How much will you lose before you start winning? - share your stories

    • BarryCarter
      Joined: 13.01.2011 Posts: 5,592
      We were having an interesting discussion here at PokerStrategy HQ which we might turn into a future feature, we'd love to get your input.

      What do you think the average amount a new player who dedicates themselves to studying poker would lose, before they started winning?

      Of course this is about as subjective as it gets, but lets assume they are observing bankroll management and playing micro stakes with a bankroll of $50.

      My colleague Pavel lost about $2,000 before he became a winning player, after a LOT of hard work. So the self investment for him was pretty steep.

      I have a counter theory that most people who end up winning players do so in part because they got really lucky early, enough to motivate them to learn. I personally am in this category, I probably only lost about $100 before getting really really lucky early on before I knew about bankroll management, won about $700 in one tournament and even though I am just a recreational player, I still remain a winning player.

      There are no correct answers to this, but I'd love for you to both share your stories about how much you lost before you started winning, and also how long you think a new player today would have to stay a losing player before they really 'get it' and become a winner.
  • 40 replies
    • martinemem
      Joined: 05.07.2011 Posts: 610
      4-5k $ did i spend before i started winning. But its not that i played alot, i just played high. After black friday i found this site.

      Got hooked after shipping a 109$ 1/228 to win 6k$ with a bankroll of 128$ :f_biggrin: . Like really hooked. So started to feel like crawling on roofs in dust to pull wires for electricity was a waste of my time.

      Its so nostalgic to look back, but i dont regret it really.

      The avg joe would need to spend around 5-6k$ to become winning. I know its actually very possible to become a winning player without spending anything if you get guided to the right strategies.

      But since i know a few that just dont have the patience that it actually takes, im really not convinced that its even enough with 5k$. The reason for this high number is: A guy earning lets say 6k$ pr month, cant get his blood pumping on nl5. So i think most see it as any other game you pay to play.

      My sister would love to win a lot, but she dont have the patience despite me pointing in the directions. And a friend of mine is just like "lol its not possible to win at poker, but i would like to, so therefore i deposit every month when i get paid to play nl100 or a 50$ or even 200$ mtt - i might get lucky" :f_confused:

      I think the correct amount of patience doesnt come along too often.
    • acerbikas
      Joined: 03.01.2011 Posts: 231
      I personally think it really depends on what you call a winning player. For some, winning 1-2k$/month on average is enough, for some - twice or thrice that is what counts at the very least.

      Personally, I'd have to look back at when I started - at first I deposited a 100$ on Party back in 2011, tried to play around a bit. Lost some, won some, no big deal, never more than 30$ or so. Then I moved to FTP to find some wiggle room - played some sitngos, won some, burnt the profit on MTTs and went on to search for something else. Then I deposited money on stars and found PLO. I have been burning money on it ever since, despite several surges in profit. However, around the same time I quit PLO in August 2011, I became a winning micro MTT player on Party (although you could say winning several hundred bucks wasn't much). That said, I recall being down at the very least a hefty 1k$ from PLO...

      Over the coming years I played poker on and off in between my studies and gradually went on to win several hundred bucks every month from small stakes MTTs on party. I guess it was about mid 2012 with around 2k$ down the drain in PLO that I started to realise I could benefit myself by playing MTTs on the side. Ironically, I think it took me a bit more than half a year to win back the money lost on PLO and start making profit. I never had any huge bink scores when I started out -- I have yet to score more than 3k$ in a single tourney, but heeey, whatever I can scavenge I take it -- so it all came down to me playing over and over and over...

      That said, the point of this whole story is that I studied very little -- apart from the videos, live streams and reading material, I would not do anything else and it took me around 2 years to start winning on a regular basis. Over that time period I lost around 1.5-2k$ before I started bringing the buck back.

