Professional Poker Player Salary (It Might Shock You)

Professional Poker Player Salary
People often ask me these days what is the average professional poker player salary?

And to be quite honest, the answer varies depending on your skill level, what stakes you play, how much volume you put in and so on.

So in this article I am going to break it all down for you. This is the ultimate guide to a professional poker player's salary.


Professional Poker Player Salary Hourly Wage


So there are many different ways to look at a professional poker player's salary. The first is their hourly wage.

This is the most familiar for many people because in most traditional jobs you get paid an hourly wage. However, in poker this is not really a metric we often use.

And the reason why is because poker is not like a normal job where you earn a consistent steady wage for every hour you work.

Instead, your results will be all over the place in poker.

Some hours you will win big or win small. Some hours you will lose big or lose small. The same goes for entire days and even entire weeks at the poker table.

So there is no such thing as a typical hourly wage for a professional poker player. But if we estimate over the course of say a year, we could get an average hourly wage for a poker pro.

If we were to focus on the small and mid stakes professional poker players, they would average over the course of a year an hourly wage of between $20 per hour and $500 per hour.

It will vary tremendously as you can see depending on what stakes they play, how many hours they put in, and how hard they work on improving their poker game away from the tables.

For a high stakes professional poker player, their average hourly wage over the course of a year could be anywhere between $500 per hour and $10,000 per hour or more.

There are very few high stakes poker pros however because you legitimately have to be one of the best poker players in the world to consistently beat these stakes.  


Professional Poker Player Yearly Salary


What about a yearly salary for a professional poker player though? How much will they typically bring home in an entire calendar year?

Well, this depends heavily on how much volume they put in. Or to put that in plain English, how much poker they play.

Some poker pros frankly are a bit lazy and just put in the minimum effort to pay the bills. Because after all they can do this.

There is no boss telling them what to do!

This is one of the best parts about being a poker pro. And this was how I acted actually through the first several years of my professional poker career. 

That is, just putting in the minimum effort. Only playing a couple hours on the weekends, which was enough to pay my bills.

But eventually I smartened up and realized that I needed to take being a poker pro a lot more seriously.

So I started playing much more consistently, often 7 days a week for 8-12 hours every single day. And then my poker pro career finally started to take off.

I was also spending several more hours per day studying my own game and learning advanced poker strategies on the side.

Let's just focus on the average poker pro though who plays an amount of poker somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

That is, a poker pro who plays about 5 days a week for 4-8 hours per day. What kind of yearly wage can this type of professional poker player expect?

Well, a small or mid stakes professional poker player's yearly salary in this case would be between $25,000 per year and $500,000 per year.

Again, it is going to vary tremendously on exactly what stakes they play and how much they work on improving their winrate (bb/100 or bb/hr).

And a high stakes professional poker player's yearly salary can be between $500,000 per year and $10,000,000 or more.

But once again it bears mentioning that there are very few poker players that will ever be capable of consistently beating high stakes games that are full of world class pros.


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How to Increase Your Salary as a Professional Poker Player?


If you are a professional poker player already though, or you are planning on becoming one, how would you go about increasing your salary?

The easiest way to do this is to increase your skill level.

For example, there are tons of high level poker training programs available these days like The Upswing Poker Lab which are taught by today's most successful professional poker players.

They teach you the advanced strategies that you need to know in order to crush your opponents at the poker table for the highest winrates possible.

I recommend studying The Upswing Poker Lab videos each night for a month or two (especially the advanced sections of the course), and your winrate (measured in big blinds per 100 hands) will likely increase significantly.

Here is my recent full walkthrough on YouTube of the Upswing Lab: 


You can enroll in The Upswing Poker Lab right here.


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You will get to see first hand how I created some of the highest winnings of all-time at the micro stakes online in these games.

Just send me a quick email at: nathan@blackrain79.com with your proof of purchase for The Upswing Poker Lab and I will send my video course over to you, for free.

