Poker as a Side Hustle - How to Make $200 to $1000 a Month

Poker side hustle
Everybody seems to be looking for a side hustle these days. And who could blame them? It's just smart after all.

You should never rely on just one source of income because this is a recipe for disaster if that one source of income ever goes away.

So many people ask me if poker as a side hustle is possible. Can you make money from it? How much can you make and how much work does it require?

Well, as somebody who has played poker professionally for over 10 years and written 3 books on the game as well, I am going to break it all down for you in this article.


Poker as a Side Hustle - $200 a Month


Let's start off with some small money like $200 a month. Can you make $200 from poker as a side income quickly and easily?

The answer to that is yes.

Even if you only play online poker for example at the very lowest stakes, 1c/2c ($2 max buyin) games, it is very easy for even a beginner to make this amount in a month with regular play.

In the lowest stakes live games (in a casino) it is arguably even easier to do this because the competition is even easier to beat and the games play much bigger, minimum buyin is often $100.

Now of course you are going to need to learn some basic strategy in order to get your poker side hustle making a few hundred on the side each month.

And this is why I always suggest that poker beginners simply read my free little 50 page poker cheat sheet.

This little ebook teaches you the TAG (tight and aggressive) strategy that you need to know to beat these games.


In a nut shell this means:

  • Play tight preflop (15% of hands in 9max, 20% in 6max)
  • Play aggressively preflop (come in for a raise or 3bet most of the time)
  • CBet the flop often and the turn on scare cards versus weak players
  • Don't bluff very much
  • Don't tilt


If you don't know what some of this poker "jargon" means right now by the way it is all explained in my free book with step by step instructions and examples.

So the bottom line is that I think even somebody who is brand new to poker could be making $200 a month in a relatively short period of time, probably one month at the most.

It is important to keep in mind that $200 is actually quite a bit of money in most countries on earth.

And even if you are from a rich country like America, $200 a month from your side hustle in a very short amount of time is nothing to sneeze at!


Poker as a Side Hustle - $500 a Month


How about we bump this up to $500 a month now though? This is an amount of money that is a little bit more serious and will make a real difference to the finances of most people.

Unfortunately however the learning curve with poker does increase quite a bit. It will probably take you several months to start making $500 a month with poker as your side income.

You will need to be playing stakes of probably around 5c/10c online ($10 max buyin) or $1/$2 live.

You will need to learn the basic strategy that I discussed above already and you will also need to start studying a bit more advanced material as well in order to beat some decent players.




Now I should mention that everything I am discussing in this article is dependent on how much time and effort you put into your side hustle. But this would be the same in any other new business you decided to start as well.

So if you are able to play poker online for instance for 3 hours every single night after work, and say 6-8 hours a day on the weekends, making $500 a month from poker is not going to be too difficult.

But I am more or less writing this article for the average person who has a wife and kids perhaps and doesn't have this much time to devote to their side hustle.


Poker as a Side Hustle - $1000 a Month


Now once you step up to 4 digits a month, this is going to take a bit longer. Realistically if you are doing online poker as your side income you are going to need to be playing the 10c/25c ($25 max buyin) games now.

And unfortunately this is the first level in online poker where I would say that you need to know a little bit more than the basics to beat it. In other words, there are some decent players at this stake.

Now as I mentioned before, this just means that you are going to need to study some more advanced poker material beyond my free poker cheat sheet.


For instance you are going to need to start learning about:

  • What ranges mean
  • How to balance your ranges
  • 3Bet bluffing
  • 4Bet bluffing
  • How to counter aggro regs
  • How to bluff the nits


And so on.

None of this stuff is impossible to learn even if some of these words seem like a complete alien language to you right now. But realistically I would expect to spend 6 months learning this stuff before you can make $1000 a month with poker as a side hustle.

Now with live poker thankfully the path to $1000 a month is a little bit easier. You can still do this at the $1/$2 games because the competition is almost always really weak and the amount of money in play is relatively high.


Online Poker Versus Live Poker as a Side Hustle


Now the problem of course with live poker in a casino is that while it is a lot easier to win at, it is nowhere near as convenient.

Unless you literally live right beside a casino, you are likely going to have to commute just to get in a game.

Now I don't know about you, but after a long day of work and already commuting twice, the last thing I want to do is do that all over again!

And of course in some countries like the one I live in for instance (Thailand), there simply are no casinos. So playing live poker really isn't even possible for me and I almost always just play online.



So this is why I would recommend starting with online poker as a side hustle over live poker. Although perhaps you could mix the two as well.

For instance, play online poker during the week and then play live on the weekends when you aren't so tired after work and strapped for time.

The other thing about online poker is that you can multi-table. This is why you can make say $1000 a month in a relatively low stakes game such as 10c/25c that only has a $25 max buyin.

The reason why is because you can play 4, 8 or even more of these tables at once. Believe me, it sounds much harder than it actually is. I have been known for playing 20 or 30 at once before!


Best Ways For a Beginner to Start a Poker Side Hustle


Well, as I already mentioned, I think my free poker cheat sheet is undoubtedly the best resource available for anyone looking to get their start in online or live poker today.

