Meet Smart Backing member GrandePE, who does damage on alternative poker rooms! He recently climbed up to 20/40 CNY (about NL600), after beating previously NL60, NL150 and NL300 regular and straddle tables. Check out his insane two-digit winrate on his graphs below:
Graph and results in CNY
Smart Backing: Hello, GrandePE! It’s great to talk to you, you do damage on alternative poker rooms. What does your journey through stakes look like from your perspective?
I started on NL60 with straddle, and moved up through NL150, NL300, and now I play on NL600. There is no much philosophy here :). Earlier, I was playing a half of my life on PokerStars and a second half on Full Tilt Poker.
I had difficult moments, I had 3-4 months period during which I was staying in one place. I think the most important thing on alternative poker rooms is to not give up, the variance is twice as high as on other poker rooms, you have to play a lot to defeat this variance. The 20 buy-ins swings during few days, and even 10 buy-ins during one session are standard.
Before there was no HUD, It was tough to get to know anything about the opponents, that’s why I couldn’t move further. Now the game is much better, much easier to beat.
It is said that 5bb/100 is a decent winrate on PokerStars, and 10bb/100 – outstanding. On alternative poker rooms, you achieved… over 30bb/100! How is that possible?
The games are really juicy there, with many fishes and weak regs. Picking right tables and using HUD is very important. You have to be patient, the game is slower, I usually play on 4 tables, maximum 5. You have to think outside of the box, forget about GTO, throw the balance through the window, focus more on exploit and intuition. The feeling, the intuition is something that adds extra bbs/100 to your winrate.
What are the main differences between major poker rooms and alternative poker rooms?
On major poker rooms playing is much more comfortable, the software is better, swings are smaller, you play more relaxed but the winrate is much smaller. Your mindset on alternative poker rooms has to be much better but it is worth it, you can make loads of money there.
What are your goals for the future now?
My goal is to become Smart Backing coach for small stakes players. When it comes to stakes, I would like obviously to move up higher but for now I play on NL600 and I focus on winning there.
What does your day look like?
I think that the best games on alternative poker rooms are between 6 AM and noon. Then, between 1 PM and 5 PM, tables are the worst, and in the evening they get better again. I play 3 sessions a day, each lasting 2 hours during these best periods.
How do you remember your job as a coach? You recorded your first movie for PokerStrategy in 2009.
I started playing poker more seriously in 2008, with $50 bankroll from PokerStrategy. I watched learning materials, in a year, I moved up to NL200-400, playing short stack strategy. From all SSS players, I was playing at the highest limits and they offered me a job as a coach.
I enjoyed that job, I had a lot of students. Learning others brings pleasure and satisfaction, I like to do it from time to time. Coaching is a good alternative to grinding.
Why did you decide to play on shallow stacks?
The reason is simple. I didn’t have money for the start, this bankroll was enough for 5 buy-ins if I would choose big stack strategy. That’s the BRM they recommended, I recall the article where it was written that it is an aggressive strategy. I started playing SSS as it was the easiest to learn, it was almost only push or fold game. Then, poker rooms started to restrict the possibility of playing on shallow stacks, so then I was using mid stack strategy, soon I moved to big stack naturally.
If you could turn back time, would you start with a big stack?
If I had started with a big stack, I would have lost a bankroll, I wouldn’t have become a coach. I don’t regret it. However, obviously big stack strategy develops your skills way more, SSS is an ABC poker.
How do you perceive the poker level from the perspective of years? Is it now as easy as it used to be thanks to alternative poker rooms?
The level of regular players is increasing, the edges are smaller. Six years ago, the level of regs was a “cosmos”, everyone was nitting, waiting for QQ+. But there are still many very weak players that you can make loads of money from.
You've worked with various great trainers. You've recorded movies on Pokerstrategy with Yac, and you won coaching with SOEK. What did this cooperation give you?
Yac helped me to move from SSS to big stack strategy. I won coaching with SOEK, in fact, I have collaborated with SOEK before…
I read on your fanpage that you were analysing spots with SOEK in PIOSolver.
Yes, I really appreciate the cooperation with SOEK. But paradoxically, on alternative poker rooms, if someone wants to calculate a spot in PIOSolver, he should throw PIO in the bin, and focus more on reads.
When and why did you decide to join Smart Backing?
I joined SB at the beginning of the year. I wanted to improve, I was an NL100-200 reg, but I felt that I won’t move up on my own. I wanted to join the community to create myself new options for development.
How do you enjoy Smart Backing? Is it worth to join it?
It is the best option for players who want to save time, here in a week you can acquire a knowledge you would get to know on your own in a way longer time. In Smart Backing you have the essence of knowledge, everything is well presented, and easy to understand.
You take advantage of our learning materials. Which are your favorite? You are very active on our hand evaluation forum.
Posting hands is a perfect method to find confidence in your game, the confirmation that what you do is right. If you don’t post hands, you make a mistake because you can never be sure if you played well in some spots. If you are convinced that you don’t make any mistakes, something is wrong. In poker, there is always an alternative, there is no perfect recipe.
My favorite form of learning is session review. It allows to take a comprehensive look at someone’s game and to find crucial mistakes, which sometimes appear in small spots.
Do you collaborate with any Smart Backing players?
I work mainly with Gilu Gilu, and I think that this cooperation will be continued. He used to play midstakes, recently he plays also on alternative poker rooms, he helps me a lot for sure.
Do you play live?
I don’t play live too often, last week I took part in a small tournament in Warsaw though, just because of pure curiosity and I enjoyed it.
I saw on your Facebook fanpage that you write a lot about mindset. What is the importance of a mental side in poker for you?
On alternative poker rooms, the mindset is crucial. I collaborated with whys0serious, I think it is essential to watch his movies. Mindset is really a significant component of success, especially given that huge swings.
What’s more, if you want to be successful in poker, a passion is very important. If you think only about money, a success comes very rarely. I think a poker player needs to live this game every day. On one day, you love poker, on another, you hate it, and you have to deal with it somehow. Poker costs a lot of sacrifices.
What are your interests outside of poker?
I trained boxing for 2 years, now I moved to a gym. I am interested in rap, I don’t follow the “new school” though, I like polish rapers like Zeus, Ten Typ Mes, and Kękę. Obviously, I like also listening to GrandePE (PanDużePe), from whom I stole a nickname, but he is not recording new songs anymore.
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