How Much Money Can You Expect to Win Playing Live Poker?

There are always big winning sessions for live players where they feel that they’ve comfortably outplayed their opponents, and the temptation is to believe that live tables are a gold mine of easy money compared to the online games.

Once you start to include all the relevant factors in your calculations though, you’ll see that things aren’t quite that simple.

 Blinds $0.5/$1 
Hands per hour Winrate bb/100 Winnings/100 hands Winnings/hour
Crusher 30 30 $30 $9.00
Good 30 15 $15 $4.50
Decent 30 7.5 $7.5 $2.25
 Blinds $1/$2
Hands per hour Winrate bb/100 Winnings/100 hands Winnings/hour
Crusher 30 30 $60 $18.00
Good 30 15 $30 $9.00
Decent 30 7.5 $15 $4.50
 Blinds $2/$5
Hands per hour Winrate bb/100 Winnings/100 hands Winnings/hour
Crusher 30 30 $150 $45.00
Good 30 15 $75 $22.50
Decent 30 7.5 $37.5 $11.25

These numbers are only estimations: Feel free to discuss them!

Other considerations


Rake is a key consideration for live tables, and will affect the winrates posted here significantly.

Games with a 10% rake capped at $10 are very difficult to beat until you get to higher stakes. Home games without a drop can be a potentially attractive way around this, but may lack player traffic and security.

Tipping dealers may also feel insignificant when you are in the middle of a winning session, and while we wouldn’t advise never tipping a dealer, you must factor these small losses into your winrate.



Promotions can have a positive or negative effect on your winrate, and some will provide potential benefits without extra cost. When it comes to extra rake being taken and put towards a bad beat jackpot however, you are best off steering clear of these, as they simply add more variance to the game.

Hands dealt

The 30 hands per hour figure that we use in our example is not always accurate of course, as this number will fluctuate depending on the game.

Electronic shufflers may increase your number of hands per hour, while an inexperienced dealer without the help of such technology may result in a lower figure than the one we have listed. Pay attention to these factors when choosing your table.

Average pot size and stack sizes

While the blinds are undeniably important in determining how big a game will be, you should also pay attention to average pot size and how this may be affected by straddles.

The amount that players are buying in for will also play a role. Towards the end of games, when weak players tire in the early hours of the morning, and often have big stacks in front of them; you may see your winrate skyrocket.

Other expenses

It should go without saying that, if poker is your income, then you must factor in expenses created by your need to travel to poker games. Travel cost, Parking and buying overpriced food while in the casino will all impact your earnings.


Comparing to other jobs

One important downside to poker is that income from it will never be stable. Very good months can be followed by nightmare ones, and without solid bankroll management and willpower, this can drain your morale and affect your game. Most people prefer to have a smaller, yet guaranteed flow of income.

Most regular jobs will also offer benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans on top of a reliable salary. This means that you can’t make $2,000 in a month of poker and immediately think it’s the same as earning $2,000 in a month of regular work.

If you maintain a good standard of work in a regular job, you may also be promoted after a certain amount of time, which will potentially mean a pay rise. If you want a pay rise in poker, you need to either risk moving up in stakes and facing a tougher calibre of opposition, or put many hours of extra work in when you are away from the table. Possibly even both.

Poker also requires you to work weekends and evenings if you want to play during prime hours. This can seriously limit your social life.


If you want to play poker for a living, it’s not enough to simply hope it will help you escape regular work. You need to be passionate about it, and highly driven.

The opportunity to make money from poker sets the game apart from most hobbies, but if you are looking for easy money, then poker is not the answer.

Article by Craig B.

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Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

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