Most people enjoy playing pool for fun with friends and family. Yet, if you think you are exceptional at the sport, you could make money as a professional pool player—although it can be difficult to start a career as a professional player and earn a decent salary.
You do need to understand various pool concepts and the rules for different games, such as:
- Straight Pool
How Do Professional Pool Players Earn Money?
Professional pool players earn money by competing in pool tournaments in the U.S. and around the world. To get paid, you must win the tournament and move up in the rankings. The more you play and the more you win, the more money you can earn.
As you can imagine, with the limited number of professional players in the sport, it can become highly competitive to be in the top rankings. If they do not win a tournament, they do not necessarily get paid.
Due to the uncertainty of winning tournaments, many professional players supplement their winnings in other ways, such as:
- Teaching Pool to Others
- Offering Private Tutoring/Lessons
- Attending Pool Exhibitions
- Hosting “Friendly” Competitions at Local Pool Halls
- Endorsing Products
Anyone can enter local and regional tournaments without a sponsorship. There is often an entry fee that goes toward the prize money. Certain tournaments will require you to play a qualifying round to compete. As you are moving up in the ranks, you may not have to if you are seeded.
Once you move on to state and national tournaments, having sponsorship helps get you noticed. Furthermore, you will need sponsorship if you have big dreams of competing in world championships.
As you can imagine, maintaining winning streaks can be challenging even for professional players. If they have a bad streak, they will not earn any money in tournaments and could lose sponsorships and endorsements. In addition, some tournaments only pay out prize money to the top ten players.
Other Costs Professional Players Incur
Travel is an essential part of pool competitions, so you must have money for transportation expenses, hotels, and food. This money will come out of your pocket upfront, regardless of whether you win or lose tournaments.
Even when you are on a winning streak, you need to deduct these expenses from your winnings to have a good idea of how much money you are earning.
Years of Experience
The more experience you have, the easier it is to get sponsorships and endorsements. Ideally, at the very minimum, you should be able to run 80 balls in straight pool. The top professionals can run 150 or more balls.
Professional Pool Player Salary
While Efren Reyes is one of the world’s greatest and most well-known pool players, with a net worth of $2 million, you should not assume all professional players make millions of dollars. In reality, an intermediate-level professional player only earns around $50,000 annually.
Top-level players usually earn more with annual salaries of at least $100,000. Their earnings largely depend on the number of sponsorships and endorsements they have.
Some top players earn millions of dollars or more during their careers like Mike Siegel did. Yet, these players are the exceptions due to their experience and winning ability.
Becoming a Professional
If your dream is to become a professional pool player, just remember the sport is highly competitive, with everyone vying for the top seed rankings and highest earnings. To get started, you need to register with professional pool organizations and pay their annual membership fees, such as:
- United States Professional Pool Players Association
- Billiard Congress of America
- World-Pool Billiard Association
Joining these organizations allows you to register for competitions and tournaments. Playing in competitions and tournaments can be fun and exciting, regardless of whether you win or lose. So, even if you do not earn millions of dollars, you can still earn some extra money while playing a sport you love.
Next, you need to compete in tournaments. Before considering the major competitions, you must start smaller in local and regional tournaments. As you move up the ranks and rack up wins, you may get noticed by different sponsors.
Sponsorship is essential as you move up and advance to higher level tournaments because it can further help boost your earnings potential. Sponsorships also open up opportunities where you may be offered endorsements, which can also be lucrative.
Most importantly, you need a tournament-quality pool table to practice on like the artisan handcrafted tables available from Blatt Billiards. Explore our selection of pool tables, pool cues, and ball sets today, or contact us at 212-674-8855 for further assistance.