random math

howdy folks.  lately i’ve not been playing much; i’m mainly just chilling with friends and eating my face off.  being lazy i guess.  but i’ll start playing more; i just need to feel that motivation again.  hmm, maybe i’m going through the down cycle.  i should start associating pool with food; that should motivate me.  😀  (perhaps it is time to play michael for the bacon mayonnaise.)

since the word sustainability is being thrown around so fashionably these days, i started wondering about the sustainability regarding a professional player’s income.  at what point is the salary considered sustainable?  when i dug around the intarwebs, it seems the average income for pro pool players is around $30k a year.  i’m not sure where/how that figure is derived, but it seems to be a reasonable number.

here in ros angeres, the average rent (according to some intarweb sources) for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1000, possibly more.  if you buy a house/condo, you’re probably looking at a monthly mortgage payment of $2000, and that is a very conservative estimate.  (it’s probably in the $3500+ range in a semi-decent neighborhood.)  add car payment and other sundry items, you’re looking at $2500-$4000 a month just in home & utility payments if you have a spouse.  single folks probably pay around $1500-$2000 a month, if you get a small apartment.  you’ll need to eat of course, plus gas money, entertainment, and cash for table time (if your pool hall doesn’t have a monthly or membership program.)  assuming you’re single (otherwise the numbers are too painful), you’ll probably need to make around $3000-$3500 a month to support yourself, and that’s just living month to month without any savings.  unfortunately, pro players nowadays get their income largely from tournaments, which means the money is not a steady source.  in a good year, a player can make $60-$80k a year, maybe more.  in a lean year?  who knows.  could be less than $20k.  the more savvy players get into the business game and open up supply stores or pool halls, but mostly the pros just keep playing and trying to survive.

i don’t know why i’m writing this; maybe this whole tax season thing got me depressed about numbers.  i just think that tournament winnings is not the way to go.  for pro players to survive, they need a lot more sources of income.  they need to pack the stands and maybe get part of the gate money (not possible if you only have less than 200 people watching).  market some products.  make appearances.  with the rising cost of living, pro pool players have to figure out more ways to make money; it’s just not possible to survive only on tournament winnings in the long run.   in the grand scheme of things, a couple of good years mean nothing.

sustainability.  i’m hoping the pro players can achieve that status.  right now it seems very few do.

8 comments on “random math

    • hi mr. fieldhammer. i’m really not trying to depress anybody, it’s just that the numbers are by nature harsh. even still, i think it’s best that people accept pro pool for what it is, and plan/budget accordingly. pro pool is not an easy life, and my sympathies lay with all those who try to make a honest living playing pool.

  1. Maybe it’s time that you interview a pro player and ask them how are they living with so little money. Maybe most pro players do not live on the coasts so maybe their standard of living is lower? But still, 30k per year does not sound like a living at all.

    • it’s possible that pros who live in less expensive states will be better off; i mean, businesses migrate to states that are cost-friendly. still, $30k a year is kind of slumming it in today’s economy. with gas AND diesel price hikes, traveling to tournaments will be more costly as well.

  2. I guess pool players could move to a country with a lower cost of living, like say, the philippines? Oh, wait, that’s a really stupid idea! 😉

    Yeah, tax season brings out the worst in most of us. And speaking of taxes and spending, I’ve often wondered why the government doesn’t sponsor billiards as a strategic imperative. Wouldn’t it be more cost effective to settle international disputes on the green felt, as opposed to armed conflict? Just a thought.

    • you could do the philippines, but the competition is brutal out there, so winning that prize money is even more unstable. which makes me wonder what kind of jobs you can get out there.

      settling int’l disputes with pool? no way. somebody will dump a game, and we’ll all go back to wars. 😛

  3. Ah, do we play for the money or the love the game?! To each their own…..

    And yes – I know I owe you some reading material to clear the blurriness…soon – I promise!

    • feel . . . better . . . already . . .

      unfortunately for the pros, they don’t have the option to choose between love of the game and money anymore; it has to be both. i really feel for the pros who are trying to make an honest living at this game. i’m sure on some days it’d feel like they’re just trying to grind out a payday; that can’t be easy on their psyches.

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