Jeff Gross was the most recent guest on the “Heads Up with Remko” podcast and he revealed quite a bit about himself, the game and being Michael Phelps’ roommate. A few excerpts from Gross are provided below, as well as an overall outline of their long conversation.
Gross on home games and relationships from poker:
“Home games are different for sure – it’s a different dynamic and feel than playing in a casino. Yeah, I think they’re great. I really do enjoy playing home games, I’ve made some relationships and met I’ve met interesting people over the years through poker in general. I met Lauren (Roberts), (Michael) Phelps – who I lived with for a number of years, I met him at a poker table in Canada when I was 19. I can go back and see so many of my close relationships that are directly from poker or friend of a friend from poker. So that to me is the most fun and why I like these games.”
Gross on high-stakes poker:
“The biggest game I’ve ever played was $1K/$2K No Limit and that was – this wasn’t just like a Thursday– this was a one-off thing. I’ve played $400/$800, $300/$600 several times but I generally play $200/$400 or $100/$200 as a typical game. Yeah, it’s interesting to see friends and people playing for six-figure pots every other hand. Sometimes it gets intense if someone gets a little sidetracked – no matter how much money they have. It is interesting to see it but you really don’t see it, even now there’s not currently any high stakes stuff being broadcast. You’re seeing a ton of it and any time you hear about it, it’s interesting.”
Gross on strategy and progress in poker:
“Brian Rast – one of my best friends in poker – I’ve worked with a lot and talked to a lot of guys. I think that’s one of best ways to get better at poker is with your circle. You see guys that have circles – the Germans Fedor, Kempe, they share and talk – they are some secrets, don’t get it twisted. Even six months to a year ago I’ve picked up some stuff that they’re doing differently. You’ll see Seiver and some of these guys with their sizing and it’s like wow.”
“I remember watching Seiver in a hand three years ago against Bill Perkins in the $100K and I talked to him about it. I saw the write up and thought, ‘Wow, what is he doing?’ But now I look at it and think, ‘Of course you defend there,’ that spot is exactly standard. It just shows the game is changing and progresses and what you think you know, you may not know. It’s very important to check your ego at the door.”
“And realize that you need to get be getting better, there’s things you can do to get better. I’ve made improvements but there’s hands I have all the time, whether it’s a call spot, whether to raise-shove, where I kind of know the answers but I don’t know-know. There’s ways to improve, do the work, talk to people. Do the homework, because these guys are doing the work, that I can tell you. Fedor just didn’t study a couple charts and know push/fold – no. He knows situations, board textures and has a plan for every street. Just like these other guys. They’re doing the work, they know what to do, they’re practicing. There’s stuff they’re doing, There are tricks because they know what to do in every spot.”
Gross on the future of poker:
“I personally feel poker’s never been in a better spot in terms for the immediate future…things kind of imploded. But now with tournament sizes, party(poker) is resurging, PokerStars got stuff straightened out and back on track, I think Twitch will literally save poker, I firmly believe that with the synergy of YouTube, that’s the way poker will grow. We need to get new people interested again, whether they play for fun or for a living, we need some of everything.”
Gross on what peaked his interest in poker:
“I love games – I was really into video games, board games, card games – hide-and-seek, whatever. I wanted to be the best. When I heard about poker I was at the right age of being interested in money. I was at the right place, right time. I loved games and It was natural for me to play online and with friends. Before reading a book or knowing what the button is, I know there was skill to this game. There were right decisions, money to be put in the pot and a right play to do. It was pretty clear to me what was not right to do. At that time, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Gross on Michael Phelps:
“We hit it off and the second I graduated, he drove down to South Carolina and I moved in with him in Baltimore. Soccer was over for me – he had just crushed the Beijing Olympics and it was his downtime. We got to travel and have fun. For me, I didn’t have to answer to anyone. It was 2009, I was playing online poker, hanging out, having a good time living with my best friend.”
The entire “Heads Up with Remko: Jeff Gross” podcast can be found below.