Staking a player

One of the more interesting phenomena I have found in the Poker world is the practice of staking another player.

For those of you not familiar with the concept of staking, let me give you a quick description:

Shark is a good poker player, though for some reason beyond his control, he doesn’t have enough money to play poker, be it at a certain level of buyin, or in a certain tournament. Seeing as the entry fee for many of the top tournaments can exceed $10,000, it not hard to see why that may be a problem for some players.

Banker has a bunch of money and is willing to invest it with Shark, in return, should Shark win, Banker will receive part of the winnings.

This is just one of the scenarios, many other variations exist, but this is the simplest.

Why wouldn’t the Banker just play with his own money?

Well, a smart person realizes that there are other people out there that are more skilled at certain activities then they are and are not afraid to admit it and invest in that persons skills.

So how much does the banker get back?

That is really up to the two individuals, but I have seen ranges from 70-30 from the player to 70-30 for the Banker, it really is up in the air depending on the situation.

One of the more famous staking arrangements that I can recall in recent history was Steve Danneman at the WSOP main event in 2005. Steve split the $10,000 entry fee with his friend Jerry Ditzel 50/50 and in return Jerry got half of Steve’s $4,250,000 winnings for coming in second to Joe Hachem. Not a bad arrangement for the banker, 425 times his money in the space of under 10 days?

Other staking arrangements might include:

Poker pros taking a piece of each others action at a big tournament, that can reduce the variance of taking a bad beat and getting knocked out earlier. Some pros may spread that amongst a lot of players, taking 10% action in ten players for instance, if only one of them happens to go deep then can end up with a pretty good payday.

Poker coaches staking their students to play the style they direct them in, that may help those students to feel comfortable making changes in their game that they wouldn’t do if it was their own money out there. The term “playing with scared money” rings true here and would help to overcome that stepping stone to allow the player to move into a more agressive style.

Quite some time ago a friend of mine invested in one poker playing friend of his to start up his bankroll, they did it more like a company does with a stock issue and kept daily valuations as to how much your shares was worth, he didn’t do too well in the short run, I’ll have to ask him how it went later on.

All in all there are a lot of different arrangements around for staking, and the opportunities seem to present themselves when the time is right for the player. If you good enough to have someone give you their money to play with, they will find you eventually.

If there can be one word of advice for getting into a staking arrangement it’s this.


That way there is no misunderstanding as to what the arrangement is, it keeps friends friendly when the chips hit the cash out.

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