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Poker grinder

2023 Apr 18 7 min read
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Playing poker is about skill as it is creating your own luck. But what are poker grinders? We explain how a poker grinder can profit in cash games.


A poker grinder is a rare and wonderful breed of player. At its simplest, a poker grinder means a player who prefers to enjoy a low-risk game. In doing so, they will achieve small, but frequent wins at the table.

Grinders are known for having a fantastic work ethic, and they may be able to read the pattern of a game much better than their opponents.

It ultimately takes a certain kind of player, who will adopt a low edge kind of approach, which may sound like the antithesis of fun.

That said, a true grinder will be dedicated to his graft, and he or she will use simple tactics to get the most from any given poker game.


A poker player that is a grinder has some distinct characteristics, especially the pro players that make a living from the game.

We have run through some of the main traits that you can expect from grinders.


The grinder is typically a player that has an incredible amount of mental fortitude. Their high concentration levels mean they can make the most of their chances when they get decent hands, and they will be able to use the time available to them to eliminate the possibility of making an easy mistake.

As with anything, the more tired you are when you play poker, the more likely you will get caught out.


A grinder poker player will have an immense work rate, and they will be able to sustain things even when it looks like their confidence is draining.

Things can change quickly in poker, but those with experience at the table know what it takes to turn things around to achieve their ultimate goal.


While the grinder in poker might have negative connotations attached for those who play, there are plenty of advantages.

Of course, managing your money is essential, but let’s take a closer look at how grinders can benefit.


If you are a true grinder, then you will know all the nooks and crannies of playing poker.

As such, they will appreciate the importance of volume at a poker table, and imposing limits on a session, so they can increase their chances of success.

Michael Mizrachi is a classic case of this. Professional poker player Mizrachi earned himself the moniker of “The Grinder”, as he was able to adopt a persistence in a game which meant he could sustain things in long games.

Mizrachi grew up playing chess tournaments when he was a child, which helped develop his rigorous and forensic strategic mind.

The longest he has played is 75 hours on a $6 or $12 Limit Hold’Em Games, and he is the perfect example of the steadiness and patience when dealt a hand to bolster your chances of successful games. He has gone on to make an impact in World Series poker events, winning multiple titles.


With grinder poker, this involves playing with lower edges at a poker table, and as such, the level of risk involved is quite small.

As such, those players that aren’t overly aggressive or can manage their money better, will be able to enjoy themselves and gain better hands more regularly.


Inevitably, the more bets that people make at a table, the higher their chances are of winning. Therefore, choose tables with lower buy-ins and blinds to reach your goal more quickly.

Grinders will therefore move around the table, participating in every hand they can to secure small pots, which could lead to a bigger win down the line. It is multi-tabling that will help a player accumulate more money.


That said, the grinder in poker isn’t as glamorous as you may think, and there are a few drawbacks associated with this method.


Unlike some poker games which carry high stakes, the same can’t be said of those grinders at the poker table.

As such, instead of generating big winnings, people who are grinders will have to settle for small wins before generating more money down the line. That is the life of a grinder.


Those players who are good grinders won’t just have incredible powers of concentration, but they will usually exert confidence at the opportune moment.

Some grinders, however, may not always treat poker in the manner they should do, and so can be verge on over-confidence. This is something that any poker player should avoid doing at all costs.


Regardless of what your goal is as a poker player, there are a few simple tactics and strategy pointers that you can adopt to transform yourself into a true grinder during stakes games, and we have outlined these below.


Information is power as the saying goes. And when you play poker, this should be at the forefront of your mind.

A grinder will be adept at assessing the strength of hands without quickly betting large sums.

If you can bluff your opponents over whether you have a full house or a straight, then you will find yourself on the right track to success.

Also, reading poker books or articles on poker can give you the confidence to be a better grinder over time.


Fishes are a term used to describe the weakest players at the table. While it might seem like a derisory term, if you are a true grinder, then you can work this in your favor.

