StakeKings Review: Bringing Poker Staking to the Masses

By Ivan Potocki
August 09, 2020

Staking has been an integral part of poker for many years now. For many who enjoy the game but don’t necessarily have the time or the skills required to make it on their own, staking is a fun way to get in on the action of professional players and have a shot at a share of their winnings.

From the players’ perspective, having a backer or a group of backers is a great way to decrease variance and perhaps have a shot at playing in events that their current bankroll levels wouldn’t otherwise make possible. While they have to give up part of their winnings for that privilege, this is still a good deal for the player as they otherwise wouldn’t be able to play in a particular event if they weren’t partially or fully backed for it.


For a long time, staking deals were made behind the scenes. The world of staking includes both serious investors looking to make a good profit as well as casual stakers just participating for fun and out of the desire to support their poker-playing friends. Either way, staking used to mostly be a private affair, with your average poker fan not being able to get in on the fun.

The StakeKings platform was launched with the vision of changing all this, demystifying staking and opening it up to the general poker community. Launched by several poker and staking enthusiasts, StakeKings was somewhat of an adventurous project, but it turned out better than even the people behind it expected.

StakeKings in a Nutshell

If you don’t know anything about poker staking, the concept is fairly simple. You’re agreeing to give a certain player a part of a buy-in for a particular tournament they want to play in and, in exchange, they agree to give you a percentage of their winnings from that event.

Particularities of each staking deal can vary greatly but one simple example would be giving $100 to someone wanting to play a $1,000 tournament in exchange for 10% of their winnings. If they end up finishing in third place and cashing for $25,000, you get $2,500.

But where do you find these players to stake and how you can know you can trust them?

That’s where StakeKings comes in. The platform features a great number of players offering all sorts of packages. Many of the players selling their action on the StakeKings platform are well-known names in the poker world, so you can even back some of your favorite pros.

Big names or not, all players wanting to sell action on StakeKings must sign a contract with the platform. This is an official and legally binding contract that helps protect investors from any potential scams which, sadly, aren’t that uncommon in private staking deals.

The man behind the whole project, Tyler Hancock, has been a part of the poker world since 2003, running a number of affiliate and coaching sites as well as private staking groups. It was his experience with staking on public poker forums that gave him the idea for an app and a site that would make the whole process much simpler and more transparent.

How Does It Work and Who Can Use StakeKings?

While online poker is currently restricted or completely banned in many countries around the globe, the StakeKings platform is open to everyone. Even US residents can use it with no restrictions! Since you won’t be doing any playing yourself, there is nothing to prevent you from participating in the StakeKings offers.

To kick things off, you’ll need to create your StakeKings account, which shouldn’t take long. The site only requires a few basic pieces of information such as your full name, email address, and the alias you want to use on the platform. Don’t forget to use the code CPL when signing up!

StakeKings Registration

Once you’re done with the registration, you can deposit some funds into your account using the process similar to depositing with an online poker room. StakeKings supports numerous payment methods, including various debit and credit cards, e-wallets such as NETELLER, Skrill, and PayPal, and even make it possible to transfer funds via two major poker rooms, PokerStars and GGPoker.

You’ll get the full amount you deposit in your account. In other words, there are no “hidden fees.” StakeKings makes money from the players using the platform to sell action, so investors don’t have to pay anything. This can, however, be a reason players might charge a slightly higher markup (explained in greater detail below).

Staking Players: Buying Pieces at StakeKings features a very simple and intuitive interface that you’ll be able to use even if you don’t know much about staking. Once you navigate to the tab entitled “Marketplace” you’ll see the full list of players currently offering to sell action with details of the events they’re selling for.

StakeKings Marketplace

StakeKings Marketplace

If there is a particular player you’re interested in staking, you can use the “filter by player” function located in the top-left corner. This lists all the players currently offering packages on StakeKings and once you click the name, you’ll get the list of all events from that player.

StakeKings Filters

StakeKings Filters

One detail that will likely attract your attention is the “Markup” box to the right of the package name. If you’re new to staking, the concept of markup might be a bit confusing but it’s not too difficult to understand.

Basically, it is a premium that the player charges for the privilege of staking them. While the concept may sound strange to someone new to poker staking, it’s quite common. If a player believes they have an advantage over the field, they’ll try to assign a numeric value on it in the form of markup.

StakeKings Markup

Markup as illustrated on the StakeKings platform

For example, if the package is worth $1,000 and the player is selling at 1.20 markup, you’ll have to pay $12 to buy 1% of their winnings. If markup was 1.00, you’d be able to buy 1% for $10, whereas if it were 1.5 the same 1% would cost you $15, etc.

While there is nothing wrong with markup in general, players do sometimes tend to overestimate their advantage over the field and set ridiculously high markups. This problem isn’t as pronounced with StakeKings though, as since its an open market, if the number is too high the poker community would likely get very vocal about it.

When Do I Get Paid?

Generally speaking, all stakes are settled shortly after the tournaments are completed. For online events, money is usually paid within a couple of hours, while it can take a day or two for live winnings to be processed due to logistics.

StakeKings Deposit/Withdrawal Options

StakeKings Deposit/Withdrawal Options

Once the money is in your account, you can simply withdraw it using one of several convenient methods mentioned above. Once again, this is the process similar to withdrawing money from your online poker client. Simply choose the amount you want to cash out, select your preferred method, and the cash will be with you shortly.

