What's The Most Profitable Form Of Poker?

Poker profitability

Anyone who has ever played even a few hands of poker knows how thrilling it is. From the inaugural shuffle of the deck that delivers untold possibilities to the final heads-up match at a massive guaranteed tournament, there's no shortage of heart palpitations. No matter what the outcome happens to be, entertainment is always inevitable. Yet the truth is even if you are just starting out, you are probably playing to please your wallet as much as your psyche. Did you know that where you take your seat could affect your profitability as much as your skills themselves?

When trying to find the most profitable form of poker, it's important to realise that there isn't a foolproof one size fits all approach. Success and profitability depend on how much time you have to play, your specific strengths, and your budget. Still, there are certainly rules that can help anyone and their bankroll soar. Once you know your strengths, it's easy to discover which games will have you seeing dollar signs.

Measuring Profit

Profit is a concept that even a child can understand. Simply put, it's the amount you've earned minus the money you've spent to get there. Of course your profit margin probably matters less than how much you actually take home. Would you rather spend $1 to win $100 or spend $10,000 to win $100,000? What if the results were guaranteed? The first scenario has a rate of return that's ten times better than the second yet most people would prefer a $90,000 profit over a $99 one. The point is numbers don't lie but they can be deceiving.

Before knowing how much you stand to profit, you need to know how much you can risk. If you don't have access to considerable cash, your strategies are going to be different than a pro who can easily drop $10,000 on a WSOP buy-in and wouldn't waste time playing freerolls.

Learn more about making calculations in your game with our Poker Maths Guide.

Winning With Cash

Skilled players know just how profitable cash games can be. While snagging a World Series bracelet will get you a newspaper headline, many pros prefer cash games. It's not only because cash games are abundant with a choice of games around the clock. Legends of the game like Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson have earned the bulk of their profits from playing cash games. Naturally these esteemed pros enjoy high stakes no limit tables, yet even novices can benefit from their wisdom.

The best part about cash games is they require relatively little time commitment. You can easily play a single hand and walk away. When it comes to amassing profit they are perfect for skilled players, especially when you consider how many of your opponents play poorly. While anyone can get lucky in a tournament, if you are disciplined enough to primarily play only strong starting hands at cash tables, success and profit will follow.

Cashing In On Texas

How to be profitable at poker

With games for all imaginable limits and stakes, there are few barriers to play cash games. That's particularly good for you since it means you'll have lots of easy opponents. As a rule Texas Hold'em tables tend to attract more novices with cash to burn. As poker's top variation, everyone wants to try their hand at the action regardless of their skill level.

You'll see more rookies at low stakes tables, but there are still plenty of amateurs as the stakes increase. Even no limit tables tend to have plenty of players looking for instant gratification. Of course they don't know they aren't the ones who will be gratified.

The Multi-Table Advantage

Forget grinding your way to riches. While the WSOP and its $15M top prize might be elusive, you can find guaranteed tournaments online with prize pools up to $1M. That's enough cash to make a significant impact on your life just by finishing in the money. Assuming you have sufficient skill, multi-table tournament success is a matter of chance. If you play aggressively, you'll likely do well in longer tournaments. It's safe to play tight while you wait for the player pool to thin out but be prepared to shift gears.

Keep in mind that winning a multi-table tournament, especially a lucrative tourney, is like winning the lottery. Just like the lottery shouldn't be part of your retirement strategy, even poker pros don't expect multi-table tournaments to be a reliable source of income.

Sit And Go Tournaments

Compared to their larger multi-table counterparts, sit and go tournaments let you jump right to the final table. That also means you'll face fewer weak players. Novice and intermediate players probably won't profit in the long run. If you are experienced, you can actually clean up by sticking to low to mid stakes Sit and Gos. The trick is to be selective in the hands that you play and be aggressive. You can expect to finish in the money without the long haul of longer tournaments.

Freeroll For Pure Profit

If you like being rewarded without risking anything other than your time then can be highly profitable. Not all freerolls have lame prizes like t-shirts, key chains, or lighters. You can actually score real cash or satellites to top tournaments. Playing a freeroll is also a great dress rehearsal for landmark tournaments.

Quick Tips For Success At The Tables

  • Always stick to your predetermined strategy.
  • Texas Hold'em features weaker opponents than other poker variations.
  • Play freerolls to satellite your way to more important tournaments.
  • Be selectively aggressive when playing Sit and Go tourneys.
  • When enjoying cash games, primarily play your strong hands.
  • Play aggressively in multi-table tournaments after the player pool thins out.
  • Winning a multi-table tournament depends less on skill and more on the luck of the draw.