What is meant by 'ROI' in poker?

If you're new to playing online poker you've probably seen people talking about their 'ROI' on poker forums and websites. So you may be wondering what is meant by this.

Well firstly, ROI is an abbreviation of Return On Investment. This term is actually used outside of poker as well; but for us poker players it simply means how much money we're making. ROIs are used to describe the average amount of profits that poker players make.

When we say 'investment', we mean the money we're playing with. So if I was playing a sit n go which was a $10+$11 buyin, my 'investment' would be $11, and the 'return' would be however much I did or didn't cash for.

Poker ROIs are expressed as a percentage, so you'll see people saying things like "I have an ROI of 10% over 1000 games" and so on. So how do you calculate your ROI? Well, you can either do this using a calculator, setting up an Excel spreadsheet, or by using online tools which will do it for you, such as Sharkscope.com. But let's have a look at the maths of it as it's actually pretty simple -

Your ROI for a game or number of games = (the total money that you've won - the total money you bought in for) / The total money you bought in for x 100.

Let's look at a couple of examples using this formula. Let's say I've played 100 sit n gos which were each a buyin of $11. Over the course of these games the total money I've won is $1200. Let's put this into the formula and see what my ROI is

($1200 - $1100) / $1100 x 100 = 9.09. So in this example my ROI is 9.09%

OK another example. Let's say I've played 500 $22 SNGs (which is a total buyin of $11000) and I've won a total of $9500. Putting this into the formula ...

($9500 - $11000) / $11000 x 100 = -13.6. So in this case my ROI is negative and is -13.6%, as the amount of money I've won is less than what I bought in for.

So the higher the ROI, the better you're doing at poker. 
To maximise your ROI, we recommend you use poker analytics software such as Holdem Manager or PokerOffice. These help you analyse 'leaks' in your game as well as your opponent. And for you Sit N Go poker players, the definitive tool for increasing your ROI rate is SNG Wiz, which will help you dominate the late stages of the game.

 As always, we wish you good luck at the tables.