How Long Does It Take To Become A Winning Poker Player?


How Long Does It Take To Become A Winning Poker Player?

How long will it take to become a winning player?

So, you’ve been playing poker for a little while but you’re not winning money just yet. So you started to wonder... how long will it take before I start winning money from poker?

Quick answer: 3 to 24 months for most players I’d say. However, not all players have it in them to become consistent winners in online poker.

If you asked this question on a poker forum, you would struggle to get even one reply with an ounce of seriousness in it. The problem is that there are so many variables involved that it’s impossible to give an exact answer.

The variables that will affect how long it takes to become a winning player.

  • The time you spend playing poker.
  • The time you spend reading strategy.
  • Where you get your strategy from.
  • How intelligent you are.
  • How quickly you learn.
  • The stakes you play at.

...and that’s just a handful. One player may be able to progress in to a consistent winner within a few months, whereas another may never be able to win money from Texas Hold’em (or whatever variant they play).

However, this wouldn’t a very interesting article if I just left the answer to the question as “it depends” (even though it really does). So, here are a few rough guesstimates to satisfy your quench for tangible answers.

By the way, a winning player is defined as someone with a positive winrate, regardless of how small that winrate may be.

  1. The super quick learner - 3 to 6 months.
  2. The hard worker - 8 to 12 months.
  3. The casual player, but still wants to win - 18 months to 24 months.

1) The super quick learner - 3 to 6 months.

  • Plays at least 3 hours a day every day.
  • Reads quality strategy articles daily.
  • Has subscribed to a training site and watches strategy videos daily.
  • Participates in strategy forums and posts hand histories for review.
  • Purchased tracking software and actively analyses their play on a regular basis.
  • Is generally a very intelligent person - capable of getting a degree in some form of science if they put their mind to it.

Three months, in my opinion, is an attainable time frame in which a very clever individual with the right tools can turn from a complete beginner in to a winning player.

This would involve some serious dedication, passion and through a strong desire to win money from online poker. If you’re a bright guy or girl and you absorb information from quality sources, I don’t see why you couldn’t achieve a positive winrate within 90 days.

This timeframe is certainly not for everyone though.

If you are a super-quick learner.

If you keep going at this rate you should see a lot of success. You have the potential to rise up the stakes very quickly as long as you make sure you keep your bankroll management in check.

However, be sure to not burn yourself out. Poker can be draining, and a week break here and there can actually be beneficial to your game. Be careful not to demand too much from yourself if you have early successes. Variance can hit you for six if you’re not accustomed to the swings.

2) The hard worker - 8 to 12 months.

  • Plays around 10 hours of poker a week.
  • A bright individual and tries their best to think logically about their decisions.
  • Browses poker forums for advice but doesn’t participate in discussions too often.
  • Genuinely interested in reading about poker strategy, but only reads for about an hour or so every now and then.
  • They have tracking software, but only know the basics of it for when it comes to helping to find leaks in their game.
  • Subscribes to a training site and enjoys to casually watch training video series’.

The hard worker has a similar passion to learn about poker as the “super quick learner” above, but they likely have other commitments outside of poker that reduces the amount of time they have to play and learn about the game. If they could spend some more time playing though, they would.

They have a strong drive to improve and it means a lot to become a winning player, but it’s not everything to them. They are happy to do ask best as they can with the time they have available without letting poker take too much precedence.

If you are a hard working player.

If this describes you and you’re not quite a winning player after the first few months, you should be confident that you’ll get their eventually. Keep the desire there and give it time, you’ll be a winner eventually if you stay on track.

Keep at it basically and don't give up.

3) The casual player, but still wants to win - 18 months to 24 months.

  • Plays about 2 or 3 hours of poker on a good week. Home games account for a fair amount of play time.
  • Can think logically, but probably doesn’t put as much brain power in to poker as they could.
  • Only started to browse over different poker forums after about a year, but still hasn’t created an account.
  • Googled a few strategy related topics but is not a frequent strategy reader.
  • Has heard of training sites but suspects that they might not worth the money. Considering checking them out though.
  • Bought tracking software but only really uses it to keep track of wins and losses.

These players are very slow learners and could definitely put a lot more effort in to their game. On the other hand, they probably don’t mind taking their time when it comes to learning good strategy, although deep down I’m sure they wish that they could have become a winning player sooner.

Casual players gradually draft in all the important tools for improvement over a longer period of time as they are skeptical about their value. They’ll eventually participate in forums, read articles, subscribe to training sites and purchase tracking software, but it happens over a longer period of time due to their lower drive to become a winning player.

If you are a casual player.

If you’re one of these players, there is so much room for improvement that you can drastically slash the time it takes to turn that negative winrate in to a positive one. Stop being so tentative and invest in training sites, software and time spent participating in forums. They are incredibly valuable, honestly.


All of these time frames for the different player types have no scientific or mathematical basis. They are just my best efforts to provide numbers in response to a vague question that is incredibly difficult to answer. All these estimates are from my personal experience with a bunch of guesswork thrown in for good measure.

There’s a good chance that you will fall way out of these estimated time frames, so don’t follow them too closely and get disheartened if it’s taking you longer to progress than you would like.

Just remember that every video you watch, article you read and hand you analyze is another step forward toward a positive winrate. Keep it up and you’ll get there one day.

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