With this year’s World Series of Poker concluded, poker pros are now coming clean about how much they reaped and lost throughout the season. The 2022 WSOP saw a total of 88 events unfold across close to 8 weeks of action. As one can expect, the tournaments produced a mix of high and low results for the participants.
Indeed, WSOP has produced millionaires over the last couple of years. However, it has also led to huge losses because grinders don’t always make a profit when they participate in online poker tournaments. Furthermore, the official prizes that are announced at the end of some of these tournaments, including the WSOP, don’t always align with the final payouts that the poker pros receive.
For instance, after bagging this year’s Main Event Espen Jorstad took to Twitter to come clean that he would not be banking the full $10 million that he won. Rather, the poker pro would be taking home a lesser amount after handling swaps and covering his action. Because Jorstad lives in London currently, the remainder of his winnings will not be subject to tax.
If he was still living in Norway, however, he would be charged 28% of his earnings. If this was the case, his winnings would effectively be trimmed down by at least $2.8 million before handling his swapped action.
Another poker pro, Daniel Negreanu, wasn’t as lucky as Jorstad though. Negreanu claims to have lost approximately $1.1 million even though the veteran poker pro cashed 12 times in 50-plus tournaments to generate $248,918 in total. Another poker pro-Ethan Yau also claims to have generated losses this year.
After participating in 60 tournaments, Ethan Yau claims that he lost close to $101,708. Johnnie Moreno also purportedly lost $4,511 after taking part in 31 tournaments. But it wasn’t all bad news.
Several more poker players reported profits during this year’s WSOP including Landon Tice ($7,300), Daniel Sterlitz ($128,727), Scott Ball ($40,879), and more. As you can see, WSOP can be a grind even for the most experienced poker players and it doesn’t always result in positive results.
Nonetheless, poker will keep growing
Poker is easily now one of the most sought-after online activities in the world; the pandemic certainly saw to it. According to the BBC, online casino searches hit an all-time high when the world was suddenly forced into lockdown. As a result, online slots, poker, virtual sports, and casino gaming all got a much-needed boost as engaged gamblers spent more time and money gambling.
But online poker’s boom happened long before the recent pandemic. The antecedents of the poker boom were a combination of many things including the first poker movie known as Rounders. Rounders was released in 1998 and when it debuted, it quickly grew into a cult classic and helped to attract even more recreational poker players.
Another factor that helped poker grow was the debut of Planet Poker, which was the first online real money poker site to ever operate. After the launch of Planet Poker, the poker industry really started to mature when the Travel Channel introduced the first World Poker Tour in 2003. It was during this year that Chris Moneymaker battled 839 participants to make it to the final table.
From Moneymaker’s mere $86 investment, the former accountant participated in the Main Event with 63 of the best poker players in the world to walk away with the first-place cash prize of $2.5 million and the title of the first WSOP world champion. Moneymaker’s win in 2003 effectively changed the world of professional poker forever. The veteran poker player’s win created a phenomenon that is today referred to as the Moneymaker Effect.
During that year, the WSOP attracted a field of no more than 900 individuals, which was still impressive at the time. But since then, the number of professional poker players that sign up for WSOP’s Main Event is almost 15X that. As such, the lure of making it big as a professional poker player has never been bigger and more possible than it is now.
But how do poker players really make money?
Playing poker professionally can be lucrative. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Players often have to go long periods without earning cash or attaining a position that allows them to walk away with winnings. When poker players do finally win, the cash prizes can be worth hundreds of thousands and in some really good cases, millions.
Poker players must sign up for tournaments consistently if they want to succeed as professional poker players. There are a lot of financial risks involved in professional poker and it can be a tough challenge to bear especially for those in the initial stages of their poker careers.
To offset this financial challenge, many pros opt for staking. Staking in poker refers to the act of providing a player with bankroll in exchange for the pro’s share of the profits. Players agree on the terms of the staking beforehand with the poker player who is given the stake being known as a horse.
Staking is a technique that has been used for years. However, over the last few decades, entrepreneurial poker players have also turned to the technique. Poker staking provides additional ways for poker pros, especially veteran millionaire players, to generate additional income while also supporting the new generation of skilled poker players.
Poker players have become a phenomenon in the world and the fascination will only keep growing. It is estimated that there are at least 23 million recreational poker players in the US, which is close to 10% of the population. Whether people perceive poker as a hobby or a sport is debatable but participation has been nothing short of remarkable.
But as we’ve learned above, professional poker players don’t always have it easy. Even though it is possible to build a successful and lucrative career in the industry, it is also very easy to experience huge losses. So the next time you’re watching a poker tournament online and the winner is announced, keep in mind that some of that cash will probably be shared with a backer.