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.

The best way to make $1000 a month playing online poker is to play low stakes cash games, but play at least NL10 and preferably NL25. You also need to stick to a tight and aggressive strategy and make sure that you are always table selecting. If you do all of this then it is possible to make $1000 a month playing poker.

However, I do need to warn you that it isn't easy these days. You need to be very disciplined, hard working, have the right strategy, bankroll, table selection, tilt control and so on to achieve this.

But at the end of the day, I know that this isn't the answer that most people 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 micro stakes online for over a decade now, I am going to provide you with a gameplan on exactly how to do 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.

By the way, if you want to watch me discuss this article instead of reading it, I have now made a video for it as well:

Make sure you are subscribed to my poker YouTube channel so you never miss my new videos.

Back to the article...

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.

By the way, if you do choose to play a lot of tables, make sure you are using a good free poker HUD so that you get quick high quality reads on all your opponents.

2. Play at Least NL10, Probably NL25

So realistically then you need to be playing a bit higher stakes these days in order to make $1000 a month. I would say that the first stake where this is possible for somebody who plays consistently would be NL10.

NL10 is the 5c/10c blinds cash game with a $10 maximum buyin. So making $1000 in this game 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.

Rakeback by the way is the cash bonuses and such that almost all poker sites offer you as an incentive to play there. 

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 (10c/25c blinds) 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.

By the way, I have already written a complete guide on moving up from NL10 to NL25 which you can find right here.

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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.

In fact, Daniel Negreanu even mentions in his new advanced poker training program that this is his recommended style of play in high stakes games as well.

A TAG poker strategy essentially means 3 things:
  • You are very selective about which hands you choose to play
  • You also pay close attention to your position at the poker table when deciding which hands to play
  • You play your hand very aggressively after the flop

You can almost think of poker like a chess game. Gain position and make very decisive and aggressive actions when the opportunities present themselves.

How to make $1000 a month playing poker

If you plan to wining big in poker is your priority then you need to have a clear plan of action for every single hand and make firm decisions.

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. 

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 $1000 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 huge profits in this game is your goal!

Me hunting for the fish:

And this is because 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 easier 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.

By the way, if you are curious how I multi-table online poker and still keep track of where all the fish are, yes I do use several poker software aids and tools to help me.

For the complete list of all poker software tools I use as a pro, click here. 

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.

Make $1000 a month playing poker tournaments

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.

For my ultimate guide to low stakes poker tournament strategy, click here.

Is Poker a Good Way to Make a Sustainable Income?

As I just mentioned, the biggest problem with making money from poker is that there is a ton of variance involved. You will have large wins followed by (hopefully not as large) losses.

This is one of the biggest reasons why relying on poker as a sustainable income is difficult.

But as somebody who has relied on poker to pay my bills, I can tell you that the top pros know that the key to success is good bankroll management.

What I mean by that is having a large poker bankroll and a solid amount of savings in the bank/investments, that will sustain you through the tough times.

Because poker simply isn't like a regular job where you can show up each day and expect to have a steady paycheque for your bills every month.

Many professional poker players have losing months and sometimes even losing years in the case of tournament pros.

So I always recommend having at least 30 buy-ins if you play cash games and at least 100+ buy-ins if you play tournaments.

You should also have a bare minimum of 6 months living expenses saved up that is completely separate from your poker bankroll.

You can find my complete guide to poker bankroll management for both semi-pros and pros right here.

Can You Be a Professional Poker Player Making $1000 Per Month?

Another question that I often get is can you make it as a poker pro by earning $1000 per month (on average).

And the answer to that question is that it entirely depends on your life situation.

For somebody like me who moved to Southeast Asia and lives a pretty simple life, no kids, no car, sure I could make it.

As I discuss in my latest YouTube video, I could honestly probably get by making just $50 a day from poker.

And that is because the cost of living in many countries like Thailand, the Philippines and so on is much cheaper than many expensive western countries like the one I am from for example, Canada.

So there are many online poker pros for example who have moved to low cost countries in Southeast Asia or Latin America who do just fine.

By the way, I discuss this in much more detail in my new Elite Poker University training. 

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But the real question is should you go pro when you are only making $1000 per month from poker? I would say that the answer to that question should be no for most people.

$1000 per month is a good side income, but ideally I would want to be making more in the neighbourhood of $3000-$10000 per month from poker before seriously considering it as a profession.

And even then, believe me when I say that the old saying is so true: "poker is hard way to make an easy living."

It actually isn't nearly as glamorous as it sounds and there are many long hours spent grinding small edges in tough games.

With all that said though, poker still provides a good opportunity for some people to make a good side income.

There is nothing wrong with keeping your day job and just playing this game semi-professionally!

In fact, in many ways it is superior because you still get that steady paycheque each month, and the mental stress of the game therefore won't affect you nearly as much.

Final Thoughts

So is it possible to make $1000 a month playing online poker? Yes, but you are going to have to learn some advanced poker strategy and make sure you are table selecting as well.

You will also need to move up a few limits. This means probably the $25 dollar buyin games if you play cash or 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 $1000 a month no matter what the format is. 

You also need to work on your tilt control because in low stakes poker games you are going to face a lot of bad beats and suckouts. This is just the nature of playing against loose and crazy players.

Lastly, if you want to know the strategy I use to consistently make $1000 a month in low stakes poker games, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

Do you make $1000 a month from poker? If so tell me how in the comments below.

Make 1k a month playing poker


  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.

    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.

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

    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.

    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 ;)

  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 :)

    1. Yup that is certainly a good amount.

  4. What adjustments do you make for NL50?

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

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

  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.

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


    1. Haha thanks Al for the "shout"!

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

  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.

    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.

  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?

    1. I play 6max not full ring

    2. 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.

  10. Great post Nathan thanks a lot for sharing. I am break-even player since 1 year or some months -2bb etc. I bought pokersnowie for see to my hands for improving my game but pokersnowie says to me true game. +ev play. But I am break-even always. I want to work to upgrade my winrate but I don't know where can I start. Or what's your advice for me ?? Thanks a lot and sorry for my bad English. I hope you understand me. Thank you

  11. And I play part time. I have only 2 or 3 hours in a day. And I cash game player. NL 50 and 100 mix

    1. Hi Riza,

      No problem, glad you liked this article.

      My first advice would be to drop down a level or two. If you have been breakeven for over a year this is probably more than just a run of bad luck. I would move down to NL25 at a minimum and see if your results improve there against the weaker competition.

      Secondly, I would suggest that you spend some time reviewing your hands in a program like Pokertracker. This will allow you to find out exactly where the leaks are. I talk about how to do this in this article of mine

  12. I have been a successful player at mtts and sngs at for years, but since in every book I read it says that you should play cash game if you are serious about poker I decided to take a shot at it.

    After a year of grinding I just could not beat NL5 on stars, but that wasn't the worst part, I was also bored out of my freaking mind, I just can't stand Cash Game.

    I switched to MTT and SNG on Ipoker, never have I seen so much green in my life, already made it to first place in a few hundreds ppl tournament twice and it's only been a couple months.

    1. Hey Thomas,

      Great stuff, you should definitely play the one that you enjoy the most. Some people aren't wired for cash games or tournaments.

  13. What the level is appropriate, to realistically make 3000 a month?

  14. Hey black rain, how do you manage to play 20 and 30 tables at one time? Seems like a mechanical strategy. Do you always play TAG style even at higher limits?

    1. I don't actually play that many tables very often anymore but yes always a TAG style when playing this many tables. This is too much for me to play LAG.

      I explain how I play 20+ poker tables in this article: