How to Make $100 an Hour Playing Poker (Simple Strategy!)

How to Make $100 an Hour Playing Poker

This article was written by contributor Fran Ferlan

People often ask me how to make a good wage from poker such as $100 an hour.

But let’s get one thing clear right off the bat. Earning a hundred bucks an hour from poker consistently is impossible.

It’s just the nature of the game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The best you can hope for is winning more than you lose over the long run. 

And that’s the key phrase here: the long run. The mystical and elusive place you can never really get to. It takes time to show your true results, and far longer than people believe. 

In the short run, like in any given hour or day, your results will be all over the place. 

So trying to figure out your hourly rate playing poker isn’t really helpful, and it can be outright detrimental to your results. It’s simply not the metric used to accurately measure your success. 

That being said, it is entirely possible to earn a $100 an hour on average. And that is exactly what I will be discussing in today's post.

Can You Make $100 an Hour Playing Poker (On Average)?

Alright, so as mentioned, making $100 an hour from poker these days will not be a walk in the park by any means. But there are players out there who even make twice, three times, or five times the amount.

These are world class professionals, of course. 

Poker is a skill game, and the exceptionally skilled players will be rewarded disproportionately. As in every other industry, for that matter.

But what about your average Joe? Can he make a hundred bucks an hour playing cards?

The short answer is: yes, theoretically speaking. 

The longer, and the more specific answer is: yes, but it will depend on a lot of factors, namely Joe’s skill level, his effort, dedication, game selection, bankroll management, tilt control, studying and improving off the felt, as well as the willingness to remain disciplined day in and day out no matter the short term results.

Honestly, if your entire goal is to get rich by 2:30pm tomorrow afternoon, you might want to just quit poker right now and go try day trading Bitcoin as Nathan discusses in his latest video.

Or better yet, just go find your local casino and put everything on black!

Because real long term success in poker requires hard work, patience and a complete and unwavering dedication to the long run.

Not to sound too doom and gloom, but most people will never be able to even come close to making $100 an hour from poker, so if making fat stacks is your primary concern, you should look elsewhere.

Poker is comparable to other professions where your effort and results aren’t always directly correlated. 

There are things outside your control that impact your results, and there’s really nothing you can do about it but to make peace with it.

And yes, even if you have already mastered all the basic strategy like Nathan discusses in his free poker cheat sheet.  

Most People Make Very Little in Poker (A Few Make A Lot)

Careers in industries like sales, real estate agencies, arts and so on come to mind. No matter how good you are, sometimes people just aren’t buying. 

Same thing with poker. 

While it can be insanely profitable, you run the risk of making zero dollars, or even losing money, even if you do everything right. 

It’s a deal breaker for most people, and no wonder. Nobody likes losing money. 

Poker is also one of those massively asymmetric industries, like Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes in The Black Swan, where a very small few make a vastly disproportionate amount of the profits.

If all of these doesn’t dissuade you from going for it anyway, congratulations. 

You might be the one of the select few who can actually make a hundred bucks an hour, much to the dismay and incredulity of your friends and family. That’s even better than the money itself, in my opinion. 

With all that said, let’s finally get into the actual how-to. 

This article will consider the minimum necessary requirements to reach $100 an hour playing poker on average.

I’ll also assume you already have the necessary advanced poker skill level and the monk-like emotional management to boot. Because anyone who is serious about poker will have this.

Alright, let's get started!

1. Play Live Cash Games

The simplest way to make a hundred bucks per hour would be playing live cash games. There are a couple of reasons for this. 

First of all, live cash games have arguably the softest competition around, so it’s entirely possible to have a decent consistent winrate playing them. 

Secondly, in order to achieve such a high hourly rate, you’ll need to play higher stakes. You can’t really make a hundred bucks an hour grinding the microstakes online. 

And thirdly, you can choose to play in the periods where you expect the competition to be soft, namely the weekends. With the proper game selection and discipline, you can expect to do pretty well overall playing live.

What you will need to do, however, is learn to be comfortable with playing deepstacked poker. This will help you maximize your hourly rate. 

It's a higher risk, of course, because you can also potentially lose more, but if you are confident in your abilities and have an edge over your competition, you’ll want to have as much money behind in your stack as possible. 

If a fish gets lucky and doubles up to two hundred big blinds, you want to have the opportunity to take all of their money. 

When playing deepstacked, the decisions get more complex, because you will often need to play all three streets postflop with a bunch of money left behind, so you need to make adjustments to your strategy, namely the starting hand selection.

