Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How to Make $1000 a Month Playing Online Poker

make $1000 a month playing online poker
Let's face it, a lot of people play online poker to make money. And there is nothing wrong with that. I will be the first to admit that I play this game first and foremost to make those dollar bills. Ideally lots of them!

So people send me emails or leave comments all the time asking how can they make $50 a day or $1000 a month for instance playing online poker. 

I always tell them that it isn't easy these days. I tell them that you need to be very disciplined, hard working, have the right strategy, bankroll, table selection, tilt control etc. 

But at the end of the day, I know that this isn't the answer that most of them want to hear. They want the straight info on exactly how to do it!

So as someone who has been profiting over $1000 a month at the micros for over a decade now I can provide a gameplan on how to do it. I need to warn you that it isn't easy though...

Ah who am I kidding, let's just get right into it!


1. Play Low Stakes Cash Games (The Micros)


99% of my experience in poker is in low stakes cash games online, the micros. By this I mean stakes where you can buyin for as little as $2. I still think this is the best place for people to start playing poker online and turning a consistent profit.

I have made $1000+ a month even at the very lowest stakes cash games many, many times. However, it would be extremely difficult to do this in today's games. The reason why is that the games have tightened up in the last 5-10 years and this means that winrates have dropped as well.

Now don't get me wrong, anything is still possible if you really want it bad enough. For instance, I would be willing to wager a lot of money that I could make 1k in a month at NL2, the very lowest limit. 

However, I would need to lock myself in a room for the entire month, have zero social life, and play some insane amount of hands like half a million. 

Doable for a crazy 20 or 30 tabling sick grinder like me (and for the right prop bet price!). Not exactly achievable for most regular people though. 


2. Play at Least NL10, Probably NL25


So realistically you need to be playing a bit higher stakes these days in order to make 1k a month. I would say that the first stake where this is possible for somebody who plays consistently would be NL10. 

This would mean winning 100 buyins in a single month. This is not impossible for a top winner playing heavy volume at these stakes. And since you can also start making a little bit of rakeback on the side by this limit as well, this makes it a bit easier. 

But even still, this is probably not realistic for most people. NL10 is not a walk in the park these days and most people do not multi-table for several hours every day as would be required. 

So I would say that for the average person NL25 is probably the first stake where you could realistically make $1000 a month playing online poker. 

This game has a $25 buyin which means that you only need to make 40 buyins in order to profit a cool thousand. This means that you also only need to win a little over one buyin a day, easily doable for any solid winner in this game.

Also, rakeback can easily amount to several hundred dollars a month by this stake. So this makes getting there considerably easier as well.


3. Play a Tight and Aggressive Strategy

Let's talk strategy now. How should you play your cards?

The best strategy to use at these stakes is often called TAG which stands for "tight and aggressive." This is the style of play that I would recommend for making the most money in micro stakes cash games. 

This means that you are selective about which hands you play, that you play most of them in position and that you play them aggressively after the flop as well. 

And realistically, if you plan to win big at these stakes then you should also be using a HUD and know how to find the other player's weaknesses and exploit them. 

Lastly, and probably most importantly of all, you should be mentally strong enough to be able to implement all of this even when the cards go south on you and you are losing for days or even weeks on end.

Lengthy downswings are common in today's games even for the biggest winners. So keeping your cool when this happens is arguably the biggest factor in your success. 

If you want to know the basics of TAG strategy and tilt control then I would suggest picking up a copy of my free poker ebook. This is more than enough to get you started at the micros.


4. Find the Tables With the Fish on Them


Another thing that you are going to have to do in order to make it to NL25 and start banking 1k a month is table select. 

At the very lowest stakes you can usually still get away with playing on any table you want. There are still bad players everywhere. But once you start to climb up the limits there is simply no guarantee that there will be even a single fish at your tables. 

This is a big problem if having a high winrate and profit in this game is your goal. The really bad players who play way too many hands, call way too much and chase every draw are where the real money is at in this game. 

If you aren't making a consistent effort to play in games with them then you can expect a very small winrate at best.

So I would suggest that you play on the right poker sites for starters and then also learn how to spot the fish, tag them and attract them to your tables.

Once you get seated at a table with the rec players then you also want to be isolating the crap out of them and basically trying to get their money faster than all of the other regs. 

Call it predatory, call it whatever you want. I call it winning poker. 


5. Try Playing Tournaments or Sit and Gos


Lastly, let's not forget that cash games aren't the only way to make money playing poker. Many people also play big multi-table tournaments (MTTs) or sit and gos (SNGs). Can you make 1k a month playing in these? Yes you can but a lot of the same ideas from above apply. 

You probably aren't going to reach your target playing at the very lowest stakes in the 1$ games for instance. You are going to have to move up a few limits, at least the $5 games, maybe the $10 ones. 

You are also going to need to develop a solid TAG strategy for these games but you also have to tailor it to the different structure of these formats. 

For instance, in tournaments the stack sizes are usually very shallow by the middle and late stages (30bb or less). This means that you often only have two options, all-in or fold. If you try calling and playing "small ball" style pots like in a cash game, I can guarantee that it won't work out very well for you.

The great thing about tournaments though is that they still attract a ton of big fish. Recreational players love the idea of getting lucky and hitting the big score. This is the type of poker that they always show on TV after all. 

We all just witnessed 25 year old Scott Blumstein win 8.1 million dollars for instance by taking down the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event. Well played sir, must be nice!

Fish see this kind of thing and immediately log online to try their hand at tournaments. So I do think there is great value to be had in these formats. The main problem though is that the money is not nearly as consistent as cash games. 

