What is ROI in poker? In the poker world, ROI is a crucial metric for players. ROI, short for "return on investment," is a criterion commonly used by tournament players to evaluate a player's sustained average profitability over time. In this comprehensive article, we will explore the concept of ROI in poker, discuss its significance, how to calculate it, and provide insights into improving your poker ROI.

Profit is convenient to look at the charts

Calculating your ROI in poker is a straightforward process, often aided by a calculator or spreadsheet. Start by subtracting your total tournament buy-ins from your winnings to find your net profit. Next, divide this figure by the sum of your tournament buy-ins.

The ROI formula is:

ROI = (Net Profit / Total Buy-ins)/ sum of total buy-ins * 100

For instance, you win $200 from a $50 online tournament. Your ROI for this tournament (200-50)/50*100 would be 300%.

Calculating ROI helps players track their profit and losses

Scenario 2: Assume you have played in 100 online poker events on PokerStars with a total buy-in of $1,000. After all of these tournaments, your net profit is $500. To determine your ROI:

ROI = ($500 / $1,000) * 100 = 50%

PokerStars starting out holding online poker games back in 2001 and now the company is worth over 6 billion dollars. They sponsor a slew of tournaments like the European Poker Tour, UK and Ireland Poker Tour, plus a handful of others. Over the years, PokerStars has remained on top of the online poker industry. They’ve expanded to offer fantastic online casino games and sports betting.

In this case, your ROI is 50%, which means you made a 50-cent profit on every dollar you put in buy-ins. You can also use online poker ROI calculators to do all these calculations with a single click.

The table below helps players make informed decisions about their tournament buy-ins and when to move up or down in stakes based on their bankroll size. It's a tool for responsible bankroll management essential to achieve a positive ROI.

Buy-InMove downMove upBuy-in Reserve
2.25 170 
2155400 25

Bankroll Management for Tournaments

This subject is debatable, meaning some poker players may be content with a lower ROI than others. A 15-20% ROI for most casual players is terrific, whereas anything above zero is a positive result for new players.

A desirable ROI typically ranges from 5% to 20% for serious heads-up SNG players. However, if you play in games with limits up to $30, it's prudent to aim for an ROI between 15% and 20%. It means striving for an earnings of about $6 per game, ensuring that your time investment is worthwhile.

Anything between 10%-20% is considered okay for players grinding tournaments. Taking into consideration the volume of games played is another crucial factor. Tournament players should strive to play 1,500 games or more to calculate their ROI. This extensive game count effectively incorporates the element of variance, accounting for the inevitable swings in fortune, thus offering a more accurate ROI estimation.

A negative ROI over a 1000 MTT sample size

Start by playing low-stakes games. Micro-stakes MTTs are often considered the lowest of low stakes. Buy-ins in this category can range from as low as $0.10-$5. Lowstakes MTTs can range from $5-20 and $25-$50. These games attract amateur players due to their affordability. Newbies make many mistakes, allowing you to take advantage of these errors and improve your ROI.

It's crucial to exercise caution and adopt a tight playing style when seated in an early position, gradually transitioning to a looser approach as you move to the middle position and even more so when you reach the hijack and cutoff. It's important to note that your opponents will typically adhere to these guidelines as well, so be more inclined to respect a raise coming from an early position compared to one coming from the button.

In a nutshell, the best method to increase your return on investment is to improve your poker game and play versus novice players. The difference in skill levels between a $5 tournament and a $210 tournament will result in a larger ROI for you. Find a stake where you can make money and play solid poker, and you will have a positive ROI.

Understanding Return on Investment (ROI) is vital. Whether playing on GG Poker, AmericasCardroom, or 888Poker, tracking your ROI helps measure your success and refine your strategy for a rewarding journey.

Player Rating
Players online
Deposit bonus
100% up to $1,000
Mob. client
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Regular rake races
Overlays in tournaments
Playing with Americans
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
Bonuses for active players
Player Rating
Players online
Deposit bonus
100% up to $2,000
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
Playing with amateurs from USA
Regular rake races
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
Help with withdrawals and deposits
Bonuses for active players
Player Rating
Players online
Deposit bonus
100% up to $600
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
High rakeback
Daily Leaderboards
Satellites to worldwide tournament series
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
Access to exclusive promotions
Bonuses for active players

A downswing refers to a period of unfavorable results where a player experiences a series of losses or below-average results despite making the right plays.

The table below illustrates the probability of experiencing downswings of varying lengths based on the number of games played and the buy-in (BI) level. But why is that? Well, the more games you play, the more variance you encounter. Variance is the natural ups and downs in poker due to luck. In a smaller sample of games, these swings can look more pronounced. As you play more games, variance tends to even out, and you get a better estimation of your ROI and skill level. You can also up your game and your ROI by investing in various GTO strategy databases.

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Browser-based GTO strategy database and  hand history analyzer


A 50% ROI can significantly affect the likelihood of experiencing a downswing. If you have a 50% ROI, on average, for every dollar you invest, you make back $1.50.A high ROI indicates you're often winning. It means you'll experience fewer downswings, and they won't be as severe.

Downswing of100 Games500 Games2000 Games
20 BI or more25.1%89.4%99.99%
30 BI or more4.5%54.1%97.2%
40 BI or more0.5%26.7%80.3%
50 BI or more0.0%12.0%55.9%
75 BI or more0.0%1.2%16.7%
100 BI or more0.0%0.06%4.37%

We have covered most of the elements affecting a player’s overall ROI in this article in one way or another.

  • Skill and Strategy: A player's skill level and strategy impact their ROI immensely. Meaning skilled players make better decisions regularly, reducing losses and increasing earnings. Since they understand different game elements like calculating pot odds, bankroll management, and much more, they are in a prime position to dominate their opponents, attaining a positive ROI.
  • Bankroll Management: It's critical to manage your bankroll effectively. Playing too high stakes for your bankroll can lead to significant losses and will deplete your bankroll faster, leading to a negative ROI.
  • Game Selection: Choosing the right poker game and table is essential. Due to variables like player skill levels and rake, certain games are inherently more lucrative than others. A good ROI depends on choosing the correct game for your skill level and bankroll.
Какой вид покера предпочитаешь?

Focus on continuous improvement, efficient bankroll management, game selection, a long-term perspective, tracking your results, and tilt control to increase your poker ROI. It's crucial to consider volume and costs when estimating your entire poker profits. Good luck at the tables.