Making A Lot of Money in Poker

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Do you look at poker as a potential avenue for retirement? The latest Losing Stress Podcast episode looks into poker, as a career, from a broader perspective.

The Losing Stress Podcast Ep 38 – Poker for Retirement

In this article, we are going to look into poker, as a career, from a broader perspective.

And what we want to look at is the potential opportunity in poker to make a lot of money and set yourself up financially for the future.

We want to look at this simply because there have been clear examples of others who have made a lot of money in poker and have effectively retired off of poker. And it’s both interesting and useful to look at poker as an avenue for potentially setting yourself up for not needing to be making money in the future.

Making A Lot of Money in Poker

When you start to look at the potential for poker as an avenue for retirement, then there’s a lot of different ways that this can be approached.

First of all, perhaps the first thing that requires mentioning is:

Who is it that really actually approaches poker in this way?

If you were to look at this then it’s almost certainly in the tiny minority. It’s really few and far between. As the majority of people are likely playing poker because:

  • they enjoy it or;
  • they’re playing it recreationally or;
  • they’re simply playing it because they are looking to make money and get by or enjoy their lives.

Looking at Poker in the Short Term

Essentially, most of us look at poker in this short timeframe.

And rather than label this as a ‘bad’ thing, it’s important to know that this might be completely essential for a person in their situation in their life.

If, for example, you’ve got a family to support and poker is your main source of income and you’ve invested many years into being a poker player, then of course providing for your family is going to have a much greater priority than considering poker as an avenue for retirement.

And so let’s take note of the fact that being super successful in poker may not be the highest priority for everyone.

But let’s now suppose that you’re somebody who doesn’t have all of this responsibility. And doesn’t have this responsibility necessarily for having to make a lot of money right now. And then somebody comes along and says to you,

Have you considered Poker as an Avenue of Retirement?

Now, when that question is put to you, what is it that starts to open up?

When you do ask yourself a question like this or someone does put to you a question like this, first of all, you acknowledge that I perhaps don’t even see poker from this angle.

I haven’t actually considered poker in this way. And so why is it that I haven’t considered poker in this way or how is it that I can consider poker in this way?

And one of the clearest answers that arises for this question is to start to see poker on a much longer time frame than one that your mind typically goes through day to day or even month to month or even year to year.

If a person has it in their mind that the possibility to retire from poker can occur, say within five years, 10 years, then the mind is going to be constructed in a way that’s completely different to a mind that is simply stuck in the games that it’s playing in or just going through the motions.

Seeing Poker in a Longer Timeframe

A few may already be considering poker on this longer time frame.

And now when we do start to consider poker now in this way, then I think there are two main factors that have to be considered very carefully.

The first one is opportunity.

The Opportunity in Poker

Are you providing yourself with the opportunities to make a lot of money in poker?

Or are you becoming stuck in an environment where, quite likely, there is a cap to how much you can make?

For example, if you play cash games in a casino regularly, where the environment is somewhat static (there aren’t many huge influxes of money coming into the economy unless a star or a whale joins the games), then there quite likely is a ceiling to how much you can earn.

A Possible Ceiling to How Much You Can Earn in Poker

Now, the ceiling could be high, but in a lot of cases it’s not. And so a lot of players are capping themselves with how much they can potentially earn by becoming too static and staying in an environment that doesn’t allow themselves to potentially capture a big opportunity.

So that’s really one of the main factors here: am I staying in an environment or am I being too fixed and not allowing flexibility to possibly move and search to see if there are better opportunities out there?

So far we have looked at this from a cash game perspective because obviously if you play tournaments then with the big prize pools there is obviously that possibility to make that life-changing amount of money.

But when you’re playing cash games that opportunity is also there but it’s heavily dependent on the games that you actually play.

Or it’s dependent on having a very strict saving policy and a really solid investing strategy.

Saving and Investing

What warrants mentioning, of course, is that in the difference between what you earn and spend provides an opportunity to invest.

And having a clear and solid investment strategy whilst playing in a fairly stable environment could certainly provide the opportunity to retire.

What constitutes a clear and solid investment strategy though falls out of the scope of this podcast.

Reducing your expenses is also a relevant factor that could aid you. But it’s worth mentioning that a lot of us didn’t get into poker to save our way into retirement. We enjoy being able to afford certain luxuries: in travel and where we eat and stay.

And if we were being honest, as poker players we typically overspend in these areas in life. And could certainly be something we look into.

Rather than go into this now let’s take a look at the second factor that’s important for success in poker: preparation.

Preparation in Poker

How is it that you are actually preparing yourself to make a lot of money in poker?

This is really: how good are you at the game/game types that you do play as well as all the other skills that go around playing poker?

And this is perhaps even more important than the opportunity factor. Because say, for example, you’re in Vegas and you have the opportunity to say enter a $10,000 tournament in a game type that you’re not very good at, then that clearly doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Preparation And Opportunity for Success in Poker

So preparation has to meet the opportunity for this success to occur in poker or in most cases it does.

You do of course hear stories occasionally of people luck-boxing a lot of money, say in a tournament or in some very special cash game and not necessarily being one of the best players.

But in all honesty, if you are taking or looking at poker as this avenue for a lot of success, so a lot of money, then you’re going to be taking opportunity and preparation seriously.

What we actually mean by preparation is, of course, studying the game extensively as well as doing other things outside of studying the strategy of poker to improve your performance when you actually play.

Poker as Your Business

One useful way we can view poker is as a business: where you, yourself, are the business. 

And if you start to see poker that way, then you can see that you can invest in yourself. Because you are the business. This means you have the opportunity to invest your time or money into improving your capabilities.

And when it comes to the performance side of poker there are many avenues that you can go down here:

  • learning about the mind;
  • diet;
  • sleep;
  • exercise.

There are all of these different avenues that you can pursue when you start to see poker more as this study plus decision-making sport.

And so when you’re making money at poker, the money that you make can be invested back into improving your opportunity to move along this path of having poker become this huge success. So that you can then be set up for the rest of your life.

And if you’re listening to this now thinking, okay, is this all well and good, but you haven’t talked about the fortune (the run good factor) at all there, which is, of course, a factor in that in order to make a lot of money from poker.

The Run Good Factor

And if you’re reading this now thinking, okay, this is all well and good, but you haven’t talked about good fortune or the run good factor. Which is, of course, a key factor in making a lot of money from poker.

It’s vital if you play in good cash games or big tournaments to also run well.

But of course, even though good fortune isn’t controllable, it only comes about through opportunity and preparation.

Or at least opportunity.


I think that’s a good point to draw this to a close.

We’ve looked into poker as an avenue of retirement or making a lot of money.

And to sum up, we talked about the importance of seeing poker on a longer timeframe.

As well as the importance of the factors of opportunity and preparation for achieving this.

And on that note, guys, as always, take care!