Grosvenor Poker sponsored pro Andy Hills talks through how he became a sponsored pro, how you could follow in his footsteps, and shares his 7 reasons why GCOOP V is a must-play.
I confess it’s hard to take myself seriously when I refer to poker as ‘work’, even after grinding full-time for eleven years. Nevertheless, a budding pro ought to treat it very much like a small business.
For poker to be sustainable as a profession, aside from the obvious need to equip yourself with the skills to win, the most important thing is to stay in the game. In practical terms, this means dynamically adjusting your maximum buy-in level to mitigate ‘risk of ruin’; in other words, don’t blow huge chunks of your bankroll on one big game.
I have been a multi-table tournament (MTT) specialist for my whole poker career. I started out grinding $10-$30 buy-ins online as I had a bankroll of just a few thousand; my average buy-in steadily increased over the years, until I was bankrolled to grind $100+ tourneys.
I did a win! 🇫🇷 Finished 1/491
— Andy Hills (@GrindFromBehind) 3 November 2019
The adage that poker is a ‘hard way to make an easy living’ is especially true of MTTs, because of the tremendous variance. Tournament results are streaky – you can brick everything for a while, then suddenly make back-to-back-to-back final tables. Long-term you still make your own luck by game-selecting carefully, and by putting in the raw volume.
Shot-taking has pros and cons. From a bankroll management perspective, it does not generally lead to optimal long-term bankroll growth. However:
- It is sometimes fun to take a shot;
- It could be a fresh challenge
- There is a chance of boosting your bankroll much faster than would otherwise be possible
- There is ‘life EV’ to consider, besides pure, cynical money-making.
Now if only there were a way of grinding normal tourneys, but simultaneously giving yourself a shot at some bigger games…
The GUKPT Passport
At the end of 2016 Grosvenor announced their first ‘Passport’ promo. My ears immediately pricked up. Over the next couple of months, I would grind selected daily MTTs on Grosvenor Poker online, and with success. Every final table was worth precious leader board points, and a hundred-odd tourneys later I found myself atop the leader board and was awarded the 2017 GUKPT Passport.
Poker at my local 🎢🗼
£1,110 buyin 🃏 20k stacks 🃏 £200k gte already exceeded pic.twitter.com/CcZSHOFYx2
— Andy Hills (@GrindFromBehind) 8 November 2019
The Passport consisted of entry into every GUKPT Main Event for one year, plus expenses, a package worth well over £10,000. I had sporadically played a few of the £1k Main Events before, cashing once, but this was a chance to freeroll nine events back-to-back and gain some solid experience.
2017 was a game-changer: the heater did not end with winning the Passport.
I took down Leg 2, GUKPT Manchester for £46,988, plus one of the coolest and most prestigious trophies in the business. This eclipsed my previous best scores, live or online, and marked a new chapter in my poker progress.
Needless to say my career has exploded since the GUKPT victory. Determined to make the most of the Passport, I consciously decided to focus on live poker, and the bankroll boost enabled me to do so. The momentum would continue: I cashed in a further 28 live tourneys in 2017, including three more GUKPT Main Events and a big runner-up finish in Cyprus. I haven’t looked back.
Since winning the Passport and transitioning to grinding chiefly live tourneys, I’ve become the most prolific ‘casher’ in the UK, finishing in-the-money in more MTTs than any other Brit, year on year. Over the last three years since winning the Passport I’ve cashed for over $750,000 in live tourneys around the globe, reaching final tables across 23 countries and winning 11 events. All made possible by winning the promotion at the end of 2016.
Cheeky FT before ✈🇬🇧 the GUKPT Grand Final & 🖥 #GCOOP online!
— Andy Hills (@GrindFromBehind) 23 November 2019
The GUKPT Passport promo has become an annual fixture, and mine is not an isolated success story. The 2018 Passport was won by Dave Gee, who went on to cash for a total of £36,280 from his GUKPT Main Event freeroll.
The latest package has been awarded to Richard Kellett, who topped the 2019 ‘National League’ leader board. Months of graft, grind and consistency in Grosvenor events across the country saw him rise to the top and win an £11k package and the title of Player of the Year.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Richard did it the hard way. The good news is there’s a much, MUCH easier way to get your hands on a 2020 GUKPT Passport! And you don’t even have to play much poker.
Every tournament is worth crucial leader board points, so play as many GCOOP events as you can. Ideally, don’t miss any of the tournaments (there are points just for entering), and there are satellites for some of the higher buy-ins. It’s absolutely possible to win the leader board without playing every tournament, but don’t miss the final day when there are additional events, and note that the Main Event is worth DOUBLE points.
Top the GCOOP leader board and you win the Passport. It’s that simple. There’s no catch – Grosvenor are literally giving away the £12,000 package.
💥 8 days of tourneys
💥 Added value + overlays likely
💥 **GCOOP Passport** worth £12k to the leader board winner
Check out Katie’s blog:https://t.co/1ehDTeTZeM
— Andy Hills (@GrindFromBehind) 22 November 2019
As any seasoned MTT grinder knows, the short-term variance of tourneys means that anything can happen, and the points boost in the £110 Main Event (Sun 8 Dec) makes it worth sticking it out even if you brick some early events.
Apart from the added value of the Passport, overlays are highly likely, with around half the events overlaying in the last incarnation of GCOOP!
7 Reasons GCOOP is a Must-play
As a poker pro I’m always looking for edges and added value, and so I’ve participated in quite a few leader boards over the years. Here’s my two cents on why the GCOOP leader board is especially good value.
- Sociable hours – most people will be able to fit it around their day job.
- Fun buy-in levels, with satellites available for the small number of larger buy-ins.
- Only eight days from start to finish, making the schedule more achievable for non-professionals.
- With 22 events, and the points boost in the Main Event, there’s a healthy balance between short-term variance versus skill/consistency. (Too many events, and the leader board will almost always be won by a pro.)
- It’s possible to play the entire GCOOP schedule without putting in huge shifts. In contrast, leader boards on many other poker sites have historically rewarded cheating (pros sharing accounts to achieve otherwise impossible volume of play).
- GCOOP is exclusive to Grosvenor Poker, and to players in the UK & Ireland. Many players on other sites on the Microgaming network won’t know about GCOOP, meaning less competition for the Passport, manageable field sizes, and likelihood of overlays.
- It has always been my belief that players have the best chances of winning on the smaller poker networks like Microgaming. There are fewer ‘regs’, and your variance will be lower due to tournament fields in the hundreds rather than thousands.
The Passport changed my life, and it could change yours. There is no easier way to give yourself a leg up in poker. See you at the tables!