do 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 stakes.

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 on tourneys. However, their backers take part in the winnings of staked poker players.

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

When starting a professional career, staking can become very important. With the extremely high variance of major tourneys, poker players often turn to stake. The risk of getting wiped out by conflict at a tourney is mitigated through 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 this:

  • The backer assumes all the risk
  • The backer covers any losses suffered
  • 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 stake.

Staking seems like a good idea, as the backer covers the initial losses. However, losses also add to the horse’s debt. Thus, if a horse has lost $2,000, its 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 between two parties, the debt must be paid back in full. 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 fish. And they drop out of poker within a few years. Having games staked by backers will likely ruin a successful poker career.

Getting investor backing can lead to a 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.

$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 excellent, along with the bettor’s reputation as the funniest.

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 the 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 between 5 to 15 big blinds from 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. Average online poker players can expect anywhere from $100 to $2,000 monthly. Starting with micro stakes will add needed experience. Players need to enter the professional field to make $25,000 per year or more. The maximum a mid-tier pro can make is $500,000 per year!

This amounts from $68 to $1,369 daily profits that a professional poker player can make—the variance of returns matters as much. 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. To earn that much will depend on EQ as much as IQ.

To sum up:

  • Online poker salaries range 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 who has spent a year playing poker on the internet will net a monthly income of around $1,000 to $2,000. The more time one spends playing each day, the bigger the profits. Spending at least 10 hours a week playing poker is a must. Tourneys will often promise huge returns but with massive risks. 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 the experience and knowledge of the game a bettor will 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 improve. As the field has become more competitive nowadays, making a decent living from poker has become harder.


Why so long?

The best poker players make bets only with a positive expectation, never with a 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 their 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 rivals will outdraw them on the turn-and-river.

Each year, poker becomes more difficult. With the growth of online gambling, more 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 usually 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.

The rake must be subtracted from the possible winnings when playing long at a casino or a poker room. Some pros use Rakeback at online casinos to cover their losses. 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, like 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 Cash game offers far lower profits. Making 2-5x buy-ins from a cash game is a success. Many regular players will often grind cash games for stable earnings. Simultaneously, recreational players are usually 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 the risks of going bankrupt. Finding a correct balance between risk and reward is mandatory for long-term success. How much net profit a gambler makes depends on this balance.