Novice players often ask the question: "Is it possible to make money playing poker?" Since poker is a game where dynamics and trends are constantly changing, it is more appropriate to ask: “Can I earn money in poker?”. Before you determine the amount of money that you can win in poker, it is important to assess whether you really have the necessary game and psychological skills to make a profit.
How long does it take to make poker your source of earnings?
It’s worth talking about a time frame from a few months to two years (for most players). However, not all players have the ability to consistently earn money playing poker.
Factors that affect the time required to become a profitable poker player:
Within a few months, a player may turn from a newbie into a medium regular, while another one may never be able to make money playing Texas Hold'em (any other form of poker). In modern realities, the desire to earn money playing poker requires serious commitment, passion and strong willingness to win money. Are you ready to devote dozens or even hundreds of hours of your life to grind at the poker tables and to analyze your game? Remember that even your hard work outside the tables and the right game may not bring you positive results immediately, but it will always be beneficial for you in a long-distance of played tournaments or hands in a cash game.
Necessary requirements to quickly become a winning poker player:
This is actually a question that cannot be answered. Poker is not a fixed-salary job; any professional player will face downswing sooner or later. Sometimes poker players may earn their annual profit in just one day of playing, and during the downswing, they can play breakeven poker or go into the red for weeks or months. But it is still possible to answer some points of the question about the average income of a poker player. The first thing to note is that the amount and rate of making money vary greatly depending on the poker discipline you choose: tournaments or cash games.
It often seems to newbies that best tournament players earn lots of money. It’s because poker portals display only the amount of prize money and do not take into account the money that players spend on buy-ins.
The net profit of a tournament player is the sum of prize money minus the amount spent on buy-ins; the actual amount of money that a tournament poker player earns is actually much less than many people expect.
Example from Daniel Negreanu
To illustrate this point, let’s take Daniel Negreanu as an example. 2013 became one of the most successful years in his career, and in the second half of the year, he shared his statistics of actual results.
The Canadian played a total of 51 tournaments. Daniel was able to make a profit of $944 126. This result is certainly impressive, but he managed to reach a prize zone of 11 tournaments only and it means that if he hadn't managed to win two major events (WSOP APAC and WSOP High Roller), he would probably have completed that year with a minus result.
Unlike tournament players, cash grinders earn money playing poker more stably, but they aren’t often able to achieve the prize money that is played in large MTT. In accordance with current realities, a skilled cash player can expect to win 5-7 big blinds / 100 hands online at medium limits.
Obviously, the size of the table (6-max or 9-max) and the limits you play at, will affect the amount of money you may earn; however, by way of a general guide, you can classify winrates of 5 big blinds / 100 hands as a good result.
For example, NL50 (0.25 / 0.50¢) limit regular player, whose winrate is 5bb / 100 hands, will earn $2,50 for 100 played hands, $25 for 1 000 hands, and $250 for 10 000 hands. A good reg plays 2 000 hands per day at ordinary tables and minimum 5 000 hands if he plays ZOOM tables (or other fast poker formats). Of course, players may experience downstreaks and upstreaks, but at a large game distance, winrates will certainly coincide with the earned profit.
Poker is a dynamic game, and it is very important for players of all skill levels (both for beginners and professionals) to constantly improve their game. Indeed, in addition to choosing the right game format, you need to make sure that you are familiar with the latest strategy trends of the poker world.
For instance, a couple of years ago, a strong player could simply make preflop 3-bets with a wide range and take money from opponents who gave up too easily. However, since poker has evolved, most players began to adopt this aggressive style, and now 3-bet is not an as powerful weapon as it used to be earlier. The best players now put less at preflop. Moreover, they reduced the size of their preflop raises from 3 big blinds to 2,5 and 2bb.
The only way to stay updated with the latest events is to familiarize yourself with the latest strategies, watch training videos and regularly analyze your own game. In addition, having competent friends in the poker community can help to increase your chances to succeed.
One more important aspect of the game (if you want to earn money playing poker) is your psychological resistance. Tilt may be fatal and turn a winning player into a loser simply because emotions prevent him from making rational decisions. The nature of your results and how much you can win at the poker table depends on a number of factors: from the number of players at the table to play limits and your way of thinking.
It is not as easy to make money in online poker as it sounds. Even the best players do not win every time they join the table. You need to constantly improve your play skills, choose the most profitable games and the most profitable time. Only by following these tips, you can overcome the negative variance and get meaningful poker earnings.