Last year, Phil Hellmuth made poker headlines when he attempted to sell his house on Twitter for $430k. This was nearly $100k more than the online listing price, which resulted in a fair amount of community backlash. But who can blame a professional poker player for attempting to extract the maximum value?
The home has three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a two-car garage, and pool that sits alongside the Las Vegas Community Club golf course.
The first line of the property description reads, “Your opportunity to own a home with vintage Vegas charm & a poker royalty legacy”. (The implication here being that Hellmuth is “poker royalty” and that owning a piece of his “legacy” is worth a considerable amount of money.) The house is currently off market, and is now valued at $454,300.
Top poker pros such as Hellmuth have earnings that run well into the six or even seven figures. As such, they tend to have luxury homes.
For those at the very top of the game, the life of a poker pro can look like the life of a celeb, sports star, or high profile business person. They are the Kings and Queens of their world, and they own luxury homes that cost millions of dollars.
Iranian poker pro Antonio Esfandiari recently purchased a mansion at Venice Beach, Southern California. This is the second luxury home that Esfandiari owns in the area. The first, his starter home, is worth $3.4 million, and the second more recent purchase was for $5.3 million – five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and 6,000 sq ft of space.
For Esfandiari, this sale was a move away from the Vegas Strip, where many of the top live pros take up residence at the peak of their careers. Andy Bloch also recently put his Vegas home on the market.
Bloch’s luxury home has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, four half bathrooms and 10,500 sq ft of space. The house features a media room, games room complete with poker table, and terrace with stunning views of the Strip. The asking price for this mansion was a touch under $9 million, but it seems to have sold for closer to $4 million and is now valued at $4.5 million.
To give you an idea of the level of success these players are riding, Esfandiari has $27.8 million in live poker tournament earnings. Bloch had a particularly interesting career. Aside from winning around $5.2 million in live tournaments, he was also an investor in the Full Tilt poker site, as well as one of the members of the MIT blackjack card counting team.
Back to reality. The salary (average winnings) of professional poker players varies greatly. Top live pros like Helmuth and online poker professionals have total winnings upwards of $20 million, while many pros seek to earn something above a living wage.
The mobility that online poker affords means that players interested in a digital nomad type lifestyle can take up temporary, or permanent residence in other countries, and have done so in hotspots like Thailand and Mexico. Typically chosen places tick certain boxes; internet availability, quality of life, ease of travel, and a relatively low cost of living.
Online poker also provides the perfect opportunity for shared living, which is common among younger pros on the circuit. Luxury houses popped up on the Strip and beyond, home to players who seek to minimize the isolation of the online grind and maximize the opportunity to socialize and read up on Texas Holdem tips with friends.
The 2013 poker documentary Bet, Raise, Fold, gives a glimpse into the life of poker pros in a shared environment. Tony Dunst lives in the pool house of a mansion shared by online grinders. Aside from being a bed and an office, the home serves as the focal point for the poker community to learn, chill out, and party.
When it comes to live poker, naturally, many successful U.S. live pros sway towards Vegas, either in luxury apartments of their own or shared homes with other players.
When it comes to the very top of the game, though, poker pros’ homes often pop up selling for multi-million dollars, and these luxury pads have become synonymous with the baler lifestyle.
But in the real world it’s hard to pin down exactly what the life of a poker pro looks like. Every player is different – in their views, their approach, their aspirations, and their homes. A professional poker player’s home can be a luxury mansion, a beach hut, or it can be any house on any street, nearly anywhere in the world.