Hungary For PokerSeptember 17, 2009 7:36 am
The Poker Association of Hugary’s latest survey has revealed the extent to which poker has increased in popularity in the eastern European country. The report found that out of the 10 million population of Hungary, 50,000 play live poker and a further 200,000 regularly play poker online.
The survey noted that most of the players started playing in the last few years and believes the economic crisis and 10% unemployment rate in the country gives a clue as to the rising interest in the game.
Hungary has an average monthly income of just $640, and Gergely Tatar, chairman of the poker association, commented: “Online, you can start with a few hundred dollars and if you are good, you can make as much as $10,000 per month in a year or two. Eastern Europeans are used to taking risks … they have always lived this way.”
Despite 2.5% of the population playing poker regularly only around 5,000 players are making a steady income from the game, but the number is set to grow as more Hungarians seek to emulate the success of their most celebrated professional, Peter Traply.
Traply (22) graduated this February in communications but instead of looking for a job, he has continued to play poker and has already made $531,900 in 2009, including $348,755 for his 1st place finish at the WSOP Shootout – No Limit Hold’em Event #41.
Other graduates are looking to follow suit with an estimated 2% hoping to supplement a part of their income from poker. One Budapest graduate, who only gave his screen name as Wibescu, for tax purposes, is already succeeding and said: “When I worked last year, I still played poker two hours a day. In a good month, I won $2,000 easily. It kind of deflates your motivation to go out and find a job.”
Eastern European countries represent a huge growing market for online poker sites with Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria experiencing particularly strong growth. You know it is a measure of the affection felt towards the game when one of Hungary’s celebrated singers, Gyorgy Korda says: “This growth is unstoppable. I’m sorry I’m 70, and not 50. Then I would forget singing, travel the world and just play poker.”