      Hence, beating the micros and up to 10/20$ MTTs, it would require at least a year without huge binks and an investment of at least 1k$ if you are studious.
    • PmagicLchocoOballs
      Joined: 27.12.2013 Posts: 208
      round 2k in 3 years still not winning :f_biggrin:
    • badgerer
      Joined: 29.03.2010 Posts: 555
      i think it was about 150 give or take 50. but i don't feel like i got lucky. i discovered this site early and put lots of volume in, i got some good results after 12-18 months or so, my memory is a bit hazy.
    • Rufus433
      Joined: 20.08.2010 Posts: 459
      I was still in high school when i started playing, burnt all free bankrolls that i could get quite fast, after that i did deposit few times so prob 100-200$ total, playing mostly micros went broke few times, remember winning a freeroll for 120$ @pokerstars :D After that i think i won some mtts for 2k, lost most of that money later on, than won some again, after a while ,when i got some background, friend offered to stake and coach me so haven't deposited since.

      I think all beginners should aim for getting in some backing houses as most of them offer free coachings so you dont need to worry about the bankroll and spending money on coachings. There are a lot of other benefits too, as your goal should be not money but getting better at poker. It prob isn't as easy as it was few years back getting a deal, but with clean slate, solid work ethic and dedication you should be able to get one quite fast.

      That is for sng and mtt players, i have no clue how hard or easy it is for cash players.
    • biogas
      Joined: 22.07.2010 Posts: 413
      First thing I made myself a promise never spend a single cent of my RL money on poker.
      So, started with 50$ won on freeroll at stars, busted it after some time. During that time found this site, so burning the first roll took some time (was taking brm sort of seriously).

      Second attempt was free 50$ from here at tilt, almost busted that as well. But when it got very short started taking thing more seriously and got it up to more than 100$ before black Friday and never returned back.

      Black friday left me with free 7.7$ at poker770 but it went only up to 1K$+ before leaving ipoker. Also rebuilt stars roll from 0.02$ (won at freeroll) to 2$ shooting at sng's. This 2$ got to several hundred, later to several thousands by playing fix limit and sng's later.

      I am recreational player, earning more in RL than poker.
    • bogstratos
      Joined: 22.05.2012 Posts: 161
      I lost a $50 BR on NL2 a long while ago, but then I learned enough to help me beat NL2, and I never actually went broke after that. I did drain my BR a couple of times from just stopping playing and withdrawing though. I think one can learn to beat NL2 fast enough (even with spews) at a decent enough bb/100 to never ever go broke if he follows a good BRM and starts with ~$100. The most important thing is imo the mindset with which one comes into poker as a deciding factor of how much $$ he will lose before starting to make a profit. Also, I think it helps a lot to have decent experience with play money or freerolls before jumping to play the $$ tables.
    • mrkhaan
      Joined: 23.02.2011 Posts: 263
      I never went broke but I can see how in today's online poker's world, a beginner could easily lose several hundred $ if not more.
      I started on full tilt in 2009, built a small $30 bankroll with freerolls than started playing 90 men deep stacked SnG, built my BR to $200 with those then started playing rush poker nl5, lost a little at first, then quickly recovered and went up to $320. Then, black friday happened , I got so disappointed, I was about to start playing nl10 and go stopped in my tracks. I didn't play for several months but I wasn't done with it. I sold one of my guitars to a friend, used the $200 I could afford and deposited them on pokerstars and started grinding cash nl2, I didn't like it very much so when zoom was released, I jumped in it right away. I boosted my BR to $750 in a few months, started playing nl25 but after just about 2 weeks, I had to cash out my bankroll in a hurry for a real life emergency. After that, I lost the will to play for 2 years. Now, 2 years later, I am back to grinding, started with the $22 I had left of my once BR, climbing steadily my way through stakes.
      I think that, a very disciplined player, with help and support from a more experienced one, a very strict brm and access to soft micro stakes could, even today, start without going broke even once, but that takes a lot of time and energy and the will to play micro amounts for a long time. I am living it, I don't really like it, but as a personal challenge, I will get there and make some decent money in a near future.
    • ragney
      Joined: 02.08.2010 Posts: 2,417
      Started with the free $50 bankroll. The lowest point it got was around $12, after that I just played/ran good.

      Had a different approach because my friend told me to treat poker as a strategy game so I had a gaming background so I studied and improved my game as much as possible.
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 22,026
      Def went the Pavel route although I didn't lose THAT much.

      Anything I lost was at cash games. I broke even in MTT/SNG.
    • LemOn36
      Joined: 07.02.2009 Posts: 1,907
      I'm not sure I follow
      What is this "lose" thing?

