What is a ‘Backer’?
A ‘backer’ is a person who fronts the cash for a player who wishes to enter a poker tournament or a poker cash game, but is short on the entry fee. The backer provides the bankroll, and the player gets a cut of any profits made during the game. The term is most associated with poker, where the practice is extremely common, but it can also appear in other forms of gambling where a wealthy player funds a skilled one and receives any winnings, minus a commission – sometimes known as ‘gambling by proxy’.
If a poker player wishes to enter a poker tournament or cash game, but can’t afford the entry fee and playing funds required to play, they might seek the support of a backer instead. A backer is a financier for the game – a non-active participant who bankrolls a skilled poker player and takes a large cut of any profits made. Backers are common in poker and often support promising young players who have not yet made a cash fund of their own, but who could do well in a tournament situation.
Many of the players in big international tournaments, such as the World Series of Poker, will be funded by a backer. Entry fees for high profile poker matches are often quite high, so recruiting a backer can help an up and coming player get into the most prestigious tournaments early in their career. Most backer agreements see the bulk of the money going to the financier, with the player taking a small cut of between 20% and 30% from any profits. Backer agreements will also account for losses, with players often indebted to the backer if they do not come away with a profit.
Occasionally, backers appear in other forms of gambling. If a player is skilled with a particular betting system and a wealthy non-active player wishes to profit, they may fund the strategist’s play and take a cut of any winnings.
Want to get in to poker? Check out our guide, including where to play.