I need to confess, the thrill of winning a game of poker is a huge thrill!
Spending $10 and walking away with $150 cash seems like a pretty good investment or maybe I just have some serious skills? Or luck? Or skills? 😉
Where else do you have the potential to go from $50 to a down payment for a house in one night?
In complete seriousness, there are a lot of people who play poker professionally and make a full time living doing so. Read on to find out if you should consider playing the game for a side-hustle.
Who Fits the Poker Niche?
Typically people who are highly competitive are the types who have some level of success in poker (For the remainder of the article I’m going to focus on Texas Hold’em as the game referred to as “poker” – it’s the most common).
I was raised in a family where a simple game of Monopoly could turn into a fist fight, so let’s just say I’m a little competitive. Those who can learn a game and hone their skills to win at all costs are viable candidates for the game of poker.
Self-control is also a necessary trait when considering playing poker. The game can have an additive draw on most people. It’s hard to “cut your losses” when one more good hand could undo a bad hand.
Is Poker Really Any Different Than the Stock Market?
Playing poker and investing in the stock market share some similarities, especially risk.
The game of poker is volatile much like the stock market. You can easily go from chip leader to barely hanging on in the span of one hand despite your best efforts. Similarly with the stock market, your shares can plummet due to economic reasons (think 2008) or a company you invested in could implode.
With that being said, the stock market does offer many alternatives to help address this risk. Typically your potential gain is diminished, but you can usually reduce the amount of instability. One example would be mutual funds. Instead of investing in single stocks, mutual funds provide the option to spread your investment over many different companies which helps reduce risk. Poker offers no such solution.
Do People Actually Make a Living Playing?
Yes. If you’ve ever eaten at a Buffalo Wild Wings, you know that there are professional poker players as they seem to occupy every other TV.
I grew up playing small home games with buddies in the evenings. The most I’ve ever won was $150 but over all the games I’ve played, I probably haven’t broken even.
There are some people who make an average income from playing poker. By average income, I’m assuming $50-100K after expenses. From all the (unscientific) research I’ve compiled, it appears that about 10% of players are successful.
Another necessary variable in this analysis is that most players are by their very nature bluffers, so perhaps a 10% success rate is too high…
So Should I play as a Side-hustle?
Obviously you’re a big boy or girl, so make your own life decisions. However, poker is a very risky endeavor with microscopic chances of actually making it big (or even making it small). With the risk of addiction, and the negative results to your family, maybe you should consider delivering pizza as a side hustle and invest your earnings in index funds.
Leave poker where it belongs, on a dining room table surrounded by good friends and good brews.
Have you ever won a game of poker? Would you consider learning a game to play as a side hustle? Share in the comments below.
Learn more about the Drunk Millionaire HERE.
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Money Advice From Farmers HERE.