Last month, we already translated the discussion that took place on Reddit – whether it makes sense to trade in a prestigious job for a poker dream.
The other day there was a similar discussion at the top of the poker section. One of the users shared their results. Over the past six years, he has won almost $450,000 in American live poker games. Some users were impressed by these results, while others noted that even recent schoolchildren can earn so much in the office.
“I’ve been making money playing poker for six years,” the author wrote in the title. – During this time I won almost half a million. Ask anything.
I started playing for $1/$2 when I watched several vlogs. Then I played $1/$3, $2/$5, and now I have risen to $5/$10/$25. I'm a great example that the poker dream is still alive.
– What advice do you give to a player who feels confident at $2/$5, but is very far from the top?
– Don’t be afraid to take shots at higher limits if your bankroll allows it. Competing with players is much stronger – a very rewarding experience. It is sobering and allows you to appreciate what a huge difference there is between you. After such shots, it is much easier for me to notice and exploit my opponents' $2/$5 mistakes.
– Play a lot. The more time you spend at the table, the better your gaming intuition develops.
– Study materials from strong players. I found Nick Petrangelo's Upswing course very helpful.
– Bankroll management and psychology will always be the most important prerequisites for a successful career.
– How quickly did you climb the limits?
The first six months of $1/$2 I played like a crazy monkey, it took a while to adjust to live play. Over the next six months, I went through $1/3, for several years I played $2/$5, for the last two years I have been playing $5/$10 and more.
– Tell us about your main leaks at the micro-stakes, which you eliminated first.
– I didn’t immediately realize how bad people play live when I was mainly playing online. Because of this, I didn’t know how to exploit them. I also had very poor tilt control. It was common to give a stack as a gift after a bad beat or play from my opponent.
– What mistakes are most common among weak players and how to use them?
– They constantly limp and enter the pot with an extremely weak range. Postflop they are unable to withstand aggression on several streets. Almost everyone also has problems with tilt. I’m not even talking about folding with hands that seem “strong” to them. If they hit two pair, they don't really care how strong their opponent's range is.
– Do you ever get the feeling that what you do is a form of fraud? I haven’t been playing for very long and in very weak lineups, but sometimes it seems to me that to succeed in poker it’s enough to wait for the upswing and not give away a stack when it doesn’t come.
– To some extent, you are right. The point of poker is to maximize your gains when things are going well and minimize your losses when things are going wrong.
Even such simple things as proper nutrition and regular exercise give a noticeable advantage over the field. Having a good rest before playing will keep you fresh-headed and avoid stress at the table, meaning you'll make fewer mistakes and cope better with travel.
– You mentioned exploits against players at low limits. Can you give examples of the most common ones?
– For me, an exploit is a combination of the imbalance of my opponents and my ability to read them. For example, I get very happy when certain players 3-bet me. Because if I hit the board well, I will win a lot against them.
Collecting maximum value on strong hands and giving away minimum value against my opponents' nuts is my main goal at the table.
– Is poker your only source of income?
– Yes, from January 1, 2019. Before that, I went to business school, worked for a while as an intern at a wealth management firm, then sold weed and drove for Uber.
– Wealth management is just a fashionable name for sales people? Then poker definitely looks more attractive.
-- If I had stuck to this career, I would probably be earning a little more now. My brother has been working at the same company for many years, his salary has been growing steadily, now he makes $500k a year. But this lifestyle just doesn't suit me.
– Your record downswing? Maximum win and loss per session?
– There were two downswings of 1.5 months each, when I lost $30k. Record winnings – $10k on 5/10/25, losses – $6k.
– For $5/$10/$25 these are very minor streaks. Why so few?
– I leave immediately if I start to lose. I prefer to sleep and come back the next day rested. It is also difficult to win a lot because the structure of the game is very bad. The maximum buy-in is only $2.5k. We play $5/$10, but 99% of hands have a $25 straddle. I would prefer to play with the $5k cap, but without the straddle, it would increase the depth. It’s difficult for me to cope with European wizards, of whom there have become a lot in America lately. They calculated everything at 100bb. We also have a rule that you cannot move to another table if you don’t like the lineup, you are only allowed to end the session.
– How do you work on the game?
– I watch a couple of hours of poker content almost every day. But I wouldn't call it serious work on the game. I study theory only a few hours a month, which is quite ridiculous, I understand that.
– You spent only $2k on food/tips in six years. They look very modest.
– I filled out this part of the table only for the first six months. God only knows how much I've spent on tips over five years. I suspect that the amount is huge, tens of thousands. The other day I won a $3k pot and a small $1k jackpot for a high hand, and left the dealer $120, for which I was ridiculed by the other players.
– Where do you invest your winnings?
– I always keep $50-$60k on hand for poker, the rest I invest in BTC and ETH.
– Do you regret choosing poker?
– My income is growing steadily. In 2021 I won 90k, in 2022 – $128k, this year I look at about +$90k due to two big downswings. But, more importantly, through poker, I met a lot of interesting people, even became friends with a billionaire, and began to receive invitations to private games. Poker is one of the best ways to make useful contacts. I have no boss; I work whenever I want; If I'm sick, I don't need to take time off, I just stay at home. I am not interested in pensions; I save for my old age myself; this is what all responsible people should do.
– Why don’t you play MTTs?
– Because I like winning money.
– The author is a great example that live grinding is not such an easy way to make money. $74k a year is not a lot of money even for a regular job. Taking into account pension and other benefits, this compares to a salary of $55k per year in the office, that is, approximately $25 per hour. You can earn this much even after school. So unless you're looking to get rich right away, poker isn't much different from an office career. But much more work and discipline is required.
In addition, poker players are famous for their inability to handle money. Many people don’t invest at all, prefer to keep large sums of cash, or even buy expensive cars.
In no case do I want my words to sound like an attack on the author; he has clearly achieved success in what he loves. I just wanted to show young readers that at a distance the amounts are not so huge.
– My overall graph does not reflect the full picture. My earnings increased significantly when I started playing $2/$5 and above. Since the beginning of 2021, I have won about $300k and that’s with a couple of long downswings that lasted for several months.
– I, too, was initially impressed by the graph, until I realized that even if you won $300k after 2021, that’s only $100k per year. At our company, an email delivery specialist earns $70k straight out of school while working remotely.
– Judging by the table, the author plays on average 25 hours a week. Why doesn't anyone pay attention to this? It doesn't sound stressful at all.
– I understand perfectly well that for the first two years, when I played micro-stakes, I myself was a fish. Half of 2020 was completely lost due to Covid. I myself would like to play more, but after 5-6 hours at the table, I seem to hit a wall. That’s why I play short sessions, but almost every day, seven days a week. I’m sure I’ll win a lot more over the next 5 years 🚀🚀🚀