      If you have BRM from the start ,and basic BRM is not rocket science you shouldn't lose anything. Max 50bucks a couple times and that's it. It's best to build poker knowledge from the ground up anyway as you learn basics and add more layers as you move up and players get better.

      I blew one $50 on CDpoker mostly cause their learning materials sucked. Then got $50 from pokerstrategy and went from there

      Then quit poker a few times and always rebuilt from $50 again :]
    • arthurbentley
      Joined: 12.10.2010 Posts: 261
      I have never had to redeposit. Never gone busto - ever. I have used good bankroll management right from the word go, and resisted all temptation to play higher stakes above 4NL, or $1 SNGs, despite being way over rolled for some time now. I play mainly for fun, and then to make a profit, and hope to further improve and make more profits in the near future.
    • CreamyGoodness
      Joined: 18.10.2010 Posts: 229
      Depends on what kind of player you are and how you approach the game,

      Bankroll management is the key. Without it you will never win, but even very bad players can sustain a bankroll if they stick to micro mtts and sit n gos while managing a decent bankroll.

      I must have lost thousands in my first two years. I mostly played live tourneys, anything from a free roll up to €50 buy in. Online I usually deposited 50 dollars every month or so for a year or 18 months, then then I'd blow it on 10 or 20 dollar MTTs.

      I was the ultimate recreational player, and the ultimate fish.

      With sites like this, most players will still go broke I think, unless they have some reasonable experience beforehand. But when they do go broke, its for much less.

      You could become a winning player for a a few hundred I guess, probably less.
    • ironmask92
      Joined: 23.10.2009 Posts: 303
      Like Creamy said, it really depends on what kind of player you are and you approach the game.

      Bankroll management is key, but patience and discipline and love of the game is also key.

      I have always been very conservative so I have always refused to deposit money, so i always tend to play freerolls. I had won some freerolls from pokerstars in 2003 after i saw Chris Moneymaker win, i got about $20 and was hoping to build it up (had no clue what bankroll was back then) but didn't really know what i was doing so ended up losing them in $5 turbo SNG games.

      I played freerolls on and off without success since then till about 2009 when i got my first $50 from pokerstrategy on partypoker. When i first got into pokerstrategy, i was very excited since i used to play chess alot and loved the strategy articles they had. I read all the bronze SNG articles and stuck to the beginner hand chart (like only play AA, KK, etc in early position), and also to the bankroll management.

      Problem with partypoker back then was the rake was insane (25% rake at $1 turbo 9 man SNG games). The games were very soft and I was winning quite a few games at first (about 10 games or so, i only play 1 table at a time). Eventually though, varience took over and i was on a major losing streak, i lost 50% of my Bankroll at one point and was wondering if i would ever recover. I recovered in a year (about a $17 profit at one point) but it wasn't until 2 years when i had my big break and my bankroll jumped to $150. By this time, i was playing $3 turbo SNG's.

      Long story short, I transferred the money to pokerstars then to full tilt, again lost 50% of my Bankroll but i refused to give up. I went through all my hand history to see why i was losing so much money and realized i was playing way too tight (i was playing only AA to JJ hands), i think everyone figured that out and was bullying me with min-raises every time i was in the blinds. I responsed by reshoving from the bb/sb when sb/button was min-raising. Worked like a charm since after that, they stopped raising every hand from late position and the hands they did raise were big hands. Thats also when my bankroll made a big jump to $450 and made me so proud.

      Moral of the story is to constantly adapt to your opponents and never give up.
    • Vip3rNZ
      Joined: 11.11.2011 Posts: 340
      Well for me, I deposited $10 played some 2nl got up to $12 before losing it all.

      Then I found this site, got a $50 bankroll at party poker, and lost it all.

      Then I tried MSS with the $8 free at 888 poker, lost that too.

