Making a Living Off Poker
There is a reason why there are professional poker players today. With the rise in poker's popularity during the nineties, poker tournaments and poker shows have also proliferated. The cash prizes for these events are quite considerable, and although there is usually a substantial buy-in to enter a poker tournament, a good player can come off a poker game with more money than the amount that they had originally spent.
In 2006, for example, the first prize for the World Series of Poker's Main Event no-limit Texas Hold'em tournament included a twelve million US dollar cash prize, as well as a World Series of Poker bracelet. This prize was won by Johnny Moss, a professional poker player, who, like all the other entrants for this particular World Series of Poker event, paid ten thousand dollars to participate in it. The 2006 WSOP Main Event first prize is the biggest cash prize for a World Series of Poker tournament so far. The cash prizes for first place in the World Series of Poker Main Events hit the million dollar mark in 1991, and breached the multi-million dollar threshold in 2002, thanks to the upsurge of entrants to the World Series of Poker that was most likely be the result of poker's growing popularity online.
It is possible to make a living off of simply playing poker. For most of the earlier part of the twentieth century, gambling was illegal or heavily regulated in most US states. Any gambling activities were usually underground. The state of Nevada was virtually the only state that allowed gambling with minimal regulation. Poker tournaments were rare and high stakes games were infrequent. During this time, individuals who made their living off of playing poker were called rounders.
Rounders are individuals who make a living by traveling around the country in search of high stakes poker games. Many of the legends of today's poker world, such as Amarillo Slim Preston and Doyle Brunson, started off their poker careers as rounders themselves.
One of the reasons why many poker professionals eventually quit their own day-jobs and dedicate their time to playing poker is because in a single hand, it is possible for a skilled player to win the same amount of money they would otherwise earn in a month. Thomas James "T.J." Cloutier, a 2006 Poker Hall of Fame inductee, for example, once worked on Texas oil rigs, but quickly quit his job after realizing that he was getting more money playing poker than he was on his job.