But you can also run some sophisticated bluffs with deep stacks as Nathan walks you through in this poker higher stakes bluff.

And this is because with effective stack sizes of 200 big blinds or more, top pair hands go down in relative value because of their vulnerability, as they can easily get outdrawn by the river.

However on the flip side, highly speculative hands like 98 go way up in relative value, and make excellent bluffing candidates as shown in the 2nd hand in the video above, for the same reason. 

The implied odds are drastically improved, and you can potentially win a huge pot if you hit your draw. For this reason, you’ll need to be very careful when playing hands like top pair top kicker and practice pot control. 

Conversely, you should look for opportunities to get involved with speculative hands like small pairs and suited connectors, because of their huge potential upside if they hit.

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If you’re used to playing online, you’ll need to get used to the snail’s pace of the live play. You might get bored and let your mind wander off, but that won’t do any good to your hourly rate. 

Live and online poker are not the same sport. Playing live isn’t anything like playing one table online. It’s like billiards and snooker. 

There are similarities between the two, but being skilled in one doesn’t automatically make you skilled in the other. Adjustments need to be made. 

So get into the habit of trying to pick up on physical tells from your opponents, pay attention to their betting patterns, and think about their potential ranges at all times, even when you’re not directly involved in the hand. 

Especially then, because you’ll be able to assess their actions more objectively than you would when you’re involved yourself.

This is something that is discussed by the way in much greater detail in The Micro Stakes Playbook.  

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2. Play Mid Stakes Tournaments

If you’re looking for a steady and reliable flow of hundred bucks an hour, you might want to skip this one. 

Then again, if you were looking for a steady income, you probably wouldn’t look for it in playing cards, anyway. 

So assuming your higher risk tolerance, you could look for multitable tournaments as a potentially quite hefty hourly return on investment. 

I should say right off the bat, most of the time your return of investment will be a nice round zero, or even a negative number. That’s just the nature of the tournaments, no matter how good you are.

How to Make $100 an Hour Playing Poker Tournaments

Poker tournaments are like lotteries. Bad players get one lottery ticket, good players get two, and great players get four. And the very best players get maybe six. But they’re still playing the lottery. 

With that said, if your goal is to make an enviable hourly wage, tournaments could be a solution, as proven by many world class pros like Daniel Negreanu.

They only last a couple of hours, and you can potentially take down hundreds and thousands of dollars, depending on the prize structure. 

Since tournament prizes are hit or miss, however, you’ll probably need to play quite a few of them to increase your chances of winning. 

Variance is substantially higher in tournaments as opposed to cash games, so you’ll need to be properly bankrolled to ride it out and come out on top. 

For this reason, you should have a bankroll of no less than a hundred buyins at the bare minimum. If you’re playing a hundred dollars buyin tournaments, you should therefore have a bankroll of at least ten thousand dollars. 

That’s quite steep, but hey, you’re shooting for a hundred dollars an hour. That’s quite steep as well. 

If you do decide to go this route, you should always shoot for the top, instead of just barely making it to the money. If you do that, you’ll barely break even at best. 

Tournament payout structure is disproportionately top heavy, meaning the most of the money comes from top three finishes.

So you should always try to set yourself up as a favourite to win even before reaching the final table. The way to go about this is playing a higher risk style, especially around the bubble.  

When other players are holding on to their dear tournament life, you should keep pushing the envelope, stealing the blinds a lot, and exerting maximum pressure on small and medium stacks. 

You should be comfortable losing your tournament life at any given moment, because that’s the only way to win. 

If you’re not comfortable with this, you might miss out on a ton of potentially profitable situations and reduce your chances to take down a huge prize. 

Remember, the prizes are disproportionately bigger at the top three places. It’s better to risk more for a bigger payoff than to risk less and barely break even. 

Not taking a risk is also a risk, and considering the ever increasing blinds structure at the tournaments, you can’t ever become complacent and just wait your way into the money. 

Especially if you want your hour to be worth a hundred bucks.

For more, there are several extremely high level advanced poker tournament courses that have come out in recent years.

3. Play NL200 Online ($1/$2 Blinds)

I was a bit hesitant to include this one, but it’s theoretically possible to make a hundred bucks an hour playing online poker as well, but it’s probably the hardest way to go about it.

It’s worth considering though, because at least you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home while doing it.

Let’s crunch the numbers and see if it makes sense. Suppose you’re beating NL200 with a winrate of 5 big blinds per hundred hands. 

