Grinding Poker For A Living

Grind is on the mind and if you’re going to become a pro poker player, or just one that knows their stuff, you have to know what poker grinding is and how to do it right.

What Is Grinding In Poker?

Just over a decade ago I quit my job to play poker for a living. At the time of Black Friday I was mostly grinding tournaments, sit-n-goes and cash-game Omaha variants at online American poker sites. Since live poker in Kansas was a little thin on the ground, it was apparent I would have to move. . Read Real Grinders How To Play Poker For A Living. Uploaded By Roger Hargreaves, real grinders how to play poker for a living does not get boring each contributor has his or her own ideas of what is the the right stuff for a successful poker career some of the poker players contributing to this book see what they do has a job requiring a.

Food for thought - Mtt grinders - PokerNetwork Australian Poker Forum - Poker in Australia - pingback on January 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm Tweets that mention Life as an Online MTT Pro by the Numbers (It’s Hard) NoahSD's Awesome Poker Blog - - pingback on January 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm.

Grinding Poker For A Living Organism

Grinding, also known as rounding, is to play steadily for profit on a set limit without taking very much risk. A grinder often has the potential to make and win large bets. But, he or she will choose to play on a limit far beneath their abilities to ensure they make a profit.

In short, a grinder will “grind” away until they reach their set goal. These players generally will stay away from aggressive moves in favor of safe play. Unlike a lot of poker players whose goal is to make as much money from each hand as possible, a grinder is completely fine with winning small pots.

It should be noted that 'Grinder' is also used to refer to players who play poker for a living. Similarly, these players will play very often until they reach their set goal. For the sake of this article, we’re going to discuss grinding the table to win small pots.

Where Can They Be Found?

Grinders can be found in most types of poker; especially in lower and middle limit tables. The vast majority will be found multi-tabling. It’s not uncommon for these players to be making bets at 8, or even 10, tables at a time.

How To Do It The Right Way

Poker grinders rarely take big shots. The money comes trickling in, but on a steady basis. A good poker grinder may have their losing streaks, but not often. When they do lose, it won't be very much. If you’re going to grind, there are a few things you should take note of before you begin.

Bankroll management: This is vital. By keeping a proper bankroll coordinating with the level you are playing at, you will be able to build a “healthy” cushion against variance or the natural balance between good and bad luck.

Choosing a site: A serious grinder will take into consideration all aspects of the gaming operator. Headline bonuses, rakebacks, promotions and fees are just a few things they will look at. The balance between high stake and low stake players is also relevant; you want an even amount between the groups. All these considerations will affect the overall decision of what a grinder is willing to bet.

Math is essential: You don’t have to be a math whiz, but you do want to determine your hourly profits and ensure you are pulling in adequate amounts of cash. In order to do this, many grinders will play at multiple tables. This takes time to learn, but it is a viable option if you remain patient

Consistent analysing: Serious grinders constantly analyse their own game play. They know what their strengths and weaknesses are and find ways to make improvements wherever needed. Grinders often take advantage of poker software which can be useful to evaluate hands and overall game strategy.

Advantages Of Being A Grinder

A lot of grinders play at multiple “Sit and Go” tables. These players may occupy themselves with 8 or more tables at a time. Take for example a buy-in of $10 at a sit and go table. Ten percent is a sufficient ROI (after rake); therefore, the player is making $1 per Sit and Go. It doesn’t seem like much; however, if they can manage 20 of these per hour; they’re grinding $20 per hour win rate. Not too bad; double your money and you can bring in $50 an hour. Although the ROI may seem small, it can add up.

Throughout your game play, you are bringing in steady amounts of cash and lose very little. A grinder’s losses (if they have any) are usually small; therefore, they can easily overcome them. Winning slots at foxwoods. This is the primary advantage of being a grinder.


As appealing as grinding may sound, it is not easy. It takes a great deal of patience, willful learning and stamina when playing on small or mid stake poker tables. It can take thousands of hands and long hours before you begin to turn a decent profit. It also takes self-control. Think about it. You will be playing against other individuals who win huge amounts of cash, while your own winnings are miniscule in comparison.

Managing Your Bankroll As A Poker Grinder

As a poker grinder you must know how to manage your bankroll. There is a lot to be said about bankroll management, but we’ll keep it short and to the point for now. First, the type of poker and your style of a play have a part in bankroll management. Generally speaking, you should have between 30 and 50 buy-ins for whatever game you’re playing.

A grinder is all about winning; for a positive bankroll, set your goals and stick to them; even if you’re on an unlucky streak. At the tables, start with small wagers and keep track of your buy-ins. All too often players forget to do this, lose their money and think the site is rigged. Remember, don’t play more than your bankroll allows.

Finally, poker is all about having fun. Once you’ve met your goals and you’re bankroll continues to grow, don’t forget to take some out. Use it to invest in something else or treat yourself to that gadget you’ve been eyeing for a long time. When you keep all of your money in your bankroll, not spending it on anything exciting, you risk losing interest in your strategy and the game. As a result your play and profits will be headed downwards.

