If you’ve been a reader of Money Q&A for any length of time, it’ll come to no surprise to you that I’m always looking for cool and exciting ways to earn a greater rate of return on my investments. I want to find ways to squeeze out 10% or more ROI. And, I’m always looking for new and different investments and opportunities to do just that.
That’s why I was intrigued with an old Wall Street Journal article that talked about professional poker players investing in each other to hedge their bets, find entrance fee money, and limit their risk. As a fan of poker for over ten years now, I was intrigued and wondered if average or intermediate investors could take advantage of this phenomenon.
Professional Poker Players Often Stake Each Other
Professional poker players hedge their bets by investing in each other or what is otherwise commonly known as staking a player. Getting staked or staking a player is to financially back a player’s entrance fee into tournaments, typically by former and current players.
According to reporting by the Wall Street Journal, almost half of the estimated 6,600 contestants in last summer’s World Series of Poker Main Event championship in Las Vegas received financial support from past and current players, family members, or other poker investors. A lot of people seem to want to invest in poker players these days.
How Staking a Poker Player Works
Staking a poker player means that you are paying the entry fee known as the buy-in to tournaments. Depending on the agreement between the investor and the poker player, you can stake a portion of the entrance fee or the entire amount. Some of these fees, like the Main Event at the World Series of Poker, are quite expensive.
Professional poker players have also been known to stake each other’s entrance fees for longer periods of time such as over the course of an entire year. But, you don’t invest in poker players just for the love of the game. Investors often agree to stake a poker player in exchange for 50% or more of the player’s earnings for that particular tournament or season.
For regular investors who invest in poker players, if the player loses, you’re simply out of the money you invested. But, professional poker players who stake each other often have a guaranteed payback If the player loses, he typically pays back the professional poker player/investor with his future winnings until he or she is caught up. Paying the money back is easier for professionals who typically back other players for an entire season.
So, staking poker players got me thinking. If past and current players, family members, or other poker investors stake 50% of the big time poker players, both professional and amateurs, how do I become an investor?
How to Invest in Poker Players
Individual investors can buy action from professional and amateur poker players. And, staking poker players can earn investors a great rate of return. Investors put up a part of the buy-in in exchange for a one-time part of the winnings. Here are a couple of ways that individual investors can get involved and invest in poker players.
Online Bulletin Boards and Forums
If you’re an average or intermediate individual investor with a love for poker and want to invest in poker players, there are a couple of online forums or bulletin boards that can help you find players looking for investors. One of the most popular forums is the Two Plus Two live marketplace.
Two Plus Two live marketplace is a lot like Craig’s List and other online forums that you may be familiar with visiting. The site allows you to negotiate with individual poker players looking for investors to stake them in tournaments. The site is a great option because many of the players are simply looking for staking in a single tournament, and investors do not have to wait an entire season for players to repay them. A player posts his or her request for staking and sells shares of the winnings to backers.
Hundreds of players use the site every summer to finance their tournaments, and it benefits players who are successful online but may lack the funds for large entrance fees or the personal network of professionals, who get staked for an entire season.
The forum is a platform for players and investors to tap into a large stream of funding opportunities. There is a wide range of online poker players and even professionals on the forum selling shares of their potential winnings to investors.
YouStake – The Fantasy Sports Version of Staking
YouStake is a website that looks like a combination of Kickstarter and Fanduel, the popular fantasy sports betting site. But, YouStake is for Poker players and investors looking to stake players. The site brings in a third party platform that helps to match qualified players with investors. It helps take the pressure off investors from having to deal directly with players and set up contracts for payments. YouStake was also featured as a hot new technology on Forbes.com.
YouStake has a great crowdfunding business model that enables poker fans and investors to help players compete in more tournaments by funding their buy-in fee for a stake in the winnings.
Founded in October 2013, YouStake has over 1,400 Poker players from 108 different countries for investors to choose from and has generated over $1 million in funding. YouStake also has Anthony Zinno, 2015 World Poker Tour (WPT) Player of the Year and Jamie Gold, the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Champion, signed on as brand ambassadors.
TastyStakes is also another interesting investing platform that helps you invest in poker players. The site has had over 1,000 users stake players in over 470 tournaments.
What to Know Before Staking a Poker Player
PokerSitNGos has a great roundup of everything you need to know before you invest in poker players and stake them. You need to know what you agree to, have a signed contract, know the record of the person you’re investing in, and a host of other factors.
Invest in poker players is investing. It’s just like investing in shares of a company. You need to understand the rules. You need to know everything you can about the person and platform you’re using if you want to make a safe and sound investment.
Investing in poker players isn’t simply gambling. If you wanted to gamble instead of invest, you could try your hand at a small poker tournament in your local casino or online poker parlors like 888poker.com. Take investing in poker players seriously with a small portion of your total investment portfolio, and you could earn a healthy rate of return on your investments.
So, you can invest like a poker player. Or, you can invest in poker players. It’s an interesting way to diversify your investments and look to squeeze out a greater rate of return than stock, bonds, and mutual funds alone.
What about you? Would you ever invest in poker players?