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That's What She Said: Grinders Are People Too

That's What She Said: Grinders Are People Too 0001
  • Kim Yuhl thinks it's time for poker to celebrate the players grinding it out, day in and day out.

  • Should there be a Mid-Major Circuit Player of the Year award at the American Poker Awards?

If you read my op-ed last week, you might think I have a beef with poker. I don't.

I love poker. Up until recently, poker was my escape from the real world.

Whether I was playing or writing, I loved to be able to sneak away and enter a world very different than the one I lived in.

These days, writing about poker is where I spend a lot of my time. While I love to play, writing is my passion — my therapy. Sort of sick, I know, but it is what it is.

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the nicest and hardest working men in the game, Mike Leah. And while he might argue that he's not a true grinder, I beg to differ.

And that got me thinking about grinders.

Grinders Are the Backbone of the Game

Grinders play in card rooms all around the country, day in and day out to make a living playing the game they love.

Grinders are the backbone of the game and it's hard to imagine a viable poker economy without them.

They usually operate under the radar and are often out of the reach of the spotlight.

Grinders are the backbone of the game and it's hard to imagine a viable poker economy without them.

Grinders are doing the hard work, showing up day after day, putting in the hours both at the table and away from the table studying the game.

And while celebrated within their tribe, they are often invisible to the masses until they make a big score.

American Poker Awards Recognizes Grinders — Sort Of

The nominees for the 4th Annual American Poker Awards were just announced. As expected, the list is made up of names you probably recognize.

The major tournaments and the big names are obvious recipients of these type of awards. It's the names and the tournaments that are credited with growing the game.

But I would argue that it's the grinders that have an even bigger impact on growing the game.

To GPI's credit, there is a Mid-Major Circuit award. The nominees are:

  • Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT)
  • RUNGOOD Poker Series
  • WPTDeepStacks (WPTDS)
  • World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC)

It's nice to see some of the lower stakes tournament series being recognized, the series where the grinders spend their time.

What About the Grinders?

Arguably, one the most famous grinders right now is current WSOP Main Event champion, Scott Blumstein. He may not be a grinder anymore, but he considered himself an East Coast grinder when I spoke to him prior to the final table of the Main Event last summer.

My question is, would it be too much to ask for a category for the Mid-Major Circuit Player of the Year? Can we celebrate the people and the tours?

Doing so can help showcase the likes of Chris Meyers, the MSPT player of the year, or Vincent Moscati, who resides at the top of the WSOP Circuit leaderboard.

Names that might not immediately come to mind, but names we should be watching.

I can see myself in the grinder — it's closer to who I am.

I love following the big names as much as anybody else. It's always nice to daydream my day away thinking about the big score that I'm sure will come one day. But let's be real, for people like me, a recreational player at best, it's a dream.

But it's the stories of the grinders that are rooted in my reality. I can see myself in the grinder — it's closer to who I am.

And when you think about it, most of the big names were grinders once, too.

That's What She Said: Grinders Are People Too 101

The LFG Podcast

After interviewing Chad Holloway and Jamie Kerstetter about their new podcast, The LFG Podcast, last week, I was heartened to see grinders getting a platform to share their stories.

It wasn't until today that I realized the significance of the podcast. I am proud to work for a company that is committed to showcasing the complete poker landscape, not just the one with all the bells and whistles.

That's What She Said: Grinders Are People Too 102

Inaugural Grinders Cup

And then as if the poker Gods were listening, I saw an announcement for the Inaugural Grinders Cup March 5th, 2018.

It's a four-day rake-free cash-game event featuring low-limit grinders who'll compete for a portion of the expected $4,000 prize pool. Prizes will be awarded for consistency, most cash won and the Nit Prize for the person who buys in for the fewest dollars during the eight heats.

I love the idea of this event so much. It's accessible, unique and gives the stage to a new type of player. Players we all know and pass by in the card room. Players that are working hard day in and day out to bring home a paycheck.

There's no mention of a live stream, but I can hope, right?

So get ready to grind it out. There may be a trophy in your future. And that's what she said.

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