7 Ways Poker Players Make Money (Besides Winning)


how to make money besides winning in poker
There are several ways you can make money in poker, besides winning. Some may even overcome your winnings.

It’s no news many people develop an interest in poker once they realize they can make some money from it. No judgment here. In fact, I’m writing this article specially for those players who want to make a lot of money from the game. Since regular winnings are not guaranteed, you’d have to find other ways to boost your income. Read further to find out more ways to make money as a poker player.

Ways poker players can make money? Poker players can make money by signing sponsorship deals with online poker sites. Depending on the player’s profile and the nature of the deal, the player could earn as much as a 6 figure income from a single sponsorship deal. Apart from sponsorship, poker players can also work regular jobs since they don’t necessarily have to play poker every day.

There are many other ways to make money besides your winnings. In fact, some of the alternate sources of income poker players turn to can potentially become a huge goldmine.

Making Money Outside Winnings

It’s true that many poker players have amassed a respectable amount of wealth from their winnings. There are many players today who are rich and famous from their success in poker but there are also other players who haven’t quite been able to reach great heights.

Even as a successful player, your next winning is never guaranteed (apart from rakeback). This means, most players have had to find an alternative source to help boost their income. Below are 6 ways you can earn money as a poker player.

1. Endorsement Deals

Endorsement deals are the holy grail of professional poker. Big poker brands are always on the lookout for players who have managed to distinguish themselves by their exceptional poker skills and massive followership.
Before now, poker deals were far more common. During the days of the poker boom, there was plenty of money to throw around, and a good number of players benefited from the merry go round earning mouthwatering contracts from top poker sites.

How Endorsement Deals Work

poker endorsement deals
The sponsorship deal is every poker player’s dream. Sadly it has gotten a lot harder to get one.

In the past, players who earned endorsement deals usually had to make the finals of major tournaments like the world series of poker. Poker sites would then offer these players a deal that includes wearing their merchandise during live tournaments on TV. The contract could also include appearing in commercials and appearing as a guest player on their site.

Read more in this article on how you can get sponsored (it is possible).

After the events of Black Friday hit the poker community, there was less cashflow to fund adverts and commercials. This meant only players who had a good winning streak and large followership on social media were approached for sponsorship.

Unlike pro athletes in organized sports, the pool of brands willing to sign poker players to endorsement deals is considerably smaller. While a footballer can expect to earn sponsorship from brands in fashion, health, and entertainment, poker players usually depend on sponsorship from online poker websites.

 On a few occasions, players like Phil Hellmuth have been lucky enough to earn deals from non-poker brands. Unfortunately, his success has not paved the way for more poker players to get sponsorship deals from different brands.

How Much Money can Can you Earn from Poker Endorsement Deals?

There’s no real limit to how much a poker player can expect to earn in sponsorship. According to Parker Talbot of 888poker, poker sponsorship deals could possibly range from $40,000 to $300,000.

Players with large followers on social media usually earn the biggest deals. Apart from the money, some players are also given 100% rakeback at the poker site and live tournament buy-ins. Depending on the nature of the contract, a player may only earn one or two of the incentives as mentioned above. 

2. Income from Non-poker jobs

Another way poker players make money outside their winnings is by taking on regular jobs.

Not all pro players take up poker as a full-time career.

Many players have regular jobs outside of poker where they generate consistent income. While poker is potentially lucrative, not everyone can make a consistent income from it. This means players often need to make money elsewhere to keep them up when they’re not having much luck on the poker table.

Another thing is that it takes some players years before they become good enough to actually earn a living from poker. During this period, they’re going to need a way to make money somehow.

Away from the regular guy who is trying to make his way on a poker table, there are certain players who already earn a lot of money from their regular jobs.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Kelvin Hart are a good example. Ronaldo is one of the best soccer players in the world and Kelvin is possibly one of the finest comedians of his generation. To these guys, poker is a fun past time that just so happens to earn them some extra cash.

3. Become a Coach

One of the best moves a beginner poker player can make is hiring a coach.

Unlike sports like soccer or Basketball, poker coaches aren’t retired players. They are active pro players who don’t mind helping newbies improve their game. Depending on a player’s profile, a coach could possibly charge $50 dollars or more per hour. Also, poker coaches can have as many students as they can possibly handle.

poker coach
Being a poker coach is a great source of income. First, you will need to prove you are a decent winner at your stakes.

