How Much Do Professional Live Poker Players Make?
Average Poker Players Yearly Income
Depending on what stakes they play, professional poker players can make as little as $10,000 a year up to $1,000,000 or even more.
We’ve gotten some real numbers from real pros in Florida and found that a semi-top tier live poker pro playing $5/10 NLHE can make $100,000-$250,000 a year. If you go down a rung to $2/5 NLHE, that number dips a bit, but not too much. Players at that level can average $70 an hour while players at $5/10NLHE can average $100 an hour.
Cash games give players a steadier and more predictable hourly rate, but professional tournament players go through big swings throughout the year. Some professional tournament players can go months without a big score and then have one year-saving tournament win.
How much pros make depends on how much work they’re willing to put in. That’s one of the similarities poker shares with sports betting. The more work you put into your game, the more successful you’ll be in your poker career. There will always be ups and downs, but a strong foundation will help boost the highs and mitigate the lows. Many pros often set goals for themselves. If you want to make $20,000 a month, you should frame your stakes and play style to achieve it. Don’t make it a frantic goal though, always make sure to employ proper bankroll management and always be careful when taking shots outside your bankroll.
How Much Do Professional Poker Players Make?
Top professional poker players can easily make over $5,000,000 per year playing poker. Only a handful of players are capable of pulling off results like these though. These players know the math better than anyone, they’re feared at the tables and read any situation exceptionally well. Players at this level include Daniel Negreanu, Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey. But even these players have tremendous swings throughout their careers. It’s hard to calculate exactly how much these players win since you have to factor in the buy-ins, stakes, swaps and other bets they make throughout the year.
Dan Bilzerian says he won $54 million off a single player and Bryn Kenney famously became the highest-earning player in history after having a phenomenal 2019. Kenney scored multiple seven-figure wins that year and won a whopping $30.3 million in a single year. He now tops the charts with $56.4 million in live tournament earnings.
While their results can vary, there’s no doubt that these guys are some of the best players in the world and have gotten there by working incredibly hard. Very few players can make it to this level and there are struggles, hard times and tons of trial-and-error on the way to the top.
Things are getting tougher too. In poker, you make money when your opponents make mistakes. There’s more poker knowledge and coaching than ever before and games are harder than they were just a few years ago. If you really want to reach the top tier these days, you’re going to have to work harder than ever.
Where Can I Play Poker Online?
If you’re ready to start your journey, you can check out our top recommended US online poker sites. From BetOnline to Bovada, we have in-depth reviews for each US poker site that you will see ranked. Check out the best US poker sites here! If you’re looking to get your poker career started for free, then check out our freeroll page for more information.
Top 5 US Poker Sites
Bankroll Management & Yearly Income
No matter what stage you’re in your poker career, responsible bankroll management is essential. Effectively managing your poker bankroll will determine your success as a player and allow you to efficiently rise the ranks in the poker world. Bankroll management can be tough even for some of the top players. It’s easy to get bored and then get carried away at higher stakes while risking too much of your bankroll.
If you stick to proper bankroll management you can blossom from an average to a good player, and maybe even a great player. Soon enough you could be one of those players on television scooping up huge pots at the World Series of Poker. Like all great things, that takes time and you have to put in the hours and master the game.
Stay in the Driver’s Seat, Don’t Get Complacent
Good players can make tons of money, but they can also lose tons of money. If you play games beyond your bankroll, you extend beyond your safe zone. There’s really no limit to the kinds of games you can find out there. So no matter how much money you have, you can always outspend your means. Even if you win a big tournament for $100,000 or more, you can go broke fairly quickly if you play beyond your means.
The difference between a consistent pro and a one-hit-wonder is bankroll management while establishing a solid reputation.Some players end up getting sponsored by major sites to play in big poker tournaments. These deals are becoming rarer as the years go on though.
Most good poker player’s yearly incomes could easily exceed $50,000. It might even approach $100,000 or more. If you’re a disciplined player who’s studied the game, you should be a favorite to win, whether you play poker tournaments, cash games, or sit and go’s.
The biggest part of poker is to be consistent while adjusting to your opponents. If your poker table is aggressive, play passive. If your poker table is passive, then play aggressively. Good players understand that doing the opposite of what your opponents want is a good strategy.
Money is Just a Way to Keep Count
There are lots of ups and downs in poker. That’s why you should focus on your long term growth and profit over short term results. Big wins or losses early on could be misleading. You could be playing perfect poker, but a stretch of bad cards can put you in the red. This doesn’t mean you should adjust.
Keep playing solid poker, work on your skills and you’ll eventually have an upswing. Poker can be incredibly difficult some days, yet very easy others. Focus on your approach to the game. Good players know when they made the right decision, even when they lose the hand or bust out.
Game selection is also important, but it requires a balance. It’s profitable to play against soft fields and weak players, but you also want to play against legit competition. This can make you a better player; iron sharpens iron. Selection is easier online than for live poker events, but you should always play the right limits. Even at the lower stakes games, there’s a lot of money to be made if you put in the hours and play solid poker.
Constant improvement is key. Even Daniel Negreanu talks about how hard it is to keep up with the next generation of poker pros. The best poker players re-evaluate themselves constantly. They analyze their failures and successes, always looking to see how they can improve. That takes an ability to self-assess with a critical, objective eye. It’s not easy, but doing that will put you ahead of the crowd.