Is poker a good investment? 

If you’re considering investing in the world of poker, it’s important to understand one thing – it’s not just the players that can win big. Sure, they take home the diamond rings and bracelets and get the glory, but in many cases there’s a team of investors (‘backers’) behind them who are also revelling in the victory once the game is over. Today we consider whether investing in poker is a good investment, and provide a few pointers to help you on your way…

Check the stats

Before you go promising your cash to any player that asks for it, it’s vital you do your homework. Remember, poker players are masters at bluffing – they could well be all talk about their ‘tournament history’, but until you’ve checked the stats, you won’t know whether they’re a sound investment or not. You will want to check where they’ve been successful – is it big tournaments played against the world’s best contenders, or are their victories solely in small town casinos where competition is easy? People seek backers because they want to further their poker careers – this means, they’ll often talk themselves up. If you choose to invest, make sure it’s in a player that can prove his worth, that has a record, and most importantly, that has the skill. Also be aware of those that cite big wins from years back – if it happened years ago and hasn’t happened since – chances are they got lucky!
Reputation is everything

A lot of poker backing is done on a kind of ‘gentleman’s agreement’. If you choose to go down this slightly risky route, you need to know that the player is going to honour your investment.Look in to what kind of reputation they have. Google them, ask around and check out their reputation in the online poker world. If they’ve behaved badly previously, you’ll soon find out.

Do they need the money to play?

It’s one thing helping a player with a big tournament buy in, but if they need you for smaller tournaments, where the entry fees are nominal, see this as a red flag. If they need you to front them even small amounts, you have to ask why they are that broke if they’re a talented player. Perhaps they aren’t as good as they say they are! Look to invest in players that are entering anyway – this shows they believe in themselves enough to risk their own money, but that they’re just trying to reduce overheads.

Put them on trial

Say you’ve found a player and you’re happy to invest – don’t just give them a lump sum, try them out first! Set a limit when you start out – a dollar amount, or a specific number of tournaments. Establish where they play best, where they’re most likely to cash, and how they behave. Once you’re confident in them as a player, then you can be more active with your investment.

Stay vigilant

If you’re seeing poker as an investment, you need to keep a close eye on it as you would with more traditional investments. You need to be continually analysing the players to ensure they remain worth your investment. You should maintain a positive return on investment year on year, and they should be improving with the experience. If either of these things starts to waiver – you need to cut your losses and find players that are better for your pocket.