How Much Can I Win Playing Live Poker?

Today’s question comes from Matthew G. and this came privately via Facebook. Matthew says: “I just wanted to know what you think a reasonable winrate would be playing 2/5 live tables with Aggrofish. I’m starting to get a real grasp of the game and feel like it could potentially offer a decent side income, but I don’t want to commit hundreds of hours of poker study if I can never win a decent hourly rate.  The rake where I play is 10% capped at $25 and I also wonder if that cuts into the winrate too much. Thanks again.”

When we’re talking about hourly winrates, I like to talk about the top side of the spectrum. Usually about 10% of a buy-in is going to be the top side of the spectrum, so at 1/2, I’d say about $20 an hour would be top side, at 2/5 about $40 an hour, and at 5/10 about $75 an hour. Things will obviously influence that. Rake, like you mentioned, is going to influence that, your own edge on the game is going to influence that, and also stack depth. In a shallower game, I would expect the ideal winrates to drop a little bit; in a deep stacked poker games, those winrates could possibly even go a little bit higher, but your edge on the game and rake on the game are going to be two very, very important things.

As you get stronger and stronger as a player, get into the top side of the hourly, so $40 an hour at 2/5 is certainly reasonable. When you’re still learning and growing, making somewhere between $15-$20 or $15-$25 an hour is certainly reasonable. Just remember what the top side is and what you’re working toward and then factor that into whether it’s worth putting in those hundreds and hundreds of hours.

I definitely want to talk about the second part of your question, because that’s definitely the more interesting part. You said that you play in a game where it’s 10% capped at 25. That is huge, huge, huge rake and really absurd and disgusting.

I’m not sure exactly where you live, but normally I’m looking at 10% rake capped at $4 or $5. That’s going to be more normal and what I would consider appropriate rake. Something like 10% capped at $25 is just ginormous and really, really awful and I’d say it’s questionable whether you can even beat that game in the long run, to be totally honest. That’s nothing to say about your skill, it’s just simply the way the game is formatted; it’s definitely unfavorable for you.

Unless that game is full of just drunk idiots that are just hurling money at you as quickly as possible, if there is any sort of toughness in that game, I’d say that that game is probably not the best one for you and I would hunt around and see if you could find some better games, because that rake is just killer.

Matthew, hopefully that answers your question. Again, the top side winrate at 2/5 is going to be about $40 an hour, so it’s up to you whether or not you think that’s worth putting in the hundreds of hours. Like I said, given the exact parameters of your game, I’d probably look elsewhere and see if you can find a game with better structure and then go forward from there.

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