There are several reasons that someone might consider a career in poker, such as its high-earning potential and accessibility thanks to online tournaments. In fact, Michael Oliver, the head of R&D and partnerships at Gammastack, reports that there is currently a huge increase in new online poker players and even more are looking to participate in face-to-face tournaments like the World Series Of Poker.
But because the game is known for its volatile nature and steep learning curve, the first question is whether it could be a profitable pursuit for people looking to get into the game.
The short answer is yes — provided that you devote the right amount of effort to learning and gaining experience. But if you’re wondering just how lucrative a career in poker can be, here are some things that you should know.
Poker’s timeless popularity
Whether or not you keep up with news about the poker world, it’s worth noting that the game continues to draw a massive loyal following. Even despite the pandemic halting in-person tournaments, live poker games have now recovered and are thriving more than ever before. Just take a look at the turnout for the World Series Of Poker in 2021. Restrictions and health protocols did nothing to hinder the tournament’s $10,000 buy-in Main Event, seeing more than 6,000 players enter — a drop from pre-pandemic attendance but consistent with numbers between 2007-2016 and exceeding the bleak expectations many industry insiders predicted. This shows that poker is alive and well, and will remain profitable no matter the circumstances for providers, tournaments and the players that frequent the pro circuit.
How much you can make from poker
There are now many more options when it comes to playing poker, either online or offline. Online poker is logistically much more accessible but there are certain aspects that are harder than live games. For instance, you cannot rely on reading an opponent’s body language online, as you cannot see the other players.
In terms of potential winnings, if you’re just starting out, playing micro stakes online like NL2, NL5, or NL10 could result in you winning as much as $500 per month. Playing small stakes games like NL50 and NL100 can see you win as much as $2,000 per month if you’re successful.
If you’re more experienced, you don’t have to limit yourself to either one of the aforementioned options. You could also consider playing some bigger tournaments once you feel comfortable around the felt. Iconic poker pros such as Phil Ivey is one of the best poker players of all time, and has succeeded in high-stakes online cash games, live tournaments, and live cash games, winning over $21 million in the process. Other prominent names in the industry, such as Dan Smith and Doyle Brunson have won millions of dollars as well.
Although this out of reach for most players, it does show you that the sky is the limit when it comes to the many possibilities poker offers.
Finding sponsorships from poker brands
Players often need a lot of money when playing live tournaments when factoring in transport, hotels, buy-ins, and all the other extra spending. One of the best ways to compensate for these expenses, as well as to increase your revenue and improve your brand as a poker player, is by finding sponsorships with big poker brands like PokerStars or partypoker. But that’s easier said than done.
It was far more common to find these sponsorships during the initial poker boom in the early 2000s, but these days, brands are more selective about who they align their brands with and work closely with.
Not only will you need to establish a reputation as one of the hottest up and coming poker players on the circuit, you’ll also have to have a large social media following that will draw attention to their brand. Ultimately poker is a game about skill, so to acquire these things you’ll have to work hard and build your brand as you go.
Just like with any high level career, playing poker can be extremely lucrative but only if you’re willing to put the time and effort into playing the game. Only the very best reach the top, and not many players are able to make a sustainable living from the game, so set your expectations early on.
If you enjoy playing poker on a regular basis and want to make it a career, then striving for success will be a rewarding experience.