In the professional poker space, there’s this idea that poker has a strange ability of revealing one’s true character.

Specifically, who we really are when the odds are against us and we have to experience the risk of losing something very valuable (our hard-earned money, in this case).

At SA Poker, we have had the privilege of seeing professional and amateur poker players put their mental wits to the test.

There are people who love the pressure and thrive in scenarios where one decision makes the difference between a major win and a big loss.

Others don’t seem to function the same way. The moment that their chances of winning are even slightly unfavorable, they instantly throw in the towel and quit.

Why is that?

We’ve noticed that it has absolutely nothing to do with your knowledge of poker theory, the hand you’ve been dealt at the table, the amount of money you have for playing, years of experience, or even your IQ.


Have you ever noticed that there are very few poker players in the world who manage to play the game well, AND leave with their finances intact?

We would know, as we run a successful San Antonio poker club. We may not be Las Vegas, but we have a large community of active players:

“The San Antonio and New Braunfels players are some of the best you’ll find,” said Larry Wright, of neighboring McQueeney. “There are four or five old-timers with 10-15 years of experience in the big games that have seen it all. They play in the regular games and make for a very tough go at it. The people trying to make it in poker have to get through those guys first. I believe the games in San Antonio are tougher than the games in Vegas.”

In 2012, San Antonio had 25 area players who cashed for a rough total of $1.8 million. Imagine what that number is like in 2018!

At the same time, you’ll see many of these high-level players fail to achieve the financial freedom they were looking for when they started playing poker. 223

Do you want to know how many poker players:

  • Consistently make a full-time living ($30,000 and above)?
  • Manage to win enough hands (and games) to support themselves?
  • Stay in the game without burnout or giving up early?

Experts estimate the number is anywhere between 300 and 6,000 people in the United States (out of 50 million players)

There isn’t any reliable research on this topic at the moment. There are multiple variables to account for, and nobody has extensively studied the subject. Combined with the fact that poker players often lie about their true earnings, and you have a long-standing question that’s very difficult to answer.

However, we believe the experts aren’t too far off from the true answer.

A high-risk high-reward game like poker naturally leads to dis-proportionate outcomes. The overwhelmingly majority of players fail, while a select handful will come out on top.

At SA Poker, we have seen the rise and fall of hundreds – if not thousands – of poker players who aspire to make a professional living from the game.