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How Much do Poker Players Make?

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How Much do Poker Players Make?

chris moneymakerA number of new players interesed in poker want to know how much exactly poker players can make – or at least what they’re getting into. The truth is, there are so many factors that will determine how much you make in poker. When talking about how much players make, we must first distinguish between professional and recreational poker players. Professional poker players are well known to make $1- 10 million per year by multi-tabling online poker and playing in the live event tournament circuits (WSOP, EPT etc) each year. Tom Dwan, for example, is a 23 year old poker player and  makes around $5 million per year in online poker alone.

Recreational Players:

Amateur poker players on the other hand can’t expect to make anywhere near this. Although it depends on the stakes involved  – and how often you play, amateur poker players tend to make anything from zero to twenty thousand dollars per year. I put the limit at twenty thousand dollars because at this point amateur players become (or are considered) professional. Your typical student poker player (and anyone else who plays a few hours per day with good knowledge of the game), can make up to five thousand dollars per year playing online poker (from my own experience anyway).

I need to make a quick point here, and tell you that approximately 85% of online players actually lose money playing poker.  This is mainly because they don’t adopt the correct poker strategy, however this is still a shocking figure when you consider just how many people are hooked to online poker each day!

How Much Do Professional Poker Players Make?

Phil Ivey is the world’s best professional poker player. At the moment, he’s makes  aproximately $1-5 million a year through playing both online and live poker. His current lifetime winnings from the WSOP along extend beyonf $7 million. 

However Ivey’s net earnings don’t stop there, because like football, poker players often receive heavy endorsements from major marketing brands. With respect to Phil Ivey, he’s also been involved in a series of side bets with players such as Andy Bloch for the latest 2009 WSOP. The prop bet between Ivey and Bloch recently, was worth over $15 million if Ivey won a 2nd WSOP bracelet. For the sake of readers’ interests, Ivey has also wagered over $70,000 on coin-flips in his life; and has previously bet over $200,000 on a single game of golf. I bring this up as an interesting example of just how rich these poker players are… 

Deciding Factors

When asking how much poker players make, the figure largely depends on how good you are, how often you play and where abouts you play (including the stakes involved). A large proportion of online poker players make $50-$100k per year. Others – many of whom are still relatively unknown, can easily make $200,000 per year. An good NL100 player, for example, can spin up to $80,000 per year in online poker.

Live tournament events on circuits such as the WSOP, EPT and Aussie Millions also earn alot of these professionals (like Phil Hellmuth) most of their money. Current prizes for doing well in major tournaments such as the WSOP and WPT can be anything up to $5 million. In the last WSOP tournament Hellmuth won $6 million.  For readers unfamiliar with these tournaments they can usually last from a few days to 2 weeks at most!. In comparison to Wimbledon (where the winner in tennis receives about $1 million for several weeks work), you can see how much more money there is in poker.

What Percentage of Players Make Money in OnlinePoker?

It’s estimated that 85% of online poker players lose their money. In addition, 15% break even, and only 5% actually make any money consistently.  However when looking at profits, you have to understand that the majority of these players, I’d guess around 50% at least, don’t read strategy; and this is why they lose their money.

The question how much do poker players make depends most upon the stake they play. Similar to any business or industry, the larger you invest, the more you gain. If you are playing $200/$400 No Limit Holdem, than winning 5 big blinds a day will make you $1,000/day.

The problem with playing such high stakes however, is that they require large bankrolls. At $200/$400, you’re going to need a total poker bankroll of 100 buyins of $40,000 – that’s $4 million in total. Unfortunately, for most people, they’ll need to earn a large enough bankroll at smaller stakes until they’re able to enter higher stakes games. Most professionals however started their career playing smaller stakes such as $1/2 and building their way up, so it’s not completely impossible.  My friend Andy started to learn poker back in 2003, and he now earns $100k/year online.  Basically, the better and the more often you play, the faster you’ll rise through the stakes and make money. Tom Durrrr Dwan started with a $50 bankroll and in under 5 years turned that into a $10 million bankroll.

How Much Can New Poker Players Make?

This answer depends on the stakes and bankroll you play. However for new poker players who’ve just learned poker strategy and are playing online for the first time, I’d recommend playing the $0.05/0.10 No Limit Holdem tables. On these tables, I doubt you’ll mke much more than $10 per day profit, however after a few weeks, you should be good enough to try the $0.10/0.20 No Limit Cash Tables, which will earn you about $20-50 profit per day.  If you continue like this, grinding up the stakes, you’ll begin to start making lot’s of money online. 
 

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