I have paid many coaching lessons at $175 per hour. In fact, I have spent at least $10.000 for poker coachings. So coaching is very profitable once you are good enough.

If you wonder if getting a poker coach will be worth it for you, then check this very extensive article I wrote. You will also find plenty of cheaper alternatives. Some of them are even free.

As a coach, you’ll spend a lot of time tutoring your students and offering valuable advice. Being a coach can be hugely rewarding. Apart from the side income you make, the fact you’re coaching other players also does well to make you stay on your feet. If you’re more ambitious with the coaching thing, you could set up an online coaching class for clients.

Lessons could be via Skype chat and video calls while you provide clients with helpful resources. Some coaches own websites where they offer different training courses for potential students. Depending on how far you’re willing to go, coaching can be a great way to earn more money as a poker player.

4. Write a Book

poker book
Once you had some success in poker, you can write a book.

If you have enjoyed relative success in your poker career, another great way to earn more is by writing a book. It could be a book on strategy or simply a novel telling the story of your experience in various tournaments.

If your book is helpful, you could earn a decent amount of money from them. Apart from paperbacks, you could also write e-books that provides useful tips to budding poker players.

While this option sounds like a really great idea with the potential to make a lot of money, you have to know that there are hundreds of books written by active and retired players, so competition is stiff. Also, many poker books have gained notoriety for being overlooked by players who believe they are simply a money pit without providing much help. Therefore, it is important to take the time to write a good book that people will find helpful.

 As I mentioned earlier, you need to have enjoyed some kind of success to convince people that you have acquired knowledge worth sharing. It could take you some time to achieve that level of success, so there’s a good chance a player will never be successful enough to write a book that will draw people’s attention.

5. Make Money on YouTube

Anyone can make money on YouTube if they regularly post content that draws in a lot of views. Many poker players have large followership on YouTube with the content they post consistently getting a large number of views. The content you post could range from tutorials on how to play a hand or general information on becoming a better player.

youtube poker channel
YouTube can become a very lucrative secondary or even primary income. But first, you need to be willing to put in the work for no return.

Once you hit 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of view, you can proceed to monetize your videos with ads. You can either join the YouTube partners program or list your videos on YouTube premium. To make money from ads, your viewers need to click the ad or watch the complete duration of the ad.

YouTube premium allows you to make money without relying on ads.

Viewers have the choice of subscribing to YouTube premium which ensures they don’t have to see ads while watching a video. You can only earn from YouTube premium if a viewer that has access to the premium plan watches your videos.

Hence, the amount of money you earn from YouTube Premium depends on the number of premium members who watch your videos. If you’re able to garner a large number of followers and views, youtube can be a great way to make a side income while playing poker.

6. Make Money on Twitch

Twitch is an online streaming service for gamers. It has also become increasingly popular amongst poker players who are hoping to earn sponsorship deals. Apart from being noticed and earning an endorsement deal on twitch, you can also earn some regular cash from a few methods.

The first and certainly the most popular way to make money on twitch is via subscriptions from the Twitch partnership program. Subscribers have the option of choosing between three different levels of subscription. They include $24.99, $9.99, and $4.99. Your earnings from subscription will depend on the number of subscribers on your channel.

At first, whatever you earn from subscription is shared between you and Twitch in a 50/50 format, but as you progress and garner larger followership, you get to retain a higher percentage of the subscription money.

The good thing about this program is that you can expect to earn a monthly income from your subscriptions. The not so great thing is that you’d have to be invited to this program by twitch before you start to rake in subscriptions.

Another way to earn money on twitch is through bit donation. When you imagine bit donations, think of emojis. Viewers buy bits from twitch and can use it in chatrooms of their favorite streamers.

A bit donation equals $0.01 dollar. This might not be huge money, but if you have a large number of followers, you can earn a lot of money from bit donations.

You can also earn money on Twitch from ads. Again, you need to be on the Twitch program to enjoy this feature. It is estimated that a twitch broadcaster can earn as much as $250 per 100 subscribers from Twitch’s ad revenue. While twitch sounds like an incredible way to make money on the side, you have your work cut out for you as regards garnering the kind of followership that will make you successful on the platform.

7. BONUS: Get paid for every single hand you play

Also known as rakeback. If you are new, you might never hear of great rakeback deals that exist.

Often registering on the poker site directly on their website is a horrible idea. You need to speak to their affiliate managers to get the best rakeback deals and be included in the best promotions.