For instance if you got fairly good at tournaments and move up a few stakes, then these might be your results:
  • Month 1 - breakeven
  • Month 2 - breakeven
  • Month 3 - +$5000
  • Month 4 - breakeven
  • Month 5 - breakeven

You get the idea. It still equals out to 1k a month in the end but there is no consistent money in tournaments. Most months will be breakeven or a small loss and then once in awhile you will hit an epic score. 

This is the life of a tournament player. You also need to be prepared to be chained to your chair for many hours at a time. In a cash game, you can leave whenever you want.


Final Thoughts


So is it possible to make $1000 a month playing online poker? Yes, but you are going to have to get decently good at this game, make sure you are table selecting and move up a few limits as well. 

This means probably the 25 dollar buyin games if you play cash and the $5 buyin games if you plan to play tournaments or sit and gos. 

Furthermore, achieving this goal will require consistent play. If you only play poker for a few hours on the weekends for instance, then there is no way that you are going to make this happen. 

If you are a part time player like this, then you are going to need to play much higher stakes in order to make 1k a month no matter what the format is. 

Let me know your thoughts below on this. Do you think it is possible to make a cool thousand at the micros these days? How would you do it?

If you found this article helpful do me a quick favor and "Like" or "Tweet" it below. Thanks!

make money online poker 1k

20 comments:

  1. Hi Nathan,
    great post as always. Could you recommend a blog or site like yours with such valuable information for mtt stt and sng. I read your interview with abarone but there is no more new content on his page. I could not find a good blog etc for crushing today's sng and mtt.
    Regards

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    1. Thanks Fresh Prince! Sorry, but I am not sure about other blogs for mtts and sngs. Maybe somebody else who reads this will know.

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  2. Hello Nathan, Are you playing hard today? Could you stream it for us to see you playing on videos or live?

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    1. Hey Luciano,

      I write this blog, articles for pokernews and am working on a new book as well so I don't grind as much as I used to. There are tons of videos of me playing though on youtube and dragthebar. I also put out a video series last year called the NL2 mastery course. Streaming is not really something I am interested in but who knows, maybe in the future.

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    2. Thanks for the quick answer. The videos I saw, but we know its has been made a long time and maybe a lot of way to play some spots, nowadays d be played some diferent forms. I ll wait some to future, I m sure they will help us a lot ;)

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  3. "Furthermore, achieving this goal will require consistent Play" my Goal is 100hours a month at least and I did so the last 3 month.. you think at least 100 hours a month is consistent enough?
    Thank you in advance and Keep the good work :)

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    1. Yup that is certainly a good amount.

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  4. What adjustments do you make for NL50?

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    1. I spend even more time table selecting and also studying the regs in PT4.

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  5. Very encouraging article for me to grind out that winrate, thanks Blackrain

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  6. Hi Blackrain79, thank you for your articles and videos.
    I started playing poker many years ago and I grinded every kind of holdem game such as sit&go, mtt, cash, spin, etc... Since I started reading your blog one year ago and watching your videos my game has improved not only in the game itself but also the table selection, bankroll management, tilt control, etc.. I've always been a winning player since I started playing poker years ago but now I have a real plan to move up through levels. I started again with 25$ playing at NL2 in october (I also downloaded your HUD setup and started using it, before I had PT but just to track my results) and after 8 months and hundreds of thousands of hands I can now beat NL10 6max at 10bb/100 on 8-10 tables and my game in tournaments improved too (just finished 215 over 25000 at sunday storm some weeks ago). I plan to move up as soon as I reach the bankroll target and will keep reading your blog.
    Thank you, your help was very precious and your history such inspiring. I wish you all the best.

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    1. Wow awesome work swisskunk and glad I could help! Keep it up and let me know how it goes :)

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  7. EXCELLANT POST. HAVE YOUR VIDEO AND WELL WORTH THE MONEY. TKS FOR YOUR HELP ON SNG WHICH I PRIMARILY PLAY. WISH U COACHED SNG ? LOL AND BEST WISHES. YES AM SHOUTING THIS, SO LISTEN ?? AL

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    1. Haha thanks Al for the "shout"!

      Glad my videos help. Sorry but I do not coach SNGs.

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  8. What a GREAT POST! Thanks to you poker paying for everything in my life right now as student at college.

    I'am sorry to bother you with question, but, i played 300k hands at NL2 11BB/100 in last 2 months, 16 - 18 tabling. Do you think it's better idea to learn to play constantly 24 tables at NL2, or really try to get used to NL5 at less tables?

    Goal is for course more $/hourly. :)

    Anyway it's really amazing that you keeping this posts actual with no bullshit.
    Thanks

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    1. Thank you so glad I could help :)

      Nice winrate! The answer to your question is different for everybody. Mass tabling NL2 is low stress, low variance easy money. But if you ever want to turn this game into a significant income, and a higher hourly, then it is necessary to move up.

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  9. Hi Nathan, I'm off topic but it might be interesting. I was looking at my stats on PT4 (by position) and, with 320K hands played at NL2, I won around $ 315 from button and lost 310 from the Big Blind (average win rate 6 BB/100), but if I look at the stat of my won without the blinds I won around 1.000 from the BB. Does it mean I'm missing opportunities from the button and I'm playing much better from the BB?

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    1. Hey Andrea, it is tough to say. I remember having about a 50bb/100 winrate I think from the button in that game. I was losing slightly in the blinds. It might be a little less than this in today's games if I grinded NL2 all the time.

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