For many, the role of professional poker player is a dream career. The hours are flexible and you can work from anywhere in the world thanks to the proliferation of fantastic online poker sites.
However, making the leap from hobbyists to pro is one that comes with risk attached. Everyone wants to know how much pro players make but as few as a quarter make money in the long-term and only a tiny 10% actually win enough from the game to go pro, so before you jump in, do your research. Although the appeal of becoming your own boss and choosing your hours may be great, you need to know what you’re doing.
Some professional poker players focus on tournaments, while others stick primarily to cash games. Many are successful business people who have decided to focus on their most lucrative business area, some are maths academics and others are everyday people who simply have a talent for the card game. The most successful among them see poker as a series of intelligent decisions rather than a high-risk game of chance. They exercise control, place limits on the cash they’re prepared to lose and set themselves win targets. Some play professionally as a side line, augmenting a regular income. For example, you could simply aim to make around $100 each day, playing for four or five hours, and put that money away for a holiday, new car or Christmas gifts.
Others go all out and make professional poker playing their full-time occupation. The money you could potentially win at poker depends on three key things. Firstly, and obviously, your win rate – that is the number of hands you actually walk away with. In turn, this number is impacted by the volume of hands you play. Additionally, the stakes you play (whether micro, low, medium, high or a mixture) will have their impact on your bottom line.
When you look at the average earnings of a poker player, which amount to around $50,000, compared to the take-home pay of some other pro sports players operating in Australia, they compare pretty well. For example, a horse racing jockey earns, on average, just $44,000 and their job is one that comes with associated physical risks. An A-league soccer player takes home a moderately more impressive $70,000, although the highest earners in this sport can command as much as $5,500,000. Moving into other sports and the wage comparison begins to look less attractive for prospective pro poker players. Sports pros in basketball (NBL), rugby (Rugby League), football (Australian Rules Football) and cricket (Big Bash League) earn $200,000, $1,500,000, $1,500,000, and $4,500,000 respectively. Of course, the main reason for this is that becoming a professional poker player is much easier to break into than becoming a traditional sports star.
As the below infographic shows you. It’s certainly possible to achieve a good standard of living by becoming a pro poker player as long as you play smart, and play the right kinds of hands. and, although other sports people may continue to enjoy much higher financial rewards, for the everyday person hoping to reclaim some independence, escape a terrible boss or turn their passion into a career, pro poker playing delivers every time.
Infographic provided by 888Poker.com