In 2016, I started playing poker seriously. I played very poorly, so I started with the micro stakes. By the end of the year, I had won as much as two thousand dollars, playing almost a million hands.
However, I continued to play because I liked this activity, and I was not going to back down. Three years later, in 2019, I was already a plus player in zoom200,
A regular video contributor on the Run It Once website, I gave private lessons to 12 players, and raised 14 people in my backing fund.
My total poker income in 2019 was $120,000 – just three years after such humble beginnings!
In this video, I will give step-by-step instructions on how to earn one hundred thousand dollars a year from poker.
To achieve this, three conditions must be met. First, play well. Secondly, grind a lot without losing the quality of the game. Thirdly, do not forget about alternative sources of income.
Nothing new, right? To fulfill each of the conditions, three tasks must be solved.
It's Good to Play
First, you have to learn the theory. I regularly mention this in my tutorial videos for Run It Once and GTO Wizard. This is one of the main conditions for a successful professional career. All strong players are distinguished by a good knowledge base and deep understanding of the theoretical foundations of poker. I don’t think that it’s impossible to become an elite poker player without knowing the theory, but these will be the rarest exceptions. Nowadays, even the players of a sharply exploitative style have a theoretical base. So my advice is to take it as soon as possible.
There are many ways to do this. There is GTO Wizard – the best, in my opinion, platform for learning the optimal strategy, there are other resources. To speed up the process, I would try to find backing with simultaneous training or invest in a course from a reputable coach. This is not worth saving, because once you understand the technical side of the game, everything else will become much easier. Use all the resources you can and study hard.
Second, you have to learn how to exploit. Absolutely all top players know how to exploit their opponents and try to do it as soon as possible. Each of them remembers that there are no players who can play perfectly in GTO. You can adapt to any human strategy and win more solvers. Linus Love, Stefan, top tournament pros all use exploitative lines from time to time. In my opinion, this is very important. In theory, the game will also be profitable, but the really big money will bring the maximum exploitation. To reach a six-figure annual income in poker, you need to learn how to do it.
How? Study the trends of the field by bases, and look for how much people deviate from the optimum. Spoiler: a lot. Once you find the biggest discrepancies, look for ways to capitalize on them. This is a difficult task, but you still have to take it on. Search Google for the keywords mass database analysis. Exploit methods are also not always simple and intuitive. You have to work hard with a solver that is locked into unbalanced strategies to see how it counteracts them.
Third, be prepared to take risks. This is perhaps one of the main conditions for improvement. I'm talking about the general approach to the game. In most situations, you can play the patterns you know, or you can take risks and deviate from them. Ask yourself: which line will be the most risky here? In many situations, the answer will be the best choice, as it will present the opponent with the most difficult task. If you develop this habit in yourself, it will set you apart from the general group of regs and allow you to achieve higher win rates than your peers.
A stumbling block for so many players. Poker is a tough game, and when you lose, you either lose the will to continue or start making poorer decisions. You need to come up with a way that will allow you to play smoothly, without losing volume. If you don't learn how to do this, you'll still have a chance of winning $100,000 a year, but it's much less likely to happen.
The first step is to set a goal for yourself and assemble a group whose members report to each other. This is one of the main tips in the entire video, take it as seriously as possible. Yes, it sounds rather boring, but platitudes work. Having clear goals combined with responsibility to others works wonders. The goal could be the number of hands (or tournaments) you are going to play in a month. Once you've set a goal, share it with people you trust with similar aspirations and values.
Responsibility works. We can easily skip a morning workout at the gym if we want to get a couple more hours of sleep, but if a personal trainer with whom we had previously agreed on a lesson is waiting in the gym, there is nowhere to retreat. We are very social creatures and hate to let others down.
I emphasize again: this is one of the most powerful life hacks that I share in this video.
The second step is to make a schedule, damn it! This makes life very easy. If you don't schedule your daily schedule for the week ahead, you're wasting a lot of EV on it. The habit of planning dramatically increases the chances of achieving your goals.
On Sunday evenings, I take 20-30 minutes to plan out the next week.
Every day is detailed by the hour – everything that I will do, all phone calls with students, play, work, and so on.
Sound boring? Unpleasant to feel bound by rigid plans? Sure. However, it is necessary. If you want to make $100,000 a year playing poker, sometimes you have to do what you don't like, and planning is clearly not the worst thing. Soon it will become a habit, and you will see that there is nothing impossible in this. The daily routine will bring you closer to your desired goal.
The third critical step is to take care of your psyche. If you need that hundred thousand a year, you can't afford to play less or worse when you're not doing well or when there are problems outside of poker. But you will not be able to achieve stability if you feel anxious or sad all the time if you often play tired or irritated.
There is only one way to solve the problem: to ensure that the body releases the right chemicals to the brain, regardless of the results at the tables. Sometimes we become literally obsessed with poker, we devote all our time to it, and we fence ourselves off from the rest of the world. Sometimes such periods are useful, but in the long run, they are very dangerous. We are extremely social animals and easily get depressed and lose motivation, denying ourselves communication with other people.
I will not dwell on physical activity in detail, you all already know about their benefits. Exercise and proper nutrition give us extra energy.
Remember that rest is productive. It's not wasted time. Do not grab everything at once and work 12 hours a day, it will just burn us out. Our life is a marathon, not a sprint. It is not necessary to progress in all directions every day, a few small steps in the right direction will suffice. I promise, in the long run, the effect will definitely appear.
In principle, you can do without it, but I think that if you follow this path, you will not regret it. Poker is a very dispersive activity. Downswings can last several months! Having additional sources of income will help you deal with temporary setbacks in poker more easily and make your game more stable.
Look for publicity. Opportunities don't come to people nobody knows. If you are interested in additional sources of income, you will have to sacrifice at least part of your anonymity. Show your work and results on Instagram. Keep a diary on a poker resource. Try streaming on Twitch. There are a lot of options. All this will allow people to know about you. Someone will look up to you, someone will ask for lessons, and someone will offer cooperation.
Make connections. This is the natural next step. Maintain relationships with people who may be interested in your product in the future or know potential customers and can influence them. With my current backing fund partner, we trained together for several years and then created a joint business that has already brought us several million dollars. It all started with a message he sent me on a poker forum after reading the text on my blog.
Define your area of expertise accurately. For example, I know that I have a pedagogical talent, it was noticeable even in childhood. But I wouldn't make it as a streamer on Twitch because I'm not funny. They come to me not for jokes, but for all sorts of solver things. So I followed the path of a coach, became a Run It Once and GTO Wizard instructor, recruited 15 personal students, and then helped two hundred players from our foundation work on theory. I knew what I was good at and I was able to scale it as much as possible. Through my YouTube channel, I'm looking for even more reach.
Each of you also has an area in which you excel most of your colleagues. Find it and use it to generate additional income. It definitely won't hurt.