Poker ROI

Posted by David Cowell on April 08, 2011 at 5:14 BST

You may have seen the term “ROI” and wondered what it possibly meant and how it reflected on your poker profitability. Poker ROI stands for “Return on Investment” and is most frequently used to calculate how well you are performing in Sit ´n´ Go tournaments. It is a personal gauge, and although freely available to other players on poker tracking software, it is a reflective rather than accurate indicator of your success rate in this type of poker tournament.

ROI is calculated by dividing the profit you made in a Sit ´n´ Go tournament by the buy-in including any tournament fee. So, if you won a $10.00 + $1.00 Sit ´n´ Go tournament on PokerStars and collected $45.00, your ROI would be calculated thus –

$34.00 (profit) / $11.00 (total buy-in) x 100 = 309%

Over ten Sit ´n´ Go tournaments, you may win two and come second in three more (profit in each $16.00) and therefore you have made a total profit of $116.00. Dividing this $116.00 by the amount of buy-ins you have paid ($110.00) gives you an ROI of 5.40%. The more games you include in your calculation, the more accurate it is going to be and your aim should be to always maintain a positive ROI.

What Constitutes Good ROI

Opinion differs as what constitutes a good ROI. If you play at a higher stake level, a smaller positive ROI could mean more profit than a higher ROI at a smaller stake level.

i.e. an ROI of 5.40% in $10.00 + $1.00 Sit ´n´ Go tournaments is not as valuable as an ROI of 5.40% in $50.00 +  $5.00 Sit ´n´ Go tournaments. Therefore, it may be better to use a sliding scale to suggest what ROI you should be aiming to achieve.

Level                          ROI
less than $6             20%
$6 / $11                    15%
$22                           10%
$33                             7%
$55                             5%
$109                           4%
$215                           3%

These are only examples and even if you do not attain these levels, it does not mean you are a bad poker player (obviously, if you exceed them, you are a very good poker player!)

There are also many factors which affect your ROI calculation. The first is the fee attached to your buy-in. In the examples we have used above, the figures have been calculated using PokerStars regular 10% buy-in fee. Some sites offer turbo games with an 8% (or lower) fee which will increase your ROI figure.

The number of players involved in a game will also have an influence on the profit you make in a Sit ´n´ Go tournament. The full tables on PokerStars, for example, only seat 9 players, whereas on other sites you could be seated on a table of 10 which would generate more prize money. Conversely, you could participate in a short-handed tournament, in which case the profit you make for cashing in the tournament is much less.

You might also find that multi-tabling has a negative impact on your ROI, even though you win more money over a period of time, and any rakeback that you get from the buy-in fees should be ignored when making ROI calculations.

ROi is simply a performance gauge which can be applied in varied forms to record how well you do in cash ring games and multi table tournaments (although you will often see wild variance in the latter). It has nothing to do with your poker bankroll or overall poker profitability, although if you maintain a positive ROI in Sit ´n´ Go tournaments, you should see your poker bankroll blossom.