If you multitable and can play a thousand hands in an hour, that adds up to a nice round hundred bucks on average. Nice and simple.

Here’s the caveat yet again. While it is possible to have a consistent winrate of 5 BB/100 at NL200, and it is possible to put in a volume of a thousand hands an hour, doing both is a different story.

At NL200, the average player skill level can be daunting, and recreational players will be far and few in between. In fact, a large chunk of the player pool will actually be full-time professionals.

You will definitely need to know at least the basics of GTO and solver analysis for example to put up elite results at NL200 these days.

Although, if you play small stakes poker, using a solver is probably only going to harm your poker results.

Having a winrate of 5 BB/100 at stakes like NL200 though is a feat in and of itself, but doing so with an average volume of thousand hands an hour is next to world class.

The more tables you play, the less time you have to make informed decisions, and those decisions can get quite complex at this level. You can’t just play on autopilot and hope for the best. 

What’s more, it’s difficult to consistently find profitable games at this limit, and you would probably need to play on multiple sites simultaneously to do so. The fact is most people just don’t play limits as high as these. 

You can try playing more on prime time hours, namely the weekend, but it still won’t be a walk in the park.

There’s also the bankroll to consider. Due to the average player pool skill and the fact you’re shooting for a hundred bucks an hour, you should have no less than fifty buyins, so again, 10k at the bare minimum. 

Should You Try to Make $100 an Hour Playing Poker?

Making a $100 an hour playing poker is quite a tall order, but it can be done. In reality, though, most people can’t even come close to that kind of hourly rate.

However, with the right combination of skills, discipline and effort, you could theoretically earn a hundred dollars an hour, and some people earn even more ludicrous amounts.

But such extraordinary results are usually the result of extraordinary effort over years and years. I’m all for shooting to the moon though, so I don’t want to discourage anyone from dreaming big.

And the great thing is that there is more advanced poker training available these days than ever, to get you making large amounts from poker like $100 an hour. 

With all the caveats in mind, here’s the minimum necessary requirements for a hundred bucks an hour playing poker.

Summary - How to Make $100 an Hour Playing Poker

The “easiest” way to go about it would be playing live cash games. 

Not only is the competition softer in live games as opposed to online games, this format has less variance than tournaments, so it’s possible to earn a somewhat reliable income over the long run.

For a hundred bucks an hour, you’ll probably need to play 5/10 games at the very lowest. 

With an average winrate of 10 big blinds per hour, that comes down to a nice round hundred bucks. Or you can play 10/25 games with a winrate of 4 big blinds per hour for the same result.

There are tons of good poker strategy books these days like Modern Small Stakes that are geared towards achieving these higher end winrates.

Bear in mind, however, the bigger the stakes, the better the competition, so you shouldn’t jump limits for the prospect of making more money if you’re barely breaking even at your current limit.

If you’re more risk-tolerant and want to aim for the highest potential upside, multitable tournaments could be your cup of tea. If that’s the case, start every tournament with the goal of winning it. 

That’s not to say you should expect to win, of course. Quite the contrary. The point is to make a mindset shift of always aiming for the top spot, instead of barely clinging on to make it to the money. 

This means taking more calculated risks, and trying to assert yourself as the chip leader even before coming to the final table. Be ready to lose it all at any moment, because that’s the only way to have a chance of winning.

Finally, you could also try to play online cash games, but this is arguably the most difficult way to go about it. You’ll probably need to play NL200 at least, as well as multitable heavily. 

The problem is these games could be total ghost towns, especially if you aren’t playing during the prime time hours, so you’ll probably need to play at multiple sites at once. 

What’s more, the competition can be brutal, and you’re bound to encounter quite a few full time professional players as well.

In conclusion, making a hundred dollars an hour playing poker can be a reality for a select few people, but will remain just a dream for most. 

And it doesn’t really have to do with the cards. Over the long run, everyone gets their fair share of luck, good or bad. 

The difference between the people who actually earn such a sick hourly wage are simply the ones that work the hardest. It doesn’t have to do with talent or some secrets only the pros know. 

That’s actually the best way to earn a great living: work hard on improving your skills, and do it because doing so is its own reward. Forget about the money. 

Keep doing the right things consistently, and the money will take care of itself eventually.

Lastly, if you want to know BlackRain79's complete strategy for making $100 an hour playing poker, make sure you get a copy of his free poker cheat sheet.

How to Make $100 an Hour Playing Poker