How to Find a Poker Stake – Getting Investors

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For one reason or another you might decide that you want to be backed to play poker and are looking for ways on how to find a poker stake to accomplish that goal. Some players do it because they have no money, but a ton of drive to study the game and get better. Others do it so they can move up faster, receive free coaching and/or because they don’t feel comfortable playing on their own dime.

Whatever the reason, you should have no problem finding someone willing to stake you, provided that you’re not a known scammer. Even players that have little history and positive results can find someone willing to invest in them, provided that they can show that they have references and are willing to work hard. I’ll show you exactly how below.

Note: Most of the advice here applies to being backed to playing online, just because that’s all I know. That said, many guys that play live are backed on forums such as Part Time Poker. So if you want to find backers for live tournament (or even cash) action, that might be your “in.”

Find Coaching or Online Poker Sites That Offer Stakes

If you take a look around the internet, you’ll find that there are still some sites that offer coaching / staking arrangements. The two that I found (that I would trust) still available include:

Keep in mind that if you want to go with one of these programs, you should already have a small (winning) sample size and can prove that you can put in volume. Volume is very important for these guys, especially if you’re barely profitable as it’s the only way to make up for the time they spend coaching you (which will come with the staking deals).

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How to Find a Poker Stake in Forums

The easiest way to find a staking opportunity is to visit a forum such as Part Time Poker or 2+2. There are several options within these forums for finding stakes:

  • CoachingMany players that offer coaching also provide staking. Be sure to read their thread first to make sure they do before applying – not all coaches are able to, or are interested in staking players.
  • Setup a BAP – A BAP is also known as “buy a piece.” With BAPs, what you do is setup a proposal for other investors. You include what games you want to play, how many you expect to play, how long it should take you, the bankroll you’re looking for and the cuts you’re offering. Interested investors will then buy pieces of your action.
  • Make a Deal – Make a Deals, or MADs, are staking opportunities setup by investors looking for horses. What they (usually) do is offer so many bankrolls for specific games and cuts. This is a great opportunities for you to cut your teeth and build reputation in the forums which will help you get bigger and better staking opportunities in the future.

Be sure to read all the fine print, rules, guidelines, etc, etc, because these forums are pretty strict on the rules they have in place. You also don’t want to give off a bad first impression because you couldn’t follow simple guidelines. Think of this almost like a job interview.

Finding Stakes Simply By Word of Mouth

Another way to find staking opportunities is by word of mouth. That’s how I got my staking deal. I was friends with someone who was giving me some free coaching here and there who was being coached/staked by an even better player.

I sent the coach/staker some of my hand histories and we took it from there. I quickly had a $300 bankroll for the $3/18-mans, and a month or so later I was at the $6s and then a couple months later the $16s.

One word of caution – try to do some due diligence before agreeing to a stake with someone. You want to be sure they’re good people. Getting involved with bad people while owing them money isn’t +EV.

Types of Staking Deals

Usually staking deals will fall under one of two categories:

  • Short term (individual) stakes such as BAPs and MADs.
  • Long term stakes with stables / coaches.

I’ve already explained buy a pieces and make a deals above. So let me give you some insights on what to expect and look for when considering a long term deal.

First and foremost, you will be expected to play anywhere from 5-20k+ games. Depending on your monthly volume, that can take you 6-12 months, possibly as long as 2 years.

When coming to an agreement, be sure that you request that cuts can be negotiated on a case-by-case basis and that if there is coaching involved, how much you should get and how often. I can tell you from first hand experience that you don’t want to expect coaching and then hardly ever get it, especially since your cut is reflected for some of the coach’s time.

Be sure to get everything in writing, too, and that all parties involved sign the agreement. Oh, and don’t forget to add a buy-out clause. A buy-out clause is an agreement that lets you out of your deal for a price – usually an amount per game by the number of games you have left to play. For example, say you average $1 per game. Your buy-out clause might be $.50 per game. So if you have $1,000 games left, you can buy yourself out of the agreement for $500.

Last thing – ask as many questions as needed. Don’t jump into a long-term staking deal unless you’re fully aware and prepared.

How to Improve Your Chances of Being Staked

You might face challenges in finding someone to back you. So here are some things you can do to improve your chances. Keep in mind that not all tips will apply to all kinds of staking arrangements or situations.

  • Build a positive reputation in the forum you’re trying to get staked in.
  • Provide a list of references.
  • Wait until you have a sample size of 500 or 1,000 games with a positive ROI.
  • Offer to take a smaller cut.
  • Find a coach if the staking agreement you want doesn’t offer it. Be sure to let the investors know.
  • Don’t lie about who you are, your abilities, how much volume you can put in or anything like that.

All-in-all, treat applying for a stake very much like you would a bank loan (or as I said above, a job) – it’s essentially the same thing. If you do that, you’ll increase your chances of getting your first stake, and from there finding stakes will only get easier.