How Much can you earn as a Cash Game Poker player?

Francesco Campioni
21 Mar 2024
Holdem Database Review
21 Mar 2024

Hello everybody and welcome to a new article for

Today we are speaking about the most interesting thing about poker which is money. The question I will try to answer in this video is how much you can really earn by playing poker.

Based on my own experience, and I will show you all the numbers about my database, but the reason why I wrote this article is because I think, having realistic expectations is the #1 tilt-preventing factor and what I want to say is that if you expect to win more than you realistically can in the state you're playing.

Just such things can happen. At first, you can run good, win as much as you expect (and even a lot above your expectations), but then you will elude yourself that this is your standard. And when the good run will finish, you will be really pissed, and it's gonna be very difficult for you to accept back your previous reality, that you already experienced.

Trust me - the good run will finish sooner or later.

Or what can happen is that you will not run good as before and reality will punch you directly in the face from the very beginning, and you will tilt, you have rage from poker and other things like this.

Why you should not measure your poker success in bb/100?

Before thinking about the numbers I think it is important to make it clear - what really matters when you measure your profit and how you should measure your profit.

A lot of people are focused on bb/100. I always hear questions about how many bb/100 should a player have, what is a good winrate and to mention, with how many bb/100 should a player move up and many more things like this.

Now let's set apart the bb/100 metric. It really sucks, and it's one of the most pointless stats you can have in your database or whatever, and I will show you also - why.

What is much more important, is measuring eventually your hourly income in dollars per hour or in euros per hour if you play in Europe.

So why do I think that it's a pointless value? Well, I do it for many reasons.

First of all, it is highly inaccurate and it is super influenced by variance even on a relatively big sample. Imagine a sample that you think might be good to measure your poker effectiveness in bb/100. - Let's say 200k hands. - I don't personally think that it's enough, but assume you think 200k hands are enough to measure bb/100. Especially, in high-variance poker formats such as Zoom cash games.

And what is going to happen? Firstly, if in these 200k hands you run into a big downswing for the 20-30 buy-ins, - which is more common than you think, - this is gonna have a huge impact on your bb/100. It's gonna ruin your bb/100 and it may demotivate you from continuing (which is of course a bad thing).

Secondly, I think the way you measure the bb/100 is simply biased. It will take some time to make these 200k hands, and the first 10k hands you play during this distance are gonna be played by you in some conditions, and later - in others. It means that you play the first 10k hands in a certain way and in a certain field.

You at the beginning of this distance and you at its end are two slightly different players.

If you if you compare these first 10k hands of this sample with the last 10k hands of this same sample, what is going to happen, is that

  • Your game changed,
  • You probably improved,
  • Your mindset may have changed,
  • Maybe you were tilting less or more
  • But also the field may have changed - who knows,

Maybe there is one new regular who is very strong and keeps damaging your winrate or maybe there is one of these good regulars moved up in stakes and now the field is a bit better, rising your theoretical bb/100.

And as you see, it's very pointless to measure your bb/100 because the factors that influence them are constantly changing - every session you play. So it's really not easy, if not impossible to measure.

Your bb/100 it is something which describes the past - not the present.

Thirdly, it doesn't necessarily mean that having high bb/100 means more money.

For example, it is much better to have 3 bb/100 by two-tabling then having 5 bb/100 mono-tabling if you speak eventually about money. The mere value of bb/100 also doesn't count for rakeback which is a huge part of your profit as a professional pocket player or same professional poker player.

It is usually a lot better to be a break-even player with 0 bb/100 and with a 50% rakeback deal, than to be a 3 bb/100 player with no rakeback at all. So rakeback is a big deal when you speak about money in the end, and that's what you should really care about.

Then I would say that another problem with bb/100 is that they're not a direct measure of your skill. Your bb/100 will vary from the field you play, the time of the day you play, how many tables you play, and how good you perform. What I want to say is that if I have 6 bb/100 and you have 3 bb/100, there is still not enough information to tell - who of us is the better poker player, and who knows poker better than the other.

You may have lower bb/100 in the sample you're analyzing, but it ma be caused by several compelling reasons:

  • You may be playing at a tougher time of the day,
  • You may be playing more tables than me,
  • You may have bigger tilt problems,
  • So even if I perform better in this sample, you are technically better than me overall.

As such, you cannot measure your skill with your bb/100 or compare it at least with somebody else.

You play poker to make money, and that's it.

How much you earn per hour determines how successful you are in poker. A wealthy, but less skilled poker player than you doesn't know about poker strategy so much and well as you, but if he won $50 million or so by playing with even bigger whales in the super high-stakes private games, well, he did a better job than all of us as a poker player - that's it. And that's why dollars or Euros per hour is more important than bb/100.

And now let's discuss about difference per 100 to people who have a weak ego to satisfy.

How much can you earn by playing Cash Games

So how much can you earn by playing poker? Let's come to the point.

First of all, I'm speaking about my personal experience in Zoom poker at, and what I saw in my personal results. If you prefer playing regular cash games, your winrate can be much higher (however we don't speak about your overall $/hour including rakeback).

I consider myself a decent regular, I'm not a world-class player by any means but I've done better than most on my Stakes. So coming to the result, I will show you this sample from my Bankroll challenge on It gives me a way to show you my earnings on different stakes even if every single sample is influenced by variance, but also was on, which I think most of you guys play.

