Is poker staking profitable?


Poker staking can be profitable, but like most things there are no guarantees. Communication is one key to success, making sure all parties are always on the same page.

There are many variables to consider when analyzing this question.  How long is the stake for?  How good is the player?  What is the cut for each?

If you stake someone for a single poker tournament, you’re going to have a lot of variance.  You have one shot at being profitable and more often than not the player will finish the tournament without any prize.  Conversely, if you stake a world class poker player for 5,000 online poker tournaments, it is less likely they will finish down over that entire sample.  This is a very simplistic example, but it should get the idea across.

When staking online, you want to do a few things to increase the chances for success:

  1.  Have an agreement in place that both parties sign, just to make clear what happens in most common scenarios.  Can the backee play off-stake games?  Can they play live poker for another backer?  What happens if online poker is banned in their country?  What stakes will be played?  Is coaching provided?  Having this agreement in place will make things smoother for both parties.
  2. Stake good players.  You can use Sharkscope to look at tournament results.  You can use evbb/100 to evaluate how many big blinds your prospective backee is winning every 100 hands.  Look through hand histories and evaluate what games the player is beating.
  3. Stake players with consistent recent volume. Playing hundreds of games online month after month is a grind. Only the strong survive and the field is improving every day. Just because someone played 500 MTTs per month 3 years ago, doesn’t mean they could do it consistently and successfully today.
  4. Get references.  Having someone attest to the positive character of someone is an added bonus.

When staking live:

  1. Character matters.  There are countless stories of players winning money and then blowing it all afterward on various vices (gambling, drugs, etc).  You want to stake someone that is going to show up to the tournament on time, not tilt, and be responsible handling money.
  2. Do your homework.  How good is the player?  Having a few scores on Hendon Mob does not make someone a quality poker player.  They may have $200k in cashes and $400k in buy-ins (with only the cashes being reported).  If you can reach out to peers or have a pre-existing relationship this will help.  Players who mostly play live won’t have enough of a sample to use their online evbb/100 and live samples tend to be too small to use.  This is where relationships and either knowing the player or their peers well can help make a decision on whether to financially stake someone.

With long-term backing deals, you can further tilt things toward being successful by providing coaching.  Helping a profitable poker player to be more profitable, climb stakes, and deal with the mental aspects of the high-variance game of poker can all increase the likelihood for success.  At Pocarr we aim to help our players become both better poker players and better people.  They go together.  As you improve your diet, mental health, outlook on life, so too will your poker game improve.