How much do Poker Pros earn?

by Jeremy Olson on July 25, 2012

One of the most open-ended questions in poker involves how much professional players can make. And this is certainly a very difficult question to answer because “pro” is a very loaded word. After all, professional poker players range from online grinders who make $40k in profits a year to guys like Phil Ivey who collect millions annually from online and live poker.

Ivey is the type of guy that poker sites and tournament organizations like to advertise because he’s among the best of the best. Going further, Ivey probably has a 20-30% ROI and wins around 2BB per hour in the biggest cash games. Obviously this is unrealistic for the average player, and the real picture of a poker pro’s winnings are much different.

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To set up an example of the average pro grinder, let’s assume somebody plays $110 buy-in online poker tournaments on average and has a 20% ROI; this means that they’re collecting $22 per tourney. Seeing as how many MTT’s take several hours to complete, this isn’t quite enough to make a living off of. But now let’s also say that the same player multi-tables four tourneys; this would roughly give them a $22 an hour profit, which is enough to make a modest living.

As for an average cash game pro, let’s look at somebody who plays live $5/$10 NL Hold’em games. If they were to earn 2BB an hour, which is actually pretty good in live $5/$10 NL, the player would be earning around $20 an hour. Furthermore, if they played 50 hours a week, this would translate into $1,000 in weekly profits and $50k per year.

Obviously the situations of poker pros differ vastly, but the previously discussed cases are just examples of what one would expect from the average professional.