I break everything down for you step by step in very simple language. And of course it costs you absolutely nothing.

Another totally free way to start learning the basics of how to beat low stakes poker is to subscribe to my poker YouTube channel.

This is where I put out brand new poker strategy videos every single week (sometimes even more than that), and all of them are aimed at the low limit games I discussed in this article.




Beyond this I would also recommend simply checking out the "Start Here" page on my website above. I made this page specifically to help struggling poker players at all skill levels.

So there you will find all of my top poker strategy articles broken down into beginner, novice, advanced and professional.

You can also find all of the poker tools, poker software and advanced material that I recommend as well that you will need as you move up the stakes.


Final Thoughts


So can poker be your side hustle? Well, yes it can. Making relatively low sums of money each month such as $200, $500 or even $1000 is not too hard.

You will have to learn some basic poker strategy and start learning a little bit of advanced theory as well. But overall, a dedicated beginner should easily be able to make any of these amounts within 6 months.

Now I do need to warn you though that poker is not an easy game anymore these days and most people actually end up losing at in the long run.

This is mostly due to factors like tilt and poor bankroll management though. I have written about this extensively on this website though and in my free poker guide so you can be prepared.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article gave you some points on poker as a side hustle and whether it is the right fit for you or not.

If you want to know about my day to day life as a poker pro traveling the world, make sure to follow me on Instagram.


Let me know in the comments below if poker is a side hustle of yours. What do you think is the easiest and hardest part about poker as a side income?

Poker side hustle

32 comments:

  1. Nice article! It's definitely doable but it takes a lot of work. It took me around a year to get to NL50 and making 1k to 2k a month mostly by following your blogs and reading your books.

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    1. Thanks TJ and nice job! Glad I was able to help you.

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  2. Great read BlackRain79, Sick pics take care man . . . Peace

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  3. Still reading your book and watching the videos, have not made anything yet but I keep working at it, been only a month, so will keep you updated. Videos help because I go back to a similar situation you are in at the table and I see how you played it. Always opposite to me Ha Ha Cheers Nigel (KwaZuluNatal)

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    1. Keep at it Nigel and let me know how it goes for you.

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  4. I do all this but only make maybe 50 dollars per year help big follower playing many years just want 200 apx month

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  5. Hi Nathan,

    nice article. I think i need more time because i can not play 3 hours after work every day. Nevertheless my goal is still to earn 1000 a month in this year. I would like to see in next time which stats you have in this time, what do you play and so on just an update.

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    1. Thanks Sam, 1k a month is doable but it will take most people 6 months, maybe a year.

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  6. Simply the g.o.a.t at smallstakes online poker tutorials and of course actually playing. Thanks for all your efforts!!!

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    1. Thank you TT1987, glad I could help :)

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  7. Dunno about absolut amount per month,but if you are consistent with putting hours on live tables 1/2,if the field is soft,you can make from £10/20 per hour.Your monthly depends upon the hours available to play,and how good you run,but is how much the average solid grinder makes per hour in a sample of 1000+ hours.Some off table study and experience is required,and the understanding of live poker dynamics,who is a nit,who is a drinker and aftour how many shots he is intoxicated,who is the reg,who is the rec,who is the maniac etc.You dont have a hud so you need to pay attention.

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  8. Hmm...it looks nice and easy, but it is not. Specially not ''...lowest stakes, 1c/2c ($2 max buyin) games, it is very easy for even a beginner to make this amount in a month with regular play....''
    It might be doable, but not easy. Think... at this level You got to play 100 000 hand per month with constant WIN RATE 10/100 hands to earn $ 200. (10 blind = 0.20 cents) Of course You might play more then 1 table at the time, You can play Zoom (Fast, Rush) poker (to increase hands quantity), but for beginner to keep Winrate up and navigate between 8+ tables- it can't be easy.
    This is not for beginners - I don't think it is possible now days keep You winrate so high whole month only with TAG play. Players will adjust, ''things''happening in Your life - bad days and good days are coming(tilt, laziness) and so on, so on. To get better You will need time for study and of course - for fun. 24 hour day = 8 for work, 8 for sleep and only 8 is left for ''fun and play''.
    if Your WR is 8/100 = 0.16 cents = 125 000 hands needed for $200 per month
    WR is 6/100 = 0.12 cents = 170 000 hands needed for $204 per month
    WR is 4/100 = 0.08 cents = 250 000 hands needed for $200 per month
    It is not ''walk on the beach'' at this level for sure. :)

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    1. very interesting , thanks for the time to write this . I wish you good luck .

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  9. In Greece 1000 per month is definetely not a side hustle. It's approximately double the average per month.. Currently 15bb winner at 2nl. Looking to move up to 5nl where last time I failed much, loosing all the money that I won from 2nl leadinf me to move down again. I think I know what went wrong and I am ready to take the challenge again. Thanx for all the articles , really interesting stuff. Keep doing what you doing !

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    1. I mean double the lowest income

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    2. Good point. I live in Thailand where $1000 is also much higher than the average salary. However, in the country I am from, Canada, $1000 is well below average. So it really depends where you live.

