Only 8% of Online Poker Players Make Money

I’ve had the staff here at Bill’s Poker Blog pouring over the results of this recent World Poker Exchange survey and we’ve arrived at some pretty interesting observations.

6% of those surveyed play poker online to supplement their income.
2% of those surveyed play poker online as a full-time occupation.

After running those numbers through my Cray Super Computer, we’re pretty confident that adds up to 8%. That would indicate that only 8% of online players play seriously enough to make any sort of real money.

That seems to mesh with this quote from Jackpot Jay who got some hush-hush data from online card room managers who said that only around 8% of players finish the year in the black.

But what’s really intriguing are the responses of those obviously not in the 8%. Fifty three percent of those surveyed said they make bets online for fun. Almost 70% said they play enough online poker to make a little money now and then and 40% said that win or lose, they love the thrill of betting on poker.

That would seem to jive with the kinds of plays I see online. Lots of thrill seekers and people who will call down bottom pair because winning the pot means more than making money. It’s something to keep in mind though when you try to get inside the head of your opponents. These guys aren’t wired like those who take the game seriously.

Other disturbing findings include:

13% of male players want to play poker with George Clooney. WTF?!?

Half of men surveyed think women playing poker is sexy. Really? I’m torn as whether to be shocked that only 50% of men thought women playing poker is sexy or repulsed by what women would have to do to not be considered sexy by these pervs. I’ll figure it out later.

Bill Rini

Bill Rini has been working in the online poker industry since 2004. He was a product manager for poker at Full Tilt and was the poker room manager at PartyPoker. Currently, Bill is the Head of Online Poker for WSOP.   Bill has been blogging about online poker since 2003 and is considered one of the leading authorities on the online poker industry.   "I like What Bill Rini said in his blog" - Doyle Brunson   "In other news, we had Bill Rini write an absolutely home run blog." Daniel Negreanu   "Industry insider Bill Rini has one of the most popular blogs in poker, with thousands of subscribers and fans regularly coming back for his universally respected insight into the industry" - Barry Carter (News editor for PokerStrategy, Co-Author: The Mental Game of Poker)

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5 Responses

  1. Isaac says:

    Just read this article for the first time.

    My main reaction is to this:

    “13% of male players want to play poker with George Clooney. WTF?!?”

    My only question is…. WTF is wrong with the other 87% of you? Playing poker with George Clooney would be awesome.

  2. chaos says:


    PT is a little misleading: if roulette was the game then we’d all be losers long term, but a ‘PT DB’ of the game would show a good proportion of winners after a reasonable length of term. I wouldn’t have though so low as 8%, maybe 1 in 7, but I can see that it is credible. The other moot point is there is not a 1 in 12 chance your opponent in a pot is a winner, unfortunately it’s much higher. The reason for this is that winners play a lot more hands/ year than losers. This is probably why ‘it feels’ that 1 in 12 is so low, since it is extremely rare not to find a winning plaer at your table and so our perception is one of much higher.

  3. Bill says:

    Nick, my PT stats show 48/52 winners/losers. Though some of the winners are up less than 1BB so maybe they’re not including those.

  4. Nick says:

    8% is a little hard to believe. My PT stats have always shown 35-40% of people are winners. Of course this can be very misleading because I don’t have long time stats on a lot of players, but 8% seems extremely low.

  5. Biggles says:

    Clooney? Meh. If I had to pick a guy, I’d love to play w/ Phil Gordon, he seems like he’s actually enjoying himself.