How Much Money Do Online Poker Players Make?
Money, money, money: it’s what everyone wants and any possibility to make more than you currently do is something anyone would seriously consider. But how do you make a living playing poker and how much can you expect to make? Read our guide to find out all you need to know about poker playing for a living and learn how to win enough money from online poker to be able to call it a job.
Can you really make enough money from online poker games to keep a roof over your head and food on the table? Yes, of course you can. Many others have done it, but it’s not an easy path to take. The key if you want to make a living playing poker is the ability to win money at online poker games and tournaments as often as possible. How much could you expect to earn from a career as a poker pro? Will you be rich? Will you have to put in long hours? We’ll tell you everything you need to know in this handy guide.
How to Make Money Playing Online Poker
So, you’ve decided you want to make a living playing poker and you think you can make enough money playing online poker games for this to be a reality. Assuming that you’ve taken all the necessary steps to begin with and have immersed yourself in the world of poker, watching live tournaments, reading strategy guides and poker pros autobiographies and playing as many practice or low stakes hands as possible, then you might well be ready to make money online. Poker is an exciting game and if you’ve got what it takes there’s money to be made.
You will need self-discipline and you need to make poker your whole life in order to win enough money playing online poker. You will need a significant bankroll to start – it is recommended that you have enough money for six months of poker playing and all your living expenses, including rent, bills, etc. So, half a year should be your starting capital. That might sound like a lot, but you need to make sure you can still live comfortably. There should be no panic-playing and in order to make money playing online poker games you will need to be cool and calculated, never rash.
You should ensure you budget for every eventuality and it is imperative you keep a log of your profits and losses – it doesn’t need to be done to an accountant’s standards, but you should be able to completely understand your current financial situation at any given moment. If you’re serious about this you need to see your playing as a business and if you want to make money, online poker needs to be treated the same way as any other organisation with proper records kept of all transactions.
As you improve as a player, so will your bankroll. To win money online, poker needs to be mastered and you should see every hand as a new learning experience. Just keep reminding yourself that your career is now doing something you’re passionate about.
Average Salary of Professional Poker Players
There are a number of people who make a living playing poker, both online and offline. The guys you see in TV tournaments, such as Daniel Negreanu, have been playing for many years and their earnings of millions of dollars are certainly way above what you can expect when you first start to use poker to make money. Online games rarely have the same kind of pot sizes and prize funds of huge TV tournaments, but that’s not to say you can’t live very comfortably as a full-time poker player.
The amount you can earn from online poker will depend on the amount that you stake. There are four levels of online poker player: beginner, amateur, pro and elite. You probably find yourself hopefully in the amateur section after all the hundreds of hours of practice and you need to step up to the pro level in order to make enough money playing online poker games to truly call it a profitable career.
Beginners will play at tournaments with an average buy-in of $10 and have an average win rate of $0.13 per hour and amateurs will play at those with an average of $50 buy-in and can expect to make $2.50 an hour. This is obviously not enough to make a living unless you want to spend over 100 hours a week at the tables.
The good news is that pros can expect to make a lot more. With an average buy-in of $200 a pro player can expect to win money at online poker at a rate of $40, per hour. Now we’re talking.
If you get to reach the dizzy heights of the poker elite then your buy-ins will average $500 and you can expect an hourly win rate of $300.
What Can You Expect?
You can expect to win money. Online poker is your business now and after all the hours you’ve put in you should definitely win more than you lose. It might surprise you how many absolute beginners think they’re amateurs and play in tournaments that are above their ability. This is good news for you as you can capitalise on these out-of-depth players on your quest to make a living playing poker.
The hourly rate will be low at this point, very low, but you will be good enough to win a lot of hands and a lot of tournaments. Expect to have to spend every waking moment at an online poker table at this level.
Once you are ready and step up to the pro level you will be playing against some real sharks. You might feel you lose more than you win, but the hourly rate will increase. You can’t expect the $40 an hour average straight away, but $10 or $15 will seem like a fortune compared to what you earned at amateur level. And if you want to make money, online games with other pros will move you into the career poker player league.
If you make it as far as the elite – few do – you’ll really start making the big bucks. You’ll have gone beyond your plan of “making a living playing poker” to “making a fortune playing poker”. If you do get to this stage, don’t become complacent. Poker is a never-ending learning experience.
Improving Your Earnings
As we’ve shown, the average earnings for an amateur poker player are quite low, but that’s not to say you can’t be a very good and above average poker player. You can certainly make a living playing poker at an amateur level and once you’re good enough you should play for the highest stakes you can at that level. You will need to put in some serious hours, but it is feasible to win enough money from amateur online poker to consider yourself a successful small business owner, which is basically what you now are.
The same goes with professional poker. You don’t have to play $200 buy-in games, there are lower stakes professional games that you can play and will certainly be more comfortable with in the beginning.
If you want to make money from online poker games you will need to learn how many hours you need to put in and what your staking plan should be. Obviously, if you want to make more you need to stake more, but you also need to be able to get out of games you can’t win with minimal damage.
You will also need to learn how to keep a level head and when to fold fairly early in your career, but your playing style might need to be adjusted based on who you are playing. You might find that certain types of tournament, and even certain times of the day, suit you best. Any trends that you can identify which can help you make a living playing poker will be a great help to you.
A Career as a Poker Player
Now you know what it might take, do you still think that you can make enough money playing online poker games to make a living? Playing poker is fun and if you’ve made it this far and are committed to learning, practising, taking the rough with the smooth and earning very little in the beginning, there is nothing stopping you becoming a success. You will win money and lose money at online poker, but the trick is to maximise winnings and minimise losses in order to come out well ahead.
With the right mindset, a healthy bankroll and the urge to keep learning, you can and will make a living playing poker online. Treat it as a business and be dedicated to the art of poker playing and you might not be earning the same kind of salary as Daniel Negreanu and company, but you’ll be doing better than if you were working in an office or a warehouse. And you’ll be doing what you love.