What Type of Bankroll Do I Need To Go Pro?

How Much I Need to Make to Go Pro

Becoming a professional poker player is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. For you to decide how much money you need to go pro, you first need to take an honest look at your monthly living expenses. I’ve seen many recreational players attempt to go pro only to be surprised at how expensive it is just to be alive.

Month to Month Earnings

Unless you live at home or have your parents paying for everything, I wouldn’t suggest you go pro until you’re making $10,000 a month or more. It sounds like overkill but there’s a very solid reason behind such a big number.

As a professional poker player, you will have to manage several expenses that aren’t apparent right off the bat. First, you need to earn enough money each month to pay all your expenses plus continue to grow your bankroll. Second, you need to be able to save money so that when you hit the occasional downswing, you can still pay all the bills without decimating your remaining bankroll.

When I say you need to be able to make $10,000 or more every month, that doesn’t mean that you should quit your job the first month you make $10,000. You need to do it for at least six months straight before quitting. If you don’t have a family or major bills that depend on your income, you can probably get by with less. In any case, your minimum poker income before going pro should be equal to at least 3 times your monthly living expenses.

Living Expenses

When calculating your living expenses, it’s easy underestimate how much it actually costs to live. Here’s a quick list to help you get started:

• Rent
• Car Payments
• Private health insurance
• Retirement
• Gas
• Groceries
• Entertainment
• Emergency fund (car breakdowns, etc)
• Utilities
• Cable
• Internet
• Clothing
• Tuition
• Cell Phone
• Veterinary Costs
• Gym Membership
• Taxes

Take extra care to be honest with yourself when it comes to entertainment expenses. I know many poker professionals who go out a lot at night because they are cooped up in the house all day. If you like to go out with your friends and buy drinks, you already know how quickly that can add up.

Money in the Bank

On top of making $10,000 a month, you also need to have at least a year’s worth of living expenses safely stashed away in the bank. These expenses should be enough to cover every expense that was mentioned above for an entire year. If you ever lose your bankroll for any reason, this money will save you from going into bankruptcy or losing your house. You need to have at least a year’s worth of living expenses saved up.

If you’re single and have low living expenses, you can get by without having as much money in the bank. In the worst case scenario, you’ll have to go get a quick job at a bar or whatever until you can find a new job to replace your poker income. It’s not a fun scenario to imagine but it always pays to be prepared.