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The business side of poker

By: jergul @ 00:16 (EDT) / 405 / Comment ( 0 )
I have been looking a bit at poker as a small business kind of opportunity, and frankly the exercise was a bit unnerving.

Take a baseline invoice rate of 100 dollars/hr to cover wages, taxes and overhead for a single person company and you get the picture immediately. This is probably the minimum of what can be considered a profitable business in any traditional understanding of the word.

This I think is an important thing to understand.We all know we can subsidize our poker playing in various ways - directly through increasing a bankroll (which is surprisingly rather trivial as these things go), playing from home, not using a bookkeeper, ignoring pension savings, or taxes. The biggest factor is of course wages. A business might appreciate a worker willing to work for peanuts per hour, but if that worker is me, then I am not so fond of the concept. So nominal profits might be positive. But that is still far from being profitable in a business sense. A winning poker player and a winning poker business are two different beasts.

Sharkscope says about 1/3 of players are profitable. Barry Greenstein puts the number at 20% after covering direct expenses, with 10% able to technically make a living out of it and 5% able to make both a living and bear the extra costs of a live poker playing lifestyle.

As a former deepsea fisherman, I know a lot about the costs of lifestyle. Money to burn until there is no money to burn. Then back on the boats again :) .

There are ways to supplement table earnings. To name two: Staking is something I see in this forum (but that intuitively does not look like a business winner, though profitable no doubt at times), or well...I would bet money you could sell stakes in a top ranked finish after the fact for much more than nominal value if you knew the right...or rather the wrong people.

From a business sense, playing poker resembles breeding cats or making homemade jam for sale.

Earn a bit, lose a bit, but like a lot, or its usually a waste of time.
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