In the early 2000s, professional poker reached new heights in popularity. Between ESPN, the 1998 movie “Rounders,” and Chris Moneymaker’s out-of-nowhere win at the 2003 World Series of Poker, the lure of turning professional and earning millions brought many to Las Vegas. Poker, however, is a game where players can go long periods without a win or reaching a spot that earns cash. When a player does finally win, it can be thousands or even millions of dollars. Many players will agree that one must consistently enter games in order to be successful. The financial risk, can be a heavy burden, especially if someone is beginning a career.

To offset this financial risk, players turn to staking. A person, or backer, will put up the money for a player to enter a tournament. If the player wins, the backer receives a portion of the winning. If the player loses, the backer loses. It’s a method of playing that for years took place outside of casinos between players and people in the know. Recently, entrepreneurial poker players have developed websites that can bring the idea of poker staking to the masses. It’s a new way for fans to interact with poker professionals, much like daily fantasy sports.

Poker staking, isn’t always easy or guaranteed to earn anyone money. There’s still heavy risk involved both financially and legally. When the World Series of Poker airs each year and a winner takes home stacks of cash, keep in mind not all of that money will be going to that player.

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