      Then I deposited another $10 onstars, and have never needed to again. withdrawn over $1k
    • TheMarxBros3
      Joined: 21.09.2008 Posts: 1,346
      My story is a little different.
      I have always played poker. My whole life when I am not working or doing family stuff has been dedicated to the game. Unfortunately I am also a work-a-holic.
      After selling my business in 1997 I decided to try my hand at playing professionally. After a year of doing that I got an ultimatum from the wife to
      a-either come home to stay or
      b-keep on trucking.
      Since I had 3 children at home that still wanted to be fed every day whether I was winning or not I chose a- :(
      I was also burnt out from playing up to 16 hours a day 6 and 7 days a week. The game became a job and jobs are no fun. I took a job and quit playing for 5 years.
      IN 2002 after buying a computer for the kids for their school work I discovered or should I say my wife discovered for me an on-line poker site called pokerroom. Pokerroom no longer exists as they were bought by and then closed by bwin in 2007.
      I was strictly a play money player as I didn't know anything about on-line poker and there was no way I was going to deposit on-line using a credit card.
      After playing on pokerroom for 3 or 4 months I got an e-mail from them stating that if I wanted to try a real money game they would give me a $10 comp.
      I took them up on their offer. I started playing 1-table limit STT's (ther wasn't any NL back then, and by 2005 without ever making a deposit I had cashed out a little over $150,000. I was also given a trip to Stockholm Sweden by pokerroom along with 9 other players in 2005 for a promotion they were having.
      In 2008 I joined this site. I started posting here in 2012 as everyone now plays No-Limit and I have always been a limit player.
      I have not had any more success like that on line. Nor have I given back any of the money as I long ago spent it. I now play on-line for the fun of the game, happily grinding away part-time only. My NL Live MTT game has won me about another $40,000 and I play live tournaments when ever my schedule permits me to. The biggest MTT I have played in was the WPT stop in Niagara Falls in 2007 in the $10,000 buy-in main event. First prise was $1.2 mil. I made a mistake on day 2 and haven't had a chance to play there since.
      Unfortunately my wife's health isn't the best these days and I stick close to home as we are both getting up there in years.
      Over the years I have tried my best and I came close with some moderate success. Good luck to all of you. If I could get there even briefly then with the amount of information available to you I'm sure you can do much better then I did.
    • TheMarxBros3
      Joined: 21.09.2008 Posts: 1,346
      Just a clarification.
      The only reason I posted that story was to point out that with a little skill and a lot of luck you do not need to lose in the beginning. It is possible to play on a wing and a prayer and get very lucky.
      However having said that when I think back to my introduction to hold-em I remember my first live game. Without ever having played a hand I sat down with a friend of mine at the roving casino we used to have around here at a $10-$20 limit game and quickly lost about $1,000. This would be way back around 1992. After the game was over I remember saying to myself---self that is one fantastic action game. Maybe I should take the time to learn how to play. That was my introduction.

      You have to pay your dues sooner or later. Nothing worth learning comes without a price of some kind, either money or time or something else.
      It should be easier today to become a competent player with all the information out there but just because you are competent does not mean you will become a winning player.
    • Calzo94
      Joined: 15.03.2013 Posts: 41
      It's very interesting to read through other members' stories of going broke etc.
      I am a losing player currently, been playing micro MTTs and haven't had a reasonable cash since February, I also withdraw most of my winnings if I do get a good score so it's difficult for me to move up in stakes.
      Had some success playing $2.50 180 man sngs (a few wins and a number of 2nd places) I just lost interest in playing turbos however.
      Thinking of playing cash for a while to try and earn some money, also can be easier to manage time wise instead of playing a tourney for 6+ hours if you run deep.
    • CoreySteel
      Joined: 25.10.2006 Posts: 3,366
      Originally posted by biogas
      First thing I made myself a promise never spend a single cent of my RL money on poker.
      This is the same thing that I promised to myself and I really kept it :)

      So yeah, I never lost my initial bankroll that I got here on PokerStrategy, just because I sticked to the BRM. I think that every (winning) player could do the same. The only obv downside is that it takes to long to get to the limits that actually matters :D But at the end I think it's more satisfying and I can also "brag" about not losing any money at poker ever ;) [brag like here, ha!]

      But don't get me wrong, if someone is able to afford 50$ rebuys at NL10 and hoping to get lucky - I have no problem with strategy like that. But I'm a nit so I prefer the more conservative approach ;)