What do poker players want for Christmas? About $2.5m

money wrapped as a gift

What does the professional poker player want for Christmas this year? I’d guess the same as last year and the year before that–about two-and-a-half million dollars.

Actually, a lot of people would like that. But for poker players this is roughly the amount it will cost to play all the major events of 2014, starting with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January, and ending in the Bellagio next December. About $2.5 million will cover it all–the buy-ins at least. Flights and accommodation will have to come from somewhere else, such as the back of the sofa.

The poker playing year will start in the Bahamas and PCA. ParadiseIsland will become home for more than a thousand players looking to start their year with a seven figure bang. Most will leave with nothing, or at least a five figure dent. But someone has to win the Main Event, with its first prize likely to be around $2 million. They’ll also be vacancies for High Roller and Super High Roller winners.

From the Bahamas the best will head south for the winter, to Melbourne and the Aussie Millions. Here they’ll spend close to AUS$400,000 on a Main Event, and the associated Challenge events–ranging from AUS$25,000 to ten times that amount–most without batting an eyelid.

While all that is going on there’s always the European Poker Tour, which after the PCA resumes in Deauville, before events in Vienna, Sanremo and Monte Carlo. Each will feature Main Events and High Rollers, with the latter, the Grand Final, also hosting the Super High Rollers as well. Not to mention those guilty pleasures, re-entries.

Before the start of the new EPT season in the late summer they’ll be the annual trip to Las Vegas, where the World Series of Poker remains an event not to be missed. Sure you can drop by for the main event only, but it’s here that the best players make their reputation. The pursuit of a bracelet will begin in earnest and, what with the Big One for One Drop returning this year, a player could require upwards of $1.4 million to cover it all, although that assumes the unlikely scenario of a One Dropper keeping every cent of their own action.

The World Series doesn’t end in the summer these days, with the early autumn festivities of the WSOP Europe added to the tournament calendar. Here you’ll spend anything up to €50,000 on events as you try to put right the errors of the summer.

Aside from all those smaller, regional events, that leaves the World Poker Tour to fit in. What with all the travelling to and from the Caribbean, Australia and Europe, finding time will be difficult. And yet there are some events too good to pass up. So another $100,000 should be budgeted for those moments when the need for fried cheese becomes too great to ignore.

All in all it adds up to an expensive year. Even the best players in the world won’t play everything. Instead, they’ll pick and choose depending on geography and budget. Of course, there’s one way to make all of this academic, a simple solution that will make the decisions a lot easier. That is to win the PCA Main Event which starts next week.

Actually, that will still leave you half a million short. You might try to win the High Roller event as well.