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Demidov Reinventing Himself as Zoom Grinder, Office Manager
Five years ago Ivan Demidov cashed in for over $5.8 million at the 2008 WSOP. Today he's started up a new "poker office" in Moscow and trying to bulld a career as a Zoom Poker specialist on Pokerstars.
Demidov told PokerListings Russia reporter Artur Kurvits that after "seeing almost everything" in poker and becoming financially secure, staying motivated has been a challenge.
To fight this Demidov and a group of friends have formed a poker office to help improve their games, a trick he learned in his days as a pro video gamer.
Keep reading for the full interview from the floor at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo.
PokerListings.com: In the spring you posted on PokerStars blog that you would open a "poker office" in Moscow. Has this happened?
Ivan Demidov: Actually the situation with the office now is ok. The guys are already living there, playing, and I'm doing it with them.
PL: And who are they?
ID: It started with some of my old friends. Before my poker pro career I was a professional player in cybersports (computer games), and we had a very good team.
At that time we went to a club in the morning to play and practice. As a result, there was a cool atmosphere that allowed us not to lose interest in the game.
It was extra motivation for all of us due to the fact that we could constantly train and play together. In Russia we had the best team, and in the world we became very successful.
PL: And you think the same thing could work in poker?
ID: I think any poker player who has been playing for more than five years has had some trouble with staying motivated.
Now I have no money dependence on the game. It used to be simple before: win in poker - have money for food today, don't win – no money. Therefore, there's less motivation when playing for many years and seeing almost everything in poker.
So I decided that if we can revive that atmosphere, it will be good for poker and for me. And for my friends who can help in this way.
PL: How much time do you spend in the office now?
ID: When I’m in Moscow then a lot of time. Usually, from 1 pm till late … around 11 pm.
PL: Was this the only reason to create the office?
ID: Poker has become quite complicated. It is necessary to spend a lot of time to be a professional.
Meanwhile I need to find a way to spend a lot of time playing poker, but still have enough time for my family.
PL: What's the balance like?
ID: Ideally, I should spend more time with family, but then I won’t be successful in poker.
I need time not only for playing poker, but also for the analysis of hands and improving my skills. So it is good to observe the proportion in the side of poker 80 to 20, or 70 to 30.
However, I'll probably play less poker than necessary. At least for now my plan is to spend about 70% of my time playing poker.
PL: Another topic that you recently blogged about is your specialization in poker. Did you find it?
ID: I'm trying to play online Zoom cash. I like it, but I do not fully understand the level of earnings that I can receive from it in the future.
I played one and a half months, with breaks for EPT Berlin and here in Monte Carlo, so I didn’t play tons of hands yet.
PL: Why did you choose Zoom for this?
ID: The largest number of hands per hour, plus I don’t depend on the game, as it is in tournaments. In Zoom I can leave the table any time.
For me, it's the optimal way. It is also the best format for practice. But in terms of earnings I'm still not sure I made the right decision.
Of course, I had a big break in the online cash game and I understand that I will not win a lot at once. In tournaments it's much easier to win now, and just easier to get to that level of 'beating the tournaments' than in cash.
So I am now thinking on what to choose in the end. But in the meantime I'm going to try Zoom.
PL: Do you suggest it for beginners?
ID: I would recommend it, especially in terms of practice. But you have to understand that in Zoom you are not playing with the same people all the time, it's more a mathematical game.
This is for those who want to learn how to play poker in the mathematical style, the percentage of check-raises on the river, correct ranges in all streets and so on.
And if you want to improve your game mentally, learn how to read an opponent to guess his hand, it doesn't work in Zoom. You should play tournaments.
PL: This Grand Final started awfully for you (fast out on Day 1b). What are your plans now?
ID: I want to play more here, the €2,000 tournament tomorrow and maybe a satellite to the high roller. Then summertime and Vegas.
At the WSOP I want to play a lot of tournaments. Actually I started to play more seriously online cash one and a half months ago just to get in shape before Vegas.
A lot of hands is a big help. More hands played online make it easier to play live. You feel more confident and make less stupid moves. So I hope to come in in good shape to WSOP.
Although, when there are thousands of people playing I'll still need some luck.