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The Scoop -- Steve Gross

by The Scoop |  Published: May 28, 2010

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Steve “Gboro780” Gross won the 2009 Card Player Online Player of the Year (OPOY) award, but this online tournament superstar is far from being a one-year wonder. He finished runner-up in the OPOY race in 2008, and remains at the top of the leader board thus far in 2010. Even with almost $3 million in lifetime tournament winnings, this young superstar is just getting started.

Steve GrossDiego Cordovez: I don’t play a lot of live tournaments; in fact, I’ve played the World Series only the past couple of years, but at the Series, I see guys who aren’t necessarily as accomplished as you, but who are pretty good Internet players, trying to make some moves that aren’t going to work. It’s not just a different arena, but a whole different demographic. The third or fourth bet in a live tournament doesn’t mean what it means online, and you know that, but these guys very stubbornly try to make certain plays.

Steve Gross: For sure. It is such a different game. Your ranges have to change. Things you are used to doing online have to be changed up, because people aren’t shoving as light in these live tournaments.

DC: But you can also bluff in a way that you can’t online, because people are a lot more protective of their chips.

SG: That is what I’m starting to learn. I think that during the first few years of my live-tournament career — granted, it was just 10 or 15 tournaments a year — I was playing too actively. I was playing in an “online way.” But live poker is so different. I am just trying to learn patience. It’s tough in live poker to just sit there, be patient, and not go nuts. That’s the skill element, I think.

DC: I have always said that online poker, in a sense, is the best thing ever to happen in regard to real tilters. Guys lose their patience when they go an hour and have gotten 30 hands; they don’t get a big hand, and feel compelled to play. Online, they have enough tables that even if they lose their patience, all they have to do is wait 30 seconds and there is going to be a decent hand to play or a decent spot to play. However, live, they end up manufacturing a situation, because they can’t wait.

SG: In online tournaments, these guys can have 12 tables going, 12 shots, whereby they can screw up or blow up in 10 of them and still have one or two chances. Live, it’s one and done.

DC: I read an interview with you in which you were very humble about your transition to cash games. Naturally, people understand now that the absolute best players are playing the big-stakes cash games. With all of your success, how important is it for you to succeed in cash games? You seem very systematic about how you approach things, so how are you approaching your cash-game efforts?

SG: I want to do well in cash games, but it’s not for anybody but me. I don’t care about being known as a cash player or being known for doing both.

DC: You have made a lot of money playing tournaments consistently.

SG: Right; that is what I know and what I do well. Since I’ve joined the “Brunson 10” at DoylesRoom, for example, they have given me an opportunity to be on this new FOX televised cash-game show. There’s a $100,000 minimum buy-in, and one freerolling player who could qualify and keep anything he makes, and if he loses the $100,000, it’s fine.

DC: For you, who have concentrated mostly on tournaments, to go directly to $100,000 buy-ins …

SG: That’s what I’m saying. It’s a cool opportunity, but that’s not me. I’m not a $200-$400 player.

DC: Have you been playing online or live, or both?

SG: I thought about sitting in a game that runs on PokerStars, a $25-$50 no-limit game. But even then, I’d feel more comfortable if I just came up the ranks like I did in tournaments, and learned from the bottom and got better and built some confidence, instead of just jumping in as the fish. I think I could hold my own, but I’m not a great cash-game player yet. Spade Suit