Both my live poker video series and the The Upswing Poker Lab will make you a much more profitable professional poker player every time you sit down to play. 

Or in other words, a much more efficient player, with a higher average hourly wage.

As a professional poker player, I highly recommend that you invest in your poker knowledge, by learning the latest cutting edge strategies, if you want to stay on top of the games. 


Back to the Basics


What if you are still just starting out though and struggling to turn a profit at the lowest stakes?

If you are still struggling at the lower limits though, then you might not be ready for something as advanced as The Upswing Lab yet. You need to make sure you have mastered the fundamentals first.

In that case I would recommend checking out my best selling poker strategy book Crushing the Microstakes and the optional video course that comes with it as well.

Here I teach you the fundamental poker strategies that you need to start confidently beating the lowest limits and moving your way up the stakes.

Since I have some of the best results of all-time in these games online, you know you are learning the best strategies possible to win big in these games.

Lastly, I would also highly recommend using a good poker tracking program like PokerTracker in order to review your hands and study your opponents.

I have spent countless hours improving my poker game away from the tables in PokerTracker over the years. And it is absolutely one of the keys to my success.


Professional Poker Player Taxes


Now, something that a lot of people also ask me about is what taxes a professional poker player needs to pay.

And quite frankly, this is a difficult question for me to answer because of course it is going to vary widely depending on where you live (or where your tax residence is).

For example, some countries view poker winnings as a "gambling windfall" just like getting lucky at the roulette wheel and therefore, they are not taxable.

Professional Poker Player Salary

Whereas other countries define poker as a game of skill, which it is proven to be, and therefore make professional poker players file a tax return. 

And then of course there are many other countries where professional poker player taxes are basically one big grey area which are open to interpretation.

The best thing to do in all of these cases if you are a professional poker player is consult with a competent tax professional, and especially one with specific experience in dealing with poker or gambling related income.

This is going to be your best bet to make sure that you are obeying all applicable tax laws for a professional poker player in the jurisdiction that you live in.

They will also be able to help you perhaps setup a more beneficial tax residence in order to lower your tax burden as a poker pro, again if applicable (consult with a professional tax specialist).


Chances of Becoming a Professional Poker Player


Now with all of that said, what are your chances of even becoming a professional poker player these days? How many people even need to worry about all this stuff?

Honestly, the chances of becoming a professional poker players are pretty low.

As I discussed recently on this blog, the truth about being a professional poker player these days is often much different than the general perception of it.

And most people quite frankly do not succeed as a professional poker player for a variety of reasons.

In fact, most people do not even win at poker in the first place over the long run!

This is because poker is a very hard game to consistently stay on top of, both from a technical and mental perspective.

This is something that world class poker pros like Daniel Negreanu have discussed many times.

You need to be hard working, driven, have natural ability and have a cool and calm disposition in order to guide you through all of the inevitable lengthy losing streaks.

Most people have one but not both.

Being a professional poker player can be a great career choice for a few people. It changed my entire life and allowed me the freedom to travel the world and be my own boss.

But the reality is that it doesn't work out quite so well for most people. Most people in my opinion should just keep their day job.


Final Thoughts


So what is the average professional poker player's salary these days?

Well, if you are a small or mid stakes poker pro, you can expect to make an average hourly wage of roughly between $20 per hour and $500 per hour. 

High stakes professional poker players on the other hand will typically make much more than this because they play poker for a lot more money.

As for the yearly salary of a poker pro. Once again a small or mid stakes professional poker player will make between $25,000 per year and $500,000 per year.

And a high stakes poker pro will again make considerably more than this, usually well over 7 figures per year.

Becoming a professional poker player these days is definitely not easy though and requires a lot of hard work, patience and discipline.

I don't recommend it for most people!  

Luckily though, it is much easier to learn how to quickly start making a nice part time income from poker these days while keeping your day job.

If you want to learn how to start making a decent side income in small stakes poker games, I recommend you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.
Professional Poker Player Salary