Ultimately, if you’re going to be a grinder, have a plan, develop goals and practice as much as you can. Thunder valley casino poker room phone number. The more variables you can cover, the better the chance you will have at growth, profit and even pleasure.

    Related Pages

(After you read this post, you might want to check out my follow-up to it here.)

I tell a lot of people not to play large-field online MTTs for a living. I’ve always thought that the variance is just way too high for most professionals to trust their livelihood (and sanity) to large-field MTTs instead of cash, smaller-field MTTs, or STTs. But, admittedly, I’ve given this advice without any direct evidence to back it up. I’ve been meaning for a while to see what the numbers say, and this post will be a tentative first step.

Ideally, what I’d like to do is do a nice controlled study where I pick a few representative players based on past results and use their results over the next few months as my data. (Alternatively, I could take the results of one of the large backing groups. If anyone who backs 20+ people would be down to share some information, let me know.) But, that requires more motivation than I’ve been able to muster, so I decided to do a much rougher study: I grabbed Shaun “SFD” Deeb’s tourney results from OPR (with Shaun’s permission) and played around for a few hours. Here’s what I found:

I used Shaun’s results from January 2009 to present on Stars and FTP. I filtered for buy-ins between $55 and $216 and included only NLHE tourneys with at least 181 entrants. OPR doesn’t record rebuys, so I removed rebuy tourneys. This left 3,049 tourneys with an average buy-in of $119.72 in which Deeb earned $294,027 with an awesome ROI of 81% and an ITM of 11.5%. Obviously, not many people can play or run as well as Shaun Deeb, but these results provide a starting point.

Say you are Shaun Deeb, you really do have an ROI of 81%, and you’re going to play 1,000 of these tourneys. What are the odds you make money? What are the odds you make at least $50k? Etc etc. Here are the results of one thousand Shaun Deebs each playing one thousand tourneys:

In particular, Shaun loses over a 1,000 tournaments sample about 13% of the time, and he makes less than $50k about 35% of the time (with an EV of about $100k). Of course, the upside is pretty good too–He makes over $200k about 14% of the time and over $300k almost 4% of the time.

Here’s the same data for a larger sample of 3,000 tournaments:

Over 3,000 tourneys, Shaun wins about 98.6% of the time, and he wins over $150k over 82% of the time. He made over $900k once in my 1,000 trials ($915,134) and over $600k about 6% of the time.

But, say you’re not Shaun Deeb. I can make a lower ROI player by simply taking Shaun’s distribution and lowering the payouts. (For an ROI of x, multiply the prizes by (1+x)*0.554 .) This isn’t very accurate, but it’s good enough for my purposes (especially since Shaun has a low ITM%). Here’s the 1,000 tourney histogram for a 20% ROI player:

As you can see, the situation is way worse. This player loses about 45% of the time and loses over $50,000 about 7% of the time. That’s pretty terrible, but maybe things get better with a larger sample? Here’s the data for 3000 Tourneys:

A 20% ROI player will be a loser over a 3,000 tourney sample almost 26% of the time. That’s much higher than I’d expected, and it’s the sort of number that should scare the shit out of prospective and current MTT professionals–If you want to play MTTs for a living, you better either put in a ton of volume, play really well, or be prepared to be a slave to variance (and nobody’s actually prepared for that).

Here’s lots of data for lots of situations (sorry for the ugly formatting):

ROITourneys PlayedExpected EarnChance of LossChance of Earning < .5x EVChance of Earning > 1.5x EVChance of Earning > 2x EV

Video Poker For A Living

Grinding Poker For A Living

There’s obviously a lot of information there, but some things jump out. In particular, life totally sucks if you’re a 20% ROI player. Even if you play 5k tourneys (which would be a decent sample for an entire year), you still have a 20% chance of losing money and a 38% chance of making less than ~60k. That totally sucks. Anyone except a true tourney god is more likely to lose over 100 tourneys than to win, which also sucks, and even a great tourney player has a decent chance of losing over 1k+ tournaments or to make only half her expected earn over 5k tournaments. Of course, the upside is good too, but the risk of losing money should be pretty scary to professional MTT players.

I should mention that this data lines up pretty well with my experience. I know a lot of professional MTT players. Losing months are incredibly common for them, and losing years happen fairly often. Years where they way underperform their expectations are typical. So, I hope people consider this before deciding to play (or continue playing) these for a living. People who are really good at MTTs, willing to put in tons of volume, and have huge bankrolls and strong stomachs might be better off playing large field MTTs professionally, but there aren’t many of those people. I think for the vast majority of people, it’s not a good idea (even for those who play very well).

Online Poker For A Living

Grinding Online Poker For A Living

You can find more data and some discussion about the distribution here and here. In future posts (probably coming soon, but I’m not making any promises), I’ll compare this data to cash games (both NLHE and PLO), STTs, and small field MTTs (i.e. 45s and 180s). I’ll also look into how stuff like this affects backing. So, if that stuff interests you, stay tuned or whatever. You can follow me on twitter if you want to know when my posts go up, or just subscribe to my RSS feed.