What percentage of online poker players are winning/loosing players?
How much do they win/loose?
What is a relalistic win rate?
Every poker player asked these questions at one time.
For the purposes of this article, we analyzed more than 9.6 million hands in total to give detailed answers to the questions above.

Lets start of by defining a losing/winning player as someone who is net down/up on recorded results. However, many of the players in our database hardly played any hands. Hence we reduce the entry requirement for our analysis to at least 1000 hands played. This limits our analysis to 12,670 players at NL50, 3,526 players at NL200, and 498 players at NL1000.

To be able to compare our results across the stakes we computed a players win rate in "Big Blinds per 100 hands" (BB/100).

One important factor to consider in our analysis is the rake that PokerStars takes from each hand as commission fee for operating the cardroom .
That's why we came up with two charts for each stake.
One based on the results of the play, and one adjusted by the average rake actually payed.
But before we take a look at the charts, let's compute the average rake for each stake.

Average Rake at NL50

The computation of the average rake for NL50 is based on a sample of 3.2 million hands in total, which can be seen below:
Number of PlayerNumber of HandsTotal Rake
290,936$7,274.88
3174,089$19,149.79
4416,074$58,250.36
51,045,719$261,429.75
61,540,572$477,577.32
Total3,267,390$823,682.10
The total rake payed during these 3.2 million hands was $823,682.10.
Dividing that by the total number of hands leads to:
Avg. Rake per hand: $0.252
Avg. number of Player in hand: 5.154
Avg. Rake per Player: $0.049

Average Rake at NL200

To compute the average rake at NL200 we used a sample of 3.4 million hands in total:
Number of PlayerNumber of HandsTotal Rake
2109,70931,815.61
3188,28462,133.72
4381,805145,085.90
51,021,817684,617.39
61,730,2341,366,884.36
Total3,431,849$2,290,537.48
Which leads to:
Avg. Rake per hand: $0.6674
Avg. number of Player in hand: 5.1873
Avg. Rake per Player: $0.1287

Average Rake at NL1000

Doing the same for NL1000:
Number of PlayerNumber of HandsTotal Rake
2167,21593,640.40
3300,486201,325.62
4316,901218,661.69
5789,5501,081,683.50
61,590,2522,385,378.00
Total3,164,404$3,980,689.21
Avg. Rake per hand: $1.258
Avg. number of Player in hand: 5.054
Avg. Rake per Player: $0.249

Conclusion

The result of our analysis can be seen below:
StakeLoserWinner#Player
NL5074%26%12,670
NL50 Rake Adjusted90%10%12,670
NL20069%31%3,526
NL200 Rake Adjusted85%15%3,526
NL100049%51%498
NL1000 Rake Adjusted56%44%498
If you have a win rate of ~10 BB/100 playing NL50, then you are one out of the lucky 219 (1.73%).

Playing NL200 with a win rate of -15 BB/100? You are not alone. You share that win rate with 295 (8.39%) other regulars.

Looking at NL50, we can see a peak at 9.91% of the player having a win rate of "0" BB/100. They more or less play break even.
But things shift when you add rake.
Rake adjusted the distribution peaks at -10 BB/100 hands with about 8.32% of the players.

The same can be seen at NL200. The peak at break-even of 11.52% player shifts to a win rate of -5 BB/100 by 12.45% of player.

Based on these numbers about 74% of the player at NL50 are loosing player, hence 26% of them are winning player. It gets worse once whe consider the rake and adjust accordingly. Suddenly 90% of the players become loosing player and only 10% of them can beat the other players and the rake.

It's similar at NL200, but the impact of rake is smaller and there are more winning player to start with.

In general one can say, the higher the stake, the less loosing player you can find.
Which makes sense. The higher the stakes, the better the player, since the majority of loosing player gets destroyed on the lower stakes and never reaches the higher stakes.

Of course, our analysis did not take things like rake back / loyalty points into account.
This is something we might take a look at in another article.

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