Poker is a game of cards that brought a major change in the casino gaming industry. It is often considered by most as unproductive and time-consuming. This is a common misconception. Poker has positive effects on society that are often disregarded.

Economic impact

The productivity and social contribution of industries are important. These are often measured by the number of jobs it creates and how much tax revenue it contributes. There are about 108,000 jobs created from live poker and more or less 11,000 jobs from online poker. That is a total of 119,000 jobs. A total of more than $1.25 billion in direct and indirect tax revenue was from live poker. Online poker has contributed more than $47 million in direct and indirect tax revenue.

These are only estimates. US casino figures are more transparent than those of non-US.  This estimate relies on data from Party Poker which is not a market leader. This game does not have as much exposure to the taxed markets of France and Spain. This analysis neglects the economic impact a US online poker market could have. It includes thousands of jobs and about $1.5-5 billion in annual tax revenue.


People can compare poker to tennis. It is the most similar industry. Both their economies are competitive endeavors that take years to train for. They also have a similar size of player pools. The top players in each industry are both raking in millions of dollars. The rest of the players are either losing money or only making a marginal amount of income.

Poker and tennis both have 75-100 million recreational players around the world. They both have about 20,000 semi-professional and college players. The career onramp for tennis seems to be longer and more costly.


Professional tennis players often train around the age of 4. Their parents spend about $2,000 to $5,000 per month on their training. They train for 6 days a week. That happens for about 10 years. Only then can they become a tennis pro. Children aspiring to be tennis professionals train for about 5 hours a day on the court. Around 21% of tennis players suffer injuries that need medical attention. A tennis professional’s career has an average length of only 7 years. Professional tennis players spend around $500 million a year for their sport.

Online poker players cannot start training before the legal age. Once they do, they can play for as many hours as they want to without worrying about physical injuries. They do not have to spend much to be able to play online poker. They only need a stable internet connection and a device to access the online casino sites.

Both need years of practice to become a skilled professional. Both have millions of fans. As well as recreational players who find the game appealing. Both hobbies can be costly.


Some poker players use this game as a tool for controlling their other urges. Alcoholics and drug addicts turn to poker to try to cure their addiction. They play to pass time and are not concerned much about the prize. They see the prize as a bonus that they could enjoy at leisure. Playing poker helps them to set their minds to something else than their addiction. They do not realize that they already spent several hours playing the game. They enjoy the game so much that they no longer feel the urge of grabbing a bottle of beer or popping in a pill or two. They become more concerned about how to defeat the top player or how to win with the highest hand possible.

Poker is a zero-sum game. This means that there are many losing players. These players lose more than they can afford. But these players do not care. They only want to enjoy and have the time of their life.