Can You Make a Living Playing Poker Online?
Whenever people see a professional poker player winning millions of dollars on a live TV, whether in a WSOP event or a televised poker night, the first thing everyone asks is “Can I do that?” The answer to that question is “Yes, you can”.
Granted, it might be a bit more challenging to win WSOP events, but it’s not impossible.
What’s more, with a lot of practice and if you become skillful enough, you can easily make a living playing poker online.
One of the most common misconceptions about poker is that it’s all about luck, but players thinking that couldn’t be more wrong. Poker is all about skill and probability. Do you want an example? Here it is.
Let’s say that you’re playing a single hand of Texas Hold’em. Now, imagine that your opponent has the best pre-flop hand there is, A/A, and that you have 7/2, which is the worst hand in poker. While the odds are extremely in your opponent’s favour, nobody can predict what the flop, turn, or river is going to be, and you can easily win with a 7/2 because, yes, you just got lucky.
However, let’s say that you play that same hand hundreds or even thousands of times. While you may still win a few hands here and there, you will quickly realise that you are losing a lot more than you’re winning. Why? It’s not because you’re unlucky, but rather because you’re making bad decisions and playing against favourable odds.
So, what does it mean to be skillful in poker? Simply put, it means that you need to know which hands you should play and how to play them. It also means that you need to be able to predict your opponents’ cards by the way that they’re playing and betting and, naturally, to be able to bluff when needed and know how far you can push yourself.
It also means being in control of yourself and your emotions, not tilting, and making sure that you’re managing your bankroll at all times. And yes, while you will have unlucky streaks here and there and you may lose even when the odds are in your favour, if you’re skilled enough, you are guaranteed to make a profit in the long run.
Another thing to note is that, while everyone can be on a lucky streak, some of the highest-earning poker players have been making money out of poker for years now; it can’t be that their luck lasts for that long, can it? The answer to that question is not really difficult — they’re just really good at poker and are backed by years of experience playing the game both online and in person.
Best-Known Online Poker Players
Among the poker players, there are those that have made a name for themselves by grinding online games for hours and continuously impressing others by winning often and winning a lot.
If you’re curious to find out who are some of the players that are popular in the world of poker and online poker, I prepared a short list comprised of a few names that are considered to be some of the best poker players around.
When you’re talking about the best-known online poker players, you can’t go without mentioning Phil Ivey who despite the last few years being in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, might be one of the most popular poker players of today.
Ivey rose to fame back in 2000 when he became the first player to defeat Amarillo Slim, a legend among legends of poker, in a heads-up event at a WSOP final table.
However, Ivey’s career started even earlier, when he created a fake ID so that he can enter casinos in Atlantic City, which also earned him the nickname “No Home Jerome“.
However, Ivey didn’t play only in brick-and-mortar casinos. He was a regular at Full Tilt Poker and, before 2011, he was at the top of the list of players that made the most playing online poker.
He won nearly $2 million in 2007, more than $7 million in 2008, $6 million in 2009 and around $3 million in 2010. In total, in five years between 2007 and 2011, Ivey earned $19,242,743 playing poker at Full Tilt. In addition to his online poker winnings, Ivey went on to win ten WSOP bracelets and has accumulated more than $23 million in tournament winnings throughout his career.
Patrik Antonius is yet another fantastic example of just how much you can earn by playing poker. Hailing from Finland, Patrik’s career started as soon as he turned 18 when the poker pro decided to play his first-ever poker tournament.
After winning the tournament and turning $25 into $260, Antonius quickly shifted his focus from playing tennis and decided to become a professional poker player.
While he is primarily known as a fan of cash games, Antonius spent a good portion of his time playing online poker at Full Tilt and was part of some of the highest pots around.
Playing both online and offline clearly paid off for Antonius because, years later, by earning nearly $12 million in tournament money alone with his aggressive playing style, he is the highest-earning Finish player and is currently number 58 on the All-Time Money list across the globe.
Now, Doug Polk might not be one of the highest earners around, but he most definitely is one of the best-known online poker personalities. Doug is also known by his online username, “WCGRider“. A lot of his earnings come from Heads-up No-Limit Texas Hold’em games. While he started as a Warcraft 3 player, during college Doug upped the ante, if you excuse the pun, and moved from video games to playing poker for real money.
Polk started his professional online poker career at PokerStars by playing, believe it or not, $0.01 and $0.02 stakes. As years passed, he continued raising the bar and playing with higher stakes, going as far as $10,000 where he quickly built up his bankroll. Furthermore, Doug Polk played in live casino tournaments as well, winning 3 WSOP bracelets and ending up with 11 money finishes.
He is known as one of the most vocal poker players around, always voicing his opinion and providing useful tips. Polk announced that he’s retiring from poker, but no matter if that means he will simply play a lot less, or that he doesn’t want to play in live events, he still deserves a spot on my list. After all, being in your early 30s with millions of dollars in your bank account and possibly even a few million invested in cryptocurrencies doesn’t sound like a bad deal, am I right?
As you can see, making a living playing online poker is more than plausible. While it may be slightly more difficult than it was in the previous golden years of online poker, the poker logic is simple — as long as you’re better than the people you’re playing against, you are going to win.
However, there are several essential factors that you need to know. For starters, nobody made millions on their first day, so you should take things slowly. Think of poker as your hobby or play it only in your spare time before you get good enough to commit more hours to poker. In addition, while you’re playing, make sure that you’re taking things slowly until you get comfortable enough to play with higher stakes — just take a look at Polk, for example.
After you’re set on investing enough hours a day or a week to play and practice poker, you need to learn to manage your bankroll and your emotions. By combining that with your ability to play poker, you will learn how to limit your losses and instead focus on continuously increasing your bankroll.