Stake Optimizer: Smart Betting Algorithm

If you’re new to staking and don’t know where your money would be best spent, offers a nice tool called Stake Optimizer. You can enter the amount you want to invest and the tool will come back with the list of the best investment options for your budget.

Note that the Stake Optimizer functionality is only available to Premium users. Premium membership costs $24.99 for one month (it’s only $19.99 for a recurring monthly subscription). Just remember to use the code CPL when you sign up for Premium.

Feeling Lucky: Let the System Pick

The Feeling Lucky option is similar to the Stake Optimizer tool but you’ll be able to use it even with the basic StakeKings account. It will suggest the best investment for your selected amount of money. If you do indeed get lucky and manage to win 100x your investment back or more using the Feeling Lucky function you’ll also receive a cool $1,000 jackpot on top.

StakeKings Feeling-Lucky

StakeKings Social Features: Leaderboard & Discord Channel

StakeKings isn’t just a place where you can stake some money on poker players and (hopefully) make a return on your investment. This is a platform that gathers many like-minded individuals a majority of whom has at least one thing in common: their love for the game of poker.

To enhance this feeling of community, StakeKings offer several interesting features. The first one is the Leaderboard, which ranks investors based on their returns. For every $1 you get back on your investments on the platform, you’ll receive 1 leaderboard point. At the end of each month, players are awarded cash prizes and bonuses for their efforts.

StakeKings Leaderboard

There is also a dedicated Discord channel for all StakeKings users. This is the place that brings together players, stakers, and the people running the platform itself, providing an opportunity to have an open discussion about all sorts of topics and also get in touch with player(s) you’re backing. If you really want to enjoy what has to offer, you really ought to join the Discord channel after you sign up for an account using the code CPL.

The platform also sometimes runs other promotions that offer users a chance to get some extra cash. For example, they currently have a special promo for Skrill deposits, as follows: If you deposit $20 or more and the very first player you back after the deposit wins the tournament, you’ll receive a $1,000 bonus.

Use StakeKings Without Risking Real Money

If you aren’t ready to put real money at risk or simply can’t yet fully wrap your head around the idea of using a real-money staking platform and how it all works, know that you can still sign up to and participate in play money “Staking Challenges.” These free “play money” events occur once or twice per month and allow you to compete for real prizes without having to actually deposit any money on the site.

For example, at the time of writing, StakeKings has a staking challenge in which users need to compete to see who can accumulate the most “Challenge Coins” by staking players in a WSOP bracelet event. Prizes for the winners include real money ranging from $5-$15 as well as larger prizes for Premium members ranging from $25-$250 plus the opportunity to play in a $1,000 heads-up match vs. a StakeKings Pro.

StakeKings Challenge Marketplace

What is

Everything discussed until this point in our review relates specifically to the platform; i.e., the poker staking domain where you can buy shares of the players, and where players themselves create packages and determine prices.

StakeKings Betting

The platform, by contrast, is actually a betting site. While both sites have a similar design, the main difference is that doesn’t really involve players. The “markup” figure quoted on this platform is actually the betting line and you’re betting on a certain player to make money in a certain event.

If you win, it is StakeKings that will pay the winnings, not the player themselves. This site isn’t much different from any other betting site except it’s all about poker, with odds shown as markup numbers.

Notably, whereas is available to anyone, anywhere in the world, as a Curacao-licensed betting site is unavailable to residents of the following countries: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, France, The Netherlands, Saba, Statia, St. Maarten, Singapore, and the United States of America.

Final Thoughts on StakeKings

StakeKings‘ will undoubtedly get many people excited about poker staking. The platform’s user base has been growing steadily since launch and it seems that Hancock and his partners have come up with an excellent, well-executed idea that poker community approves of.

Here’s StakeKings ambassador Jeff Gross giving a more interactive example of how to use the .com platform:

One final thing you should know is that StakeKings has been very careful to limit their exposure in the unlikely event things don’t go as planned (e.g., a winning player refusing to pay what they owe). While the company will likely try to claim the money from said player based on their signed contract, as mentioned above, the site itself offers no promises or official guarantees of payment.

This provision in StakeKings’ Terms of Services doesn’t come as a surprise as they’d be opening themselves to big potential losses if they were to actually guarantee the payment of every package. With that all said, it is also just as important to note that with more than 150,000 packages sold thus far, there has never been a single case of a player refusing to pay.

The bottom line is this: StakeKings is a staking platform that makes the whole process simpler and more transparent. There are always certain risks involved with staking and these don’t magically disappear just because you’re using StakeKings. However, throughout their years of experience in operation, it’s been proven that beyond the shadow of a doubt the likelihood of getting paid your share of a player’s winnings improves drastically if you use the platform to stake players.

If there is anything you’re still unclear about or need more information on, the StakeKings support team is available 24/7 and you can get in touch with them via live chat. The site has a strong and truly dedicated support team so don’t be afraid to ask your questions if you’re new to the site or poker staking in general – that’s what they’re there for and they’ll be more than happy to help you sign up using the code CPL and get started.



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Ivan Potocki poker author
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Ivan Potocki

Ivan Potocki transitioned to poker writing after playing more or less full-time for about five years. He first discovered poker while studying English Language and Literature at the University of Sarajevo. What started with freerolls and micro-stakes games led to a love for poker, opening gates to a whole different world. After finishing his studies […]

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