So here you see the results in this sample: you see the Net Won per hour and we'll add here the rakeback a bit later, which of course was not counted in the in the basic sample of Net Won per hour. You can see here that I will go stake by stake to give you a look at how much you can expect to earn as a winning regular at the stakes, at least with my winrate. But again we don't know how to reiterate it.

Here is approximately how much I earn with rakeback in those Zoom tables. So, including rakeback, 

  • At NL10 I earned about $7.5 per hour,
  • At NL25 I earned about $12 per hour,
  • At NL50 it was about $27 per hour,
  • At NL100 it was about $40 per hour
  • And at NL200 it was $57 dollars per hour.

Now if you multiply that number per the time you play, - on a week / month / year, - then you'll get an idea of what you are looking at. Let's assume you'll play for example 6 hours a day, 5 days a week and that makes it 30 hours a week.

It meant:

  • $225 per week at NL10,
  • $360 per week at NL25,
  • $810 per week at NL50,
  • $1,200 per week at NL100 and
  • $1,710 per week at NL200.

That was weekly. If you consider it monthly, it's going to be

  • $945 per month at NL10,
  • $1, 512 per month at NL25,
  • $3,402 per month at NL50,
  • $5,040 per month at NL100 and
  • $7,182 per month at NL200.

And finally, let's count it yearly, which is the one you should consider the most because variance is huge. If we consider it yearly, we speak about

  • $12 per year at NL10,
  • $19k per year at NL25,
  • $42k per year at NL50,
  • $62k per year at NL100 and
  • $89k per year at NL200.

Again a top reg can win more than someone weaker will earn less than that, and don't forget that the field also counts. Someone weaker than me can earn more money in a better field or with a better routine than me. I mainly played Zoom tables in the afternoon and that was as pool tables collection as it can come.

It's okay that I chose to sacrifice part of my profit to have a better life-work balance. It's not right or wrong - it's all about your personal priorities. I didn't play 6 hours per day, but an average of 3hours per day, and as such I was really never tired while playing, which definitely boosted my winrate. When you hit this number again, don't forget that variance from month to month can have a huge impact on your results, so the numbers I gave you are just an average by keeping this kind of winrates, but month by month you will see huge differences. So be prepared for it.

We recommend reading: Unlocking Higher Stakes in Poker: How to Break Through

How frequently do you get a losing session

Now let's speak about how frequently and how big I happened to lose as a winning regular.

Session-wise I literally counted them in all the sample I have and I will show you on a chart that is as I found.

But to recap considering an average of 733 hands per session, I won at about 58.5% of the sessions I played.

This still means that when I sit for a poker session, I still have a 41.5% chance of losing, and it's huge. But keep in mind also that it's not just about how frequently you win or lose - you may win 60% of your sessions or even more but if you are a monkey-tilting in the remaining 40% of sessions you lose, there are high chances you're still a losing player because your winngns will not cover the losses.

If this is your case well using a stop loss may help a lot.

My worst variance experiences

Now I'll give you other numbers which will help you understand how bad variance can influence the winning cycle of a winning regular.

In my last 2 years I had 3 losing months. Of course they don't look like too many, but it's still quite tough to go through them - it's a lot worse than it sounds like. I may have run well or maybe I was expected to lose for 5 months, I don't know that. But that was it - I was losing for 3 months, and the biggest downswing in my lifetime was about 60 buy-ins at NL100 Zoom.

My longest break-even period in terms of winnings (not counting rakeback) was 220k hands long. It's out of time, and luckily when that happened I was playing a huge volume - it was the time of the Supernova status so I was playing like 100k hands per month but those 220k hands were a huge amount of time where I really suffered. And I didn't change anything on my game (nothing relevant) - I was winning before and I kept winning later, so that's what I can tell you.

Regarding my worst session ever, it was a -16 stacks. It happened at NL100 in about just 1 crazy hour of play, and the funny part is that 13 of those 16 Stacks were below EV. It was a random session, and I was playing when there was a huge Maniac at the tables. I was playing just for him and he was extremely lucky: I kept hitting hands, he kept having nothing and later in the same hands he kept getting lucky when we were already all-in. It was really really sick, and it is unforgettable.

Final Tips

So to wrap this up a bit and to give you my final tips:

  • First, focus on the things that count when you play poker - Money per hour (dollars, euros or whatever is your currency). "bb/100" do not count much to your monetary success. Also the way you perform in this game is what matters the most.
  • Secondly, microstakes as you see are not very profitable. Do not expect to live in West Europe or US and maintain yourself by playing at NL25 - it's simply not enough money.
  • And also do not compare the money within the table with the money you get for example by working with a salary - it's completely different. It is much better to have $1,5k salary than to win $1,5k on average at the tables because you have sick leave, you have vacations, you have pension, etc, - t's just better . You have probably less stress related to money, so do not compare that.

If you play at NL25, probably you cannot maintain yourself in the richest parts of the world. Then understand that variance is a HUGE thing. The money you invest in poker are subject to huge fluctuations - maybe not as much as investing in crypto, but you are definitely not investing in state bonds, and the months per month for tuition may be very heavy. My suggestion is to focus on yearly profit rather than weekly / monthly one or so on.

To finish it, I would say that if you learn to manage all the inheritable losses, you will have way bigger chances to be a winner in the long run and to be a successful poker player.

And that's one of the most important lessons you may learn: if you want to be a good winner, you need first to learn to become a good loser.

This article is made from How Much can you Earn as a Cash Game Poker player? video by Vladimir «ABIVPlus».

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