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    3. I am Hasan-i-Sabb at pokerstars..we ve played some hands on nl2 zoom...Vangelis Kouliatsis is my name on facebook...If you care to exchange thoughts on the game,send me a friend request.TY,best of luck on the tables!

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  10. Hi,
    Great article! I,ve been playing since 2011 on stars and have played over 1 million hands on NL2 with a steadu positive rate. However as soon as i try NL5 I have a negative rate. What I am wondering if it is still possible to beat it on stars? When I play I like to play fullring and not zoom. I also multitable and used to play 24 tables, but now as they decreased the time limits I can only play max 15 tables without timing out. One problem I find with stars is that theres a lot of regs on the cash tables even on NL2, if I go to a table I usually find at least 6,7 regs. It has changed a lot si ce 2011 and much harder to find fishes. My question is i should continue on stars or if there is a better site where you can multitable? I think that on stars today most fishes are on the sngs or mtts.
    What are your thoughts about all this?

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    1. I think, you can certainly beat 5NL on Stars. I am for instance although still not at quite the rate, I would prefer. But you have to table select, seat select and make individual decisions adjusted to your opponents, and you are simply playing way to many tables for that. I never play more than 4-6 tables at a time.

      Sure there are many regs at Stars, but there are also still a lot of fish, and frankly at 5NL almost no regs are really good. So its not like, you are put in a lot of tough spots other than sometimes having to swallow your pride and fold, when their actions tell you, you are beat. 5 NL regs are mostly on the nitty side of the spectrum and especially so at full ring.

      Sure there are other sites, and maybe some of them are softer or offer more rake-back, which become an issue from 10 NL and up. But for you I think, the main point is to trade volume for quality, if you want to move on to higher stakes.

      If you have played a million hands at 2NL, you have to ask yourself, if you would not find more enjoyment in putting 30 $ on 3 well selected 10 NL tables and make high quality decisions rather than continuing to click buttons for the same amount of money on 15 random 2 NL tables.

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  11. Hey nathan, can you please walk me through how to get those stats where i c-bet the turn and villain 3 bets or shoves, then I call. I only keep seeing the hands where I 3 bet (where I am happy that am in the plus). Thanks. -Gary

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  12. interesting, but i wish there was more information , such as how many hands you should play a day , how many tables should you play , hours of play ...etc .

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  13. Hello! Is it possible to make any profit on NL5 2019? Everytime I try to play at Party Poker I lost 100$ per day and all my money goes to that limit. First they are not paying anything, then they are calling 100bb all ins with K9o and suck out.

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    1. Hey Alex,

      Yes, it is still pretty easy to beat these games in 2019. If you are having trouble I would recommend reading my free poker guide where I show you exactly how to beat low limit loose passive games like this.

      https://www.blackrain79.com/p/free-guide.html

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    2. It just seems impossible. Yesterday I made deposit 100$ to Party Poker NL5. 3betted AKsuited from bb against button. He called me with A3offsuit and called me down 3 streets with bottom pair. Next hand I had AA on sb and he raised again. I shoved all in and he snap called with K5. K of course on flop and 5 on river. All money again to the drain.

      Usually the card that helps them comes on river. Ive reported to Party Poker support many times that they are favoring those guys but nothing really never happens. These guys who call with K9 and K5 are the guys who sits night after night on tables and always with huge stack like 40-50 dollars on NL5. If I make same moves I lost all the time.

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    3. Hey Alex I understand your frustration, this is something we all have to deal with at times. You have to remember that poker is a long term game and short term variance is simply going to happen. These guys who call with hands like this lose big time in the long run.

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    4. Its easy to focus on bad beats like the AA vs. K5. But these hands are not the reason, why you lose, because in the long run everyone really does receive his fair share of luck give or take. Its hands like the AK vs. A3, which are preventing you from seeing success. Just play a small pot, when you are likely to be behind and a big one, when you are likely to be ahead. Beating 5NL and especially players like this guy is no more complicated than that.

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    5. But how much money I must lose in every month before I get those winnings? I think that 100$ per session is really much and really destroys my whole earnings.

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    6. Hey Alex,

      Poker is always up and down so there will never be consistent winnings like a regular job. You should look to win something like 20 out of 30 days a month. 10 days will be losing. This is totally normal even for excellent players.

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  14. Any tips for plo cash table

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    1. Sorry I only cover NL hold'em on this website and in my books and YouTube videos.

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  15. I think, the income targets for the different stakes outlined in this article are a bit on the optimistic side for part time players. I have seen a winrate of 10 BB / 100 at 2NL over 25.000 hands, and if we assume, this is sustainable, then earning 200 $ per month would require me to play 100.000 hands. Maybe for some people this is realistic, but for me its to much, if I also have to take care of my day job.

    I also think, most part time players are better off focusing on their development as a player in the beginning, rather than making money here and now. My personal goal right now is to make it into stakes like 25 NL and 50 NL, where the money start to be at least a bit more serious.

    As a part time player poker should also be fun, and after a while there is just not that much fun in grinding an insane number of hands for essentially pennys. And if you live in a western country, you can surely earn a much higher salary elsewhere.

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