With the knowledge you have accrued, you will be better placed to see what hand they may hold, and eliminate them as you will be more adept as time passes at reading the game.


Forums are always a great place for players to engage in discussions. The exchange of ideas is a great way for a player to understand the importance of grinding as a strategy, and unlike some activities, off the table poker work can pay dividends.


The grinder in poker can come in many forms and guides in poker, and they should generate a lot of respect.

With that in mind, let’s assess some of the most popular types of grinders.


These grinders know how to grind out cash games, and they play intensively to win money.

They can be split into the following camps:


As you might expect, live grinders will need an incredible amount of mental discipline when they play poker.

Live grinders will typically spend more time at a casino than its employees, and they will find it easy to while away a few hours refining and honing their technique.

They will usually work with a very low VPIP (Voluntary Put Money in Pot), and they will be adept at avoiding marginal spots against other professional players.

As such, this type of grinder will be able to eliminate risk, and play a strong range against other players with dexterity and patience to win more money from the tables.


Unlike their live grinder counterparts, the online grinder is purely about ensuring a player plays with the hands that are available to them.

Their goal or intention is to treat poker as a means to an end and garner a higher rate of wins.

As such, they will be the type of grinder in poker who will embrace the idea of “piling it high and selling it cheap”, and they will play with huge volumes of cash. Nothing will faze them in any given game, and they will make things work in their favor.


At this point, you may be wondering whether a grinder can make a living. A grinder will be a disciple of the game.

If you want to do everything in your power to make it as a grinder in the game, you will need to treat poker as a job. Your life will therefore revolve around putting your focus into the grind, and tweaking your strategy to master the game. Of course, you will want to improve your knowledge and skills, and you will need to display patience if your goal is to make money.

Poker can be an excellent way to spend your time if your goal is to make money, and you can supplement your income. Some people can earn decent sums if they spend typically 50 to 80 hours a month playing poker as a grinder. However, don’t forget that there is a distinct difference between playing poker to make ends meet, and those who use their time to solely make money from poker.

You will find that you can experience huge upturns and downturns from poker, and if you can take the rough with the smooth, then you can make it a worthwhile job. As such, the salaries of most grinders will be dictated by their volume rather than their decision making.


Grinding isn’t always the most profitable within any given game. Ultimately, the grinder would prefer to play the tables with fluency and efficiency, but that can’t always be the case.

Win rates can be impacted in stakes games by dead volume, and in order to get around this, players need to find a way to increase volume, and get things finished as quickly as possible.


Everyone has different objectives for the game. If you are looking to just play and have fun, then you might not be so excited by what the grind has to offer.

Those players that will benefit most from the grind will be those that like to have a set routine in place and will be very regimented. They will be students of the game, and they will read widely to reach their objectives. Moreover, they will have a clear route map of how they want to win. Every ounce of energy will be spent meticulously planning how they intend to win, and they will grind at all costs to do so.

The grind isn’t for the faint hearted, but those who are prudent when at the tables will be the ones best suited to grinding.

If you have the patience and know your limits, then we would recommend the grind for those who play poker regularly.


Instead of traditional grinding, you may like the freedom that is provided by SNGs (Sit and Gos). Usually, those players will have a set amount of SNGs, and they will be finished much quicker as they will play with shortened hands.

You can open some SNGs and set your own limits, so that you don’t spend an excessive amount of time in the long term trying to chase an elusive win.


While the grind can be a job for those who play to make a lot of money, for some mortals, it is not a long term prospect.

In order to get the most out of the grind, you need to be prepared to make sacrifices and be fully dedicated to the game. This will apply to a particular type of person, and if you have a lot of time on your hands, then the grind will be worth it. If your intention is making a living, then you should take a deep dive into the grind.

Of course, each player plays and approaches poker differently. Ultimately, if your intention is to turn poker into a job or to have it as a hobby, you should ensure you are passionate about what you do.