Very often I get asked how much money a player can make playing online poker. It depends on the type of poker game and the limits he is used to play.
With proper bankroll management, sticking to some simple rules and studying the game and the opponents he is expected to make from 1000$ to 150,000$ or more per month. Read on to find out how to apply correct money management and how to build your bankroll by moving up limits in online poker.
The article is based on No Limit Texas Holdem Poker and more specifically for 6-seated tables.
A winning poker player is expected to make between 1 to 5 Big Bets per 100 hands. A big bet is double the Big Blind. For example, if the player plays at 50NL (0.25/0.5), the Big Bet is 1$, so he is expected to win 1-5$ per 100 hands. If he plays 6-max tables, he will usually play about 80-100 hands per hour average. If additionally he is capable of playing up to 8 tables simultaneously, the he would most probably play about 700 hands per hour, meaning about 7-35$/hour. By completing 5 hours of play per day, it means he would have played 3500 hands per day or around 100,000 hands per month, making 1000-5000$ per month at 50$ NL poker.
Upon starting out he should apply proper money management so that his bankroll can sustain big drawdown. A good rule of thumb is to always have 60 buy-ins of the limit you are playing. For example if playing at 100$ NL tables, you should have 6000$ minimum bankroll. In order to move up to 200$ NL tables, you should make 6000$ more. By having 12000$, your bankroll will be ready to allow you to move up limit.
We should not forget the rakeback availability. Many poker sites offer rakeback which means returning some of the commission back to the player. This rakeback is often about 30% of the commission the player has paid. On the other hand some poker sites like Pokerstars.com give out loyalty points to their customers which can be redeemed to money, instead of offering rakeback to the players. If you reach Supernova level in Pokerstars, you are expected to make about 30-35% of the commission back. Each point you earn by playing is worth 0.016$ (at the currently available cash bonuses rate).
So, let’s say a poker player starts off from 100NL poker tables with 6000$. Here’s a table showing how much money he is expected to make per month playing 100,000 hands (about 5 hours on a daily basis):
Moving up from 100NL to 200NL may take two weeks or even 2 months. Moving up from 200NL to 400NL needs about the same time, while moving up to 600NL from 400NL may take one week to 1 month. And moving from 600NL to 1000NL may take 10 days to 40 days, depending on the actual win rate. So, in conclusion, a winning poker player starting with 6,000$ may need 7 weeks up to 7 months to move up from 100NL to 1000NL, given that he plays 100,000 hands per month.
July Update: Due to the recent comments this article received, I feel obliged to post a couple of screenshots that show that online poker can be profitable and the win rates I am discussing above are possible.