This way, even NL100 player can make $3.000 every month, just for doing what is his profession in the first place. Even the low stakes such as NL100 is enough to get $20/h in rakeback.

Only by playing, you earn money. For serious players, this one is obvious. But even they often don’t make sure they are getting the best possible deals. Imagine having a 10% worse RB deal just because you didn’t spend 30 minutes asking around for the best possible rakeback deal on your network. It costs you $300 every single month, just because you didn’t put 30 minutes of work into it. That is your phone and car gas bill covered, for something you need to do once.

rakeback guaranteed poker income
Rakeback (rb) is guaranteed poker income. More you play, more rakeback (RB) money you make. It can quite easily double your winrate.

I make sure I don’t play on poker sites that offer me less than 50% rakeback. Sometimes if the site is filled with recreational players, I might be okay with 40% but, that is on very rare occasions.

Unlike poker winnings, rakeback is a 100% guaranteed money. Every time you sit down and play, you make money.

To understand rakeback better, and maybe find the best possible deal for yourself, check this detailed article.

Can you Earn a Living From Poker Winnings Alone?

The answer is a big yes. Anyone can earn a living from their poker winnings alone. Many professional poker players make a lot of money from tournament winnings and cash games that could be anywhere between 6 to 7 figures a year.

 It must be said that players who enjoy enough success to make poker their major source of income have had to work hard over a number of years before earning such status. If you’re hoping to be that successful, it will cost you time and money.

In fact, most pros recommend that beginner poker players must first develop an interest in the game before thinking about the money and I agree.

When you begin your poker career, it will take you some time before you become a winning player. This means you’re likely to lose a sizeable amount of money as you strive to garner experience and improve your skills.

Also, you need to put in a lot of hard work when you’re not playing. Practice your hands, read books, watch instructional videos, and spend even more money hiring a coach to help improve your game.

Without a natural interest in poker, there will be times when it’ll seem you’re not making the right choice when you continue to toil and invest more than you profit.

If you’re turning to poker to make huge sums like many successful players, there are a few truths you need to know. One such truth is that poker players lie. Yes, they do! Many players do not make as much as they like to make people believe. There are several reasons why players lie about their winnings. It could be to hide huge losses from friends and family, to boost their image on the table, or to protect their potential backing deals.

Away from players who lie, there are a lot of misconceptions and faulty calculations in poker.

Most players are always quick to put forward the eye-popping figures they won rather than their actual profits. In reality, many pros spend a lot of money to pay for buy-ins, travel expenses, and hotel bills.

Add all of that to the fact that success doesn’t always happen and you’ll realize that many players you thought were dripping in dollar bills aren’t quite as successful as they appear. It is for this reason many players turn to alternative sources of income asides their winnings.

Again, I reiterate that this is not to say many people don’t make money from poker. With online poker at your fingertips, you can always play online and make a lot of money without having to leave the comfort of your home. My point is that you can’t simply expect to make easy money from poker. Some players may be doing incredibly well as fulltime players, a larger number of players need to support themselves via alternative income source.

Do all Poker Players Need an Extra Source of Income?

This is a question that requires an individual answer. Some players are fine with what they earn from winnings, while others need to earn more. There’s also this thing about human needs being insatiable which means even when you do make tons of money from tournaments or cash game winnings, there’s still that urge to make more.

For the budding poker player, it would be great if you could find an alternate source of income before you become good enough to earn a living from poker. For established players who aren’t quite killing it on a daily, there’s the need to find another way to make extra cash to support yourself and your lifestyle.

If you’ve been reading this article keenly, you’d agree with me that some of the alternative income sources available to poker players can be insanely lucrative. So, whether you think you need the extra money or not, it wouldn’t be too wise if you’re not exploring more ways to make money as a poker player.

Final Thoughts

Poker is a potentially lucrative game. There’s a good chance you can achieve great success and earn a small fortune while at it. Unfortunately, the winnings will not always role in. The game is so diverse that players who enjoyed good winning streaks 10 years ago will lose a lot of hands today if they have not developed their game further ever since.

With income not being stable, there’s a need to explore additional ways to make money. Luckily, there are a few ways mentioned in this article that can help players earn extra money if they’re willing to put in the work required.

Primoz

I have played poker professionally for more than 10 years. I was a winner at every poker format that I played - from tournaments to cash games, both in NL Holdem and PLO. Now my biggest satisfaction is to provide enthusiastic but new poker players with answers to all of their questions.

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