Online Poker Players and Their Lifestyles

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to playing poker professionally. Most people in the mainstream think of it as a pastime that pros enjoy.

The most interesting assumptions people usually make are about the players’ lifestyles. They tend to believe that online poker players all live baller lifestyle. As we’ll endeavor to explain here, you’ll see for yourself that there is a lot more hard work than meets the eye involved in the online poker player lifestyle.

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How Much Money Do Professional Online Poker Players Make (and Spend)?

Professional poker players don’t net as much money as people usually think. Often, people fail to factor in the expenses involved. Let’s say that a player won $1 million at a poker tournament. Most people will simply gasp at the idea of that much money and won’t even try to consider how the player lived before winning that money.

Online poker tournament grinders usually say that they make about half of what they win (on average). This is so because they rightfully deduct all the entry fees they’ve paid along with other expenses necessary to maintain their chosen careers, like travel, accommodation, etc.

While one might think that someone who sits in front of a computer to play online wouldn’t have accommodation and travel expenses, the fact is that many professional online players don’t reside full-time in jurisdictions that allow online poker. Thus, they must travel to other jurisdictions where it is legal to play… hence the added expenses.  Plus there’s hardware (e.g., laptop), Internet, and food costs that factor into the lifestyle.

Online Poker Players Don’t Have To Pay Taxes

That statement is NOT TRUE. So long as the player’s home country has a taxation policy on gambling, both land-based and online gamblers will be taxed.

READ: Interview with Poker Tax Specialist Ray Kondler CPA

Tax-free life is another misconception about the lifestyle of online poker players. Taxes affect their income and, of course, their bankroll. Players from jurisdictions like the UK are still free from this menace.

If you’re US-based and play online poker (whether while abroad on regulated sites or, alternatively, choosing to take the risk on unregulated sites), the tax man will still be after your winnings, but at least you can itemize deductions like the expenses we listed above in order to minimize your tax obligation.

One thing is for certain, wherever you’re based while playing online poker: it helps to take advantage of rakeback bonus code offers to help preserve your bankroll.

What about the Psychology of It All?

One other thing that people often forget to think about when it comes to the lifestyle of online poker players is the psychological difficulty involved.

For one, this profession demands great discipline. Like any other self-employed person, once you have set up your routine, you need to be able to stick to it, even if you don’t have a boss who will reprimand you.

Also, you need to be able to stay healthy to perform optimally. Many online poker players try very hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle with home-cooked food and exercise, just like other people with “normal” jobs.


In short, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to being a professional online poker player. You know the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”? This is certainly appropriate with regard to understanding, appreciating, and empathizing with the lifestyle of online poker players.



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Written By.

Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded in 2009. A veteran member of the poker media corps, in addition to writing and video presenting, Robbie has hosted multiple poker podcasts over the years, including Top Pair, the Red Chip Poker Podcast, The Orbit, and the CardsChat Podcast. In 2019, Robbie translated the autobiography of Poker Hall of Famer Eli […]


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