We get a lot of questions about poker, and one of the most popular from inexperienced players is, "Can you make money playing poker?" The simple answer here is, "Yes." The more appropriate question for anyone to ask would be, "Can I make money playing poker?" The response to which is a bit more complicated. This conversation quickly turns to the inexperienced player wondering, "How much can you make playing poker?"
The answers to these questions and others along these lines are not always easy. There are many factors to consider, and in this article we will examine a few.
From afar, it is often assumed that poker's elite tournament players are raking in unbelievable sums of money each year. Usually, the reason for this is that a player winning a large amount in one tournament is often reported by the various news outlets, but the many tournaments the player finishes out of the money in do not make the news. Since net profit is winnings minus buy-ins, and many professional players actually have a backing deal, the total amount that even elite players make on average per year is generally far less than many would assume.
However, some elite players do extremely well by playing poker for a living. How much money you can make from playing poker largely depends on three categories: how skilled and dedicated a player you are, the stakes that you play, and how much time you're willing to put in.
Being a skilled and dedicated poker player is a crucial component to making as much money possible. Poker is a constantly evolving game, and studying is very important for players of all skill levels. For a beginning player, reading books and strategy articles, in addition to hiring a coach could be steps in the right direction. Joining a poker training site to watch videos from respected coaches could be a good idea for players of any skill level. Additionally, having friends that play well and being involved with a poker community such as Cards Chat can enable the player to think more critically.
Being a dedicated poker player also means that one is in control of their mental well-being while at the tables. A player that is best in the world when in the right mindset, but only plays when angry or upset could turn out to no longer be a winning player. Fortunately, there are many resources for players that find it tough to play their A-game after a bad beat, and part of being a winning poker player is finding ways to maintain a focused demeanor regardless of the situation.
Of course, the stakes a person plays also affect the amount of money they can make. In general, the higher the stakes, the more potential for a large profit. However, there are many important caveats to that statement. First, in order to have the long-term potential for profit, the player must be a winner at the stakes they play.
For example, let's say a player is beating live $1/$2 at an average rate of $20 per hour (which, considering the high rake, would be a pretty good hourly). If the same player jumped into a $5/$10 game and expected to maintain the same winrate in big blinds (amounting to $100 per hour), he would likely be disappointed. The reason for this is that competition generally becomes more difficult as you go up in stakes. You'll usually have a lower winrate in big blinds per hour – or return on investment for a tournament player – as you increase buyin, but may still earn more per hour in dollar terms.
A person could be the best poker player in the world and yet go quite a long time without winning any money. Besides variance, how could this be possible? Because if the player doesn't do the work of actually playing, it is impossible for him to make money! There's a common stereotype of poker players as being lazy, which is ironic in an industry where a winning player can have a positive expectation to increase his income with every session.
How much money you can make from playing poker is a combination of many factors, such as the level of skill you possess, how often, and at what stakes you decide to play. While the general population's assumptions for elite poker players' salaries is likely out of touch with reality, it is certainly realistic for a dedicated person to make a successful living from playing poker.
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