Understanding expected ROI and wins rates in heads-up poker

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Posted on: July 24, 2020 8:36 pm EDT

Playing poker isn’t just about the cards and hoping for the best – it’s a math game, as well

If you are a poker player who is considering making a living from this activity you need to think more about what a good win rate is and how high of a return of investment (ROI) can be achieved depending on the game. These are good questions for you to ask as an opportunity to learn from other players’ experiences and to have a point of comparison.
Knowing this information can help you determine if it’s time to move to higher stakes or increase your limits or if, instead, you still need to improve a few areas or all of them. Given that there are many types of games, these estimated win rates and ROI are based on heads-up games and sit and go’s.

For serious heads-up SNG players, the ideal ROI should be anywhere from 5-20% to be considered worthy. However, if your limits are up to around $30, 15-20% ROI should what you should be aiming for. This essentially means that you should earn around $6 per game and make your time worth it.

In the case of higher stakes games, which come with a higher level of competition, you can expect a decline in your overall ROI. For instance, mid-stake players see a solid ROI of 10%, with 15% being considered really good. The higher the stakes, the lower the expectations; ROI for higher stakes could be between 5-7% on average.

Regarding win rates, if you are a heads-up cash game player, the standard win rate could be between ten to 20 big blinds won for every 100 hands. This is just a reference, so keep in mind that win rates can vary greatly – more than ROI’s variance – since the rate can change dramatically depending on who you are playing against.