What Is the Average Salary of a Professional Pool Player?

If you really enjoy shooting pool and are considering becoming a professional pool player, you may be wondering what the average salary is for someone who wants to pursue this particular career path. Unlike other jobs that have a steady salary, a professional pool player's income will vary depending on how well they do in tournaments.

Making Money

Pool players earn their living by winning prize money and collecting money from sponsors. And since you are more likely to get lucrative sponsorships if you are winning tournaments, you need to be able to play pool very well and be able to handle pressure well. In order to determine if your skill level is good enough to become a pro, you need to start counting how many balls you can run.

Most pros can run a minimum of 150 balls in straight pool, and they also can consistently run at least 80 balls. If you have this kind of skill level, you need to be aware that you will earn very little money as a professional pool player, when compared to the pros in other sports.

Mid-level pool players usually make less than $50,000 per year, with the average earnings being closer to $30,000 annually. When compared with the average earnings of many Americans, it's not a bad living, because you will be working only for a few hours. However, if you compare it to a golf pro, for example, you will not be making in one year what they could potentially earn in one tournament.

Becoming A Pro

The process of becoming a professional pool player is quite easy. All you need to do is sign up with a few of the professional organizations like Billiard Congress of America (BCA), United States Professional Poolplayers Association (UPA) and World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA). Once you have paid your annual dues, you can start entering pool tournaments. Many times the entry fees for these tournaments ranges from $200-$400, but you will have to come up with the cash because doing well in these tournaments is really the only way to get your name known.

If you consistently have high rankings, you can become established and won't have to win qualifier events in order to play in certain tournaments; instead, you can be seeded in these tournaments without qualifying since you already have a solid reputation as a skillful player. Even in some so-called "opens" (open to anyone who is willing to pay the entry fee), you still may have to have specific credentials in order to play. You should become familiar with the various regional tours, like:

  • IPT, or the International Pool Tour
  • Fury
  • Joss
  • Midwest
  • NYC
  • Pechauer
  • Southeast
  • Viking


Pool players spend a great deal of time traveling from one tournament to the next. In addition, you can expect to incur lots of travel related expenses like the cost of hotels, transportation and eating out. In order to supplement your income, you can try to get endorsements, give pool lessons, hold exhibitions and even gamble at the local pool hall. Although the life of pool players is uncertain, if you are someone who really loves the game, it may just be the life of your dreams.