How to Get Staked in Poker

In another article here on, I talked about what staking is and how it’s beneficial for horses to be staked. What I didn’t mention though, is how to get started. So that’s what I’ll focus on now.

Finding a Backer

Finding a backer isn’t difficult. It will coincide with how good you are though. Obviously the better you are, the more willing someone will be to invest in you.

There are a few ways that I know of to find potential backers. One way is by word of mouth. When I was looking for coaching/staking, I asked someone who was currently being staked who their coach/backer was. They passed my name along and shortly after I had an agreement in place, a bankroll and coaching.

Another method is to join a forum such as PartTimePoker or 2+2. Here you can create a thread asking for a backer, or you can apply to other ads where backing is being offered.

A third option is to visit a training site where they offer coaching and backing. They aren’t nearly as popular as the big training sites like DC and Bluefire, but the ones I know of, like SNG Mentors, have solid coaching and they offer backing to qualified students who need it.

Creating a Staking Deal

Creating a staking deal is something you don’t want to take lightly. It’s an agreement that will dictate how many games you need to play, your bankroll, how much money you can keep if you profit, whether you will owe money if you lose it and any coaching you will receive.

Online you’ll find that there are two different kinds of agreements; one that you make privately and one that is made online publicly.

Private Staking Deals

A private staking deal is made with an individual or group of individuals. You make an agreement on a number of things like:

Number of games you’ll play

The cut of the profit you’ll pay in exchange for backing

How big your bankroll will be, and if there is room for growth

If you’ll owe makeup or not

If there will be any coaching

Once you have the contract in place, you’ll agree on a start date and you’ll be sent a bankroll. This bankroll will be replenished by your backer (if you lose) until you fulfill the agreement, or the contract is terminated.

I’m sure many of you are wondering about specifics. I understand, but it’s difficult to provide them since it’ll be dependent on your specific agreement. But you should expect to be asked to play anywhere from 3k to 20k+ games at a 60/40 to 50/50 cut (backers favor) with makeup. The bankroll will depend on the games you play, but around 20-30 buy-ins is normal.

Another thing you might find in the agreement is a buy-out clause. All that this states is that if a horse wants to terminate the contract, they could buy out the rest of their games at a slight discount. So if I figured my horse makes me $1 per game, and they have 2k games left, I might let them buy out for $.40 on the $1 for each game ($800).

That’s about it when it comes to private staking. There are a few tips that I wanted to share first, though, before moving on:

Get everything in writing before starting. You’re agreeing to a set of fixed terms, so you’ll want things in writing to protect yourself.

Understand the number of games. 7,500 games doesn’t sound like a lot, but for most players it’s around 6-12 months of playing. Also be aware that some backers will have a minimum number of games that need to be played per month.

Keep documents and/or screenshots. Keep track of things like when payments were sent, bankrolls were received, etc.

Public Staking Deals

Public staking deals are going to be similar to private staking deals in that you’ll have the same types of terms to agree to, like number of games, bankroll and games to be played. There are some differences that you’ll want to be aware of though, before you get started.

The main difference between a private and public staking deal is that with a public staking deal, you come up with the terms. You set the duration, bankroll you want, games you’ll play, if there is makeup or not and any other terms you deem important. There are both positives and negatives to this benefit.

I’ll start with the negatives first. For one thing, it’s easy to create terms that you’ll like that investors won’t. For example, asking for a $10k bankroll for 10 games with no makeup is high risk — hardly anyone will invest in you, even if you’re good. If you suck, forget about it. Another negative that you’ll have to deal with is if you ever want to make changes to the deal, like move up in stakes or play different games. In order for this to be ok, every stake holder will need to be messaged and asked. Most horses I see do this just ask for a vote (majority rules).

One positive thing about creating your own deal is the freedom you get in regards to the games you can play, how often you can reset the bankroll (to collect profits) and the cuts. You might only be able to get 60/40 with a private investor, but if you can sell yourself well and come up with a good plan for your investors, you can probably get 55/45 or 50/50. I also like the idea of setting the number of games. Public staking deals is definitely the way to go if you can only play a couple hundred games a month, and don’t want to be tied to a long term agreement.

Getting Started in Staking

Getting started in staking is far from difficult, as I’m sure you can now see. I think the most difficult part is choosing which path to go, as they both have their pros and cons. If you’re in it for the long term, want coaching and don’t mind slightly lower cuts for a bottomless bankroll, then private coaching is the way to go. However, if you don’t want to be stuck with a long term contract, don’t need coaching and want to make more money, then you might consider public staking deals. Which one is right for you? Only you know the answer to that.