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Vinny the GrinderBy The Grinder

In an all-in situation, many poker players believe that behaving in a certain manner can change or determine the result of a hand. We have all experienced many such players use the word ‘jinx’ in similar coin-flip situations, haven’t we? Ace tournament player Kenny Tran exhibited an interesting level of confidence at one of the World Series of Poker Main Events. He was at a table where a gentleman ran good for a long time, showing nuts after nuts at showdown. At every showdown he would sit still and act his coolest, and the results favored him. Then, after the turn card during one showdown where he was a strong favorite to win, he reacted by getting off his chair, and clapping his hands. Tran immediately warned him that he had jinxed his own luck, and he was going to be sucked out, and that’s exactly what happened.

I don’t, but a lot of poker players believe in not jinxing their luck, by doing the same thing they’re doing or wearing the same clothes during their “run good” period or “running hot” phase in a tourney.Card protectors from the Texas Poker Store

We’ve seen it all, haven’t we? Boisterous sharks with the entire food chain of card protectors; an even noisier clique yelling “Aussie, Aussie”; and the entire troop of the vivid victorious and the livid vanquished. For them, it’s all good and it all works. To me, self-belief is a more plausible explanation than jinx. The people who yell, demonstrate and call out cards to the aural dismay of others, actually believe strongly that they can attract good luck by doing so, and so it occurs. So, whether you hula hoop, sing an opera, jump and yell in ecstasy, or punch your teeth in during coin-flip showdowns, you better believe that it will work, and it will. Fortune favors the brave. Squeaky wheels do get the grease in poker.

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Vinny the GrinderBy The Grinder

I remember my English teacher telling us how to get over our writer’s block by simply penning down three best words that describe the subject matter. A three-word-phrase—like Red-White-Blue describing USA, or Ass-Ass-Ass describing Megan Fox.

What about starting out in Poker? Id’ say Know-Talk-Do. Gambling for a living is a hard way to make easy money. If you’re planning on making a few extra bucks on the side, and playing more than just your friendly drunk game, then Know-Talk-Do.

Try to know all you can. Read a lot of poker books, but make sure they’re current. My picks to start out are “Let There Be Range” by Tri Nguyen and Cole South, “Poker Math That Matters” by Owen Gaines, “Caro’s Book Of Poker Tells” by Mike Caro, and “Raiser’s Edge” by Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier.

Talk isn’t just about talking to people who know more than you do. You’d certainly do that, but you also need to stay current and in tune with new and emerging poker terms to be able to talk the talk and network with players on and off sessions or tournaments, to get them to divulge as much information as possible.

Finally, you do all it takes to implement what you know, and what you’ve been talking about. As David Slanksky, a prolific author on gambling and a poker genius says, “If there’s something I know about the game that the other person doesn’t, and if he’s not willing to learn or can’t understand, then I take his money”.

Good luck!

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Vinny the GrinderBy: The Grinder

Here’s how poker players can change their sedentary lifestyles, get in shape, feel healthy, and yet spend hours at the poker tables.

Starving is a crime. You have to eat a lot to lose and eat a lot to gain. The key is to eat right. How much? Say, you weigh x pounds. You need to eat 12x calories of the right stuff in four to six meal portions daily, and exercise for at least half-an-hour to an hour daily. At least! Remember! You’d rather hear this from someone like me, who’s trying to do it once every few months and failing at it, than an Olympian who is willing to show off his bowling-ball-shaped muscles. All of us will fail in the first few attempts, but eventually your body will get the hang of it and begin loving it.

Increase your protein intake to at least 30% of your diet. Cut carbs but eat your craving once every fortnight. No unreal goals. Your meals should consist of  whole grains, oatmeal, nuts, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, skim milk, hard-boiled egg whites, steamed chicken, fresh sea food. If you’re a poker player and you’re at the tables all the time, pack lunches with a combination of the above items. Carry your meals with you. Start eating early, preferably before 7 a.m. I don’t, and I have to try to. If you start early, you’ll be able to shove in your required amount of calories. As for exercise, let Herculeans pump their iron, but as for us, a good weight, endurance and resistance training program along with a decent run is a good daily routine. There are tons of workout schedules available online. Follow one and stick to it. Finally, drink at least six to seven 500 ml bottles of water in small amounts. I won’t tell you to sleep on time, as that is impossible. But, if you follow more than half of this, you’ll be in very good shape in a few months. I am trying to. This time I hope I stick to it.

The Casino X2 Poker Table from The Texas Poker StoreFinally, remember that you can get in shape no matter what you look like and it will certainly help you perform better at the poker table. Annette Obrestad did it. The magician Antonio Esfandiari has been doing it for years. So can you. Just stick to it.

Vinny the GrinderBy: The Grinder

At some point, movie lovers who also play poker have dreamt of going back in time with a sports almanac and sports-betting their way to becoming billionaires, like Biff Tannen does in the movie “Back To The Future.”

To some of us, it seems like that would be the only way to mint that kind of dough. To others, like Mike McDonald and Erik Boneta, time travel seems unnecessary to roll in the benjies. Their poker aliases also suggest that time is, and has always been, on their side. Mike Mcdonald amassed over half-a-million dollars grinding online with the nickname ‘Timex”, while Erik “Rolex” Boneta clicked heels with legendary players on GSN’s High Stakes Poker.

With his online bankroll, Timex has done everything right. In 2008, at the age of eighteen, he won $1.3 Million in an EPT event, and hasn’t looked back since, making $10 million playing live, with several big tournament cashes and wins.

While Rolex, on the other hand, has an infamous reference to his alias, as he was charged by the police for smuggling over 200 gray-market Rolex watches. You wouldn’t say Rolex’s poker game is worthy of praise, after watching him go nuts against Johnny Chan’s Aces here, but he sure must have done something right to be able to play those stakes. When it comes to watches, not a single soul would prefer a Timex to a Rolex.

However, if you had to bet all your poker chips, or as my friend Kenny would say, if you had to ‘bet all your cows and buffaloes‘ on one of these players, it would have to be Timex!

Erik 'Rolex' Boneta

Erik ‘Rolex’ Boneta

Mike "Timex" McDonald

Mike “Timex” McDonald


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