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What Stakes Do Professional Poker Players Play?

Professional Poker

If you’ve ever wondered what stakes professional poker players play, well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’m going to answer that very question in a simple and easy-to-understand way. 

Not only will I discuss what stakes pros play, but how to choose the right stakes from the best online poker sites in the US for your game and how much money you’ll need to get started playing professionally.

Before we dive into the article headfirst, let’s be clear on some of the terminology so you can follow along with ease.

If you’ve ever watched poker on TV, you’ve probably heard the commentators talk about “the stakes” in which the game is being played.

Poker players are constantly making decisions about whether to bet out, check, raise or fold. The size of those bets is known as the “stakes” of a cash game or tournament.

Poker Stakes Defined

The stakes in a poker game are how much money is in the pot at any given time. Whether you’re playing $2/$4 limit hold’em or $1/$2 no-limit hold’em, those numbers represent the minimum and maximum bets that can be made at any point during a hand.

These stakes are important because they determine which kinds of players will be sitting at your table. For example, if you sit down at a $2/$4 table with a $200 bankroll, you’ll have plenty of company from other small-stakes players. But if you show up with $20,000 in chips, it’s likely that other high rollers will join you there.

Stakes professional poker players play

Professional poker players can be found playing online poker, live cash games and tournaments of all sizes. Here’s a look at the stakes they play, and why.

Online Poker Stakes

The biggest poker sites in the world are still accessible to American players, and most of them offer poker games at every possible stakes level.

While it is possible to find high-stakes tables (with blinds as high as $200/$400), the vast majority of professional players stick closer to the middle of the spectrum ($1/$2 NL or $2/$5 NL).

This has more to do with efficiency than anything else. At lower-stakes levels, you’ll have a wider variety of opponents who make more mistakes. At higher stakes, there are far fewer mistakes made by opponents, so you have to work harder for your money.

Live Cash Games

When it comes to live cash games, there is a wide range of choices available depending on where you’re located.

For instance, if you’re in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, you’ll likely find games ranging from $1/$3 NL up to $10/$20 NL. Outside of those two locations (and some others), it’s rare to find any games bigger than $2/$5 NL.

Below are the actual stakes professional poker players most commonly play:

– Microstakes: $0.01/$0.02 up to $0.10/$0.25

– Low stakes: $0.25/$0.50 up to $1/$2

– Mid stakes: $2/$4 up to $5/$10

– High stakes: $10/$20 up to $30/$60

– Nosebleed stakes: anything above high stakes

Playing nosebleed stakes is a very expensive endeavour and not something you should do lightly, even if you’re a professional poker player. If you’re playing against more than one opponent, the variance of the game quickly gets out of hand and you can easily lose your entire bankroll in less than a minute. The situation becomes even more complicated with multi-table tournaments, where it’s either all or nothing. 

Can I get an accurate answer for the stakes that professional poker players play?

If you want to know the stakes that professional poker players play, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get an accurate answer.

The reason for this is because many pros will play way down from their usual stakes when playing in a new place. In fact, many of them will play at micro-stakes when they’re playing online in a cash game for the very first time.

Here’s how it works…

When a pro sits down in a cash game or tournament, he has two basic options:

  1. Sit down at the highest stakes possible…
  2. Sit down at a lower level and work his way up as he gets comfortable with the opponents and the environment.

It makes more sense for him to sit down at the highest stakes possible except in one instance: If he doesn’t have any bankroll management rules. He can wipe out his entire bankroll quickly by playing with reckless abandon.

If the pro has good bankroll management rules, it’s always better for him to sit down at the highest stakes possible because he’ll win more money per hour on average if he does so.

How Much Cash Back Will I Earn?

Rakeback increases your winnings from online poker as you continually earn money back from every raked hand or tournament you play.

Many players earn a living wage from rakeback alone. Use the calculator below to estimate the size of payments you’ll get over a given period of time. The calculator will compute your expected daily, weekly, and monthly cash back depending on the stakes and tables you input.

Calculate Your Rakeback

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