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There are many reasons people choose to play poker for a living. For online pros Sentin7 and CaptnKrnch, being able to duck out of work on a sunny Wednesday afternoon to hit the pitch and putt course is definitely one of them. In the first episode of Rise and Grind, we get an inside look at the life of two online poker grinders. Both Sentin and the Captn live in Vancouver, Canada, and they're both involved in a new poker strategy website called Spinandgostrategy.com. The site focuses on the new Sit and Go format on PokerStars called Spin and Gos and it features one-on-one poker coaching plus a growing library of video lessons to help you become a better poker player. Yaniv “Sentin” Ronen has a degree in education which helps him give his students the benefit of his vast poker experience. Both Sentin and CaptnKrnch agree that Spin and Gos present a special opportunity for both recreational players and professionals. For those not familiar, a Spin and Gos are three-person SNGs where the prize pool for each tournament is randomly decided by a slot-machine type spinning wheel. Every Spin and Go begins with the spinner choosing a multiplier that could be up to 3,000 times your buy-in. There's also a special promotion where you can win $1,000,000 playing a $5 Spin and Go on PokerStars. Watch the video to learn how Sentin and CaptnKrnch got into poker, what it's like being an online pro and why they think Spin and Gos are the most exciting new thing in online poker.
Yaniv: Hey what's up buddy?
Pat: Hey how's it going?
Yaniv: Great. Play some golf?
Pat: Yeah, let's do this.
Yaniv: We're living here in Vancouver, you started playing poker, there's a lot of heads up, sit and go poker players who live here. Did that help your game in any way? Did you interact with them? Did you learn from them? How did that all go down?
Pat: I think I was very, very fortunate where I made friends organically with good people and they just so happened to be very top tier poker players. There's always a learning process for everyone involved, but if you work hard enough you can be here on a Wednesday playing golf. Did you ever have a breakthrough moment that really stuck out to you?
Yaniv: Yeah, I think it might have been my first world series event. At the time I thought I was pretty decent player, I had a pretty decent success online. I came here thinking I was all hot stuff and whatever, and I had this professional online player, Big Dog Pocket Fives, and he was sitting to my direct left and he just never folded. He would just let every pot that somebody raised, he would call and wait for them to just kind of lose their gumption and just give up on a hand. And every time someone raised him you just call and wait, and if you weren't going to fire that third bullet, if you weren't going to put him all in, then he was gonna do it to you. And I sat there for about an hour before the break and he just won maybe like 90 percent of the hands. Everybody says poker is not about the cards, but it took me an experience like that to really understand what it meant. All right so are you ready for our first profit of the day?
Yaniv: Okay, so we're going to try to baseball it, throw it up and see if you can whack it, opposes through the whole winds.
Pat: Oh snap.
Yaniv: Someone just died.
Pat: Yeah, I was gonna to say, but well done. I once played the baseball video game. I think I know what I'm doing.
Yaniv: I think I win.
Pat: I can play my ball. I can play my ball.
Yaniv: In your opinion, what do you think is kind of the most important think if you're an aspiring poker player?
Pat: I actually think there's one that is overlooked but is a clear, clear number one and that's bankroll management. You can be the best poker player in the world, but if you don't follow proper bankroll management, to me you are not a professional.
Yaniv: What does bankroll management mean for like someone who doesn't even understand that term?
Pat: I think that bankroll management more or less means that you have enough buy-ins for the stakes you're playing. So, if you're playing a dollar game in, let's say, heads up, you need $100 or roughly a hundred buy-ins to be able to, not only play properly, but handle the stress and the variants that is involved in any level of poker.
Yaniv: People think that once you're pro, you can just win 90 percent of the time but it's not the reality of it, of course.
Pat: You're completely right. We all have losing days, and that's just part of it. You don't win everyday and that's just another great example of why the bankroll management is so important and just to keep us sane at the end of the day.
Yaniv: Yeah, prop it. So rather than using our clubs for this hole, it's a really deep hole, think it's 95 yards here behind you. So we're just gonna try and throw it on to the green and then put from there.
Pat: Sounds good to me.
Yaniv: Okay, here we go. Oh that wasn't very deep and it hurt my shoulder.
Pat: It's gonna be easier than I thought. Let's throw off the green. Come on baby, beat that throw.
Yaniv: Oh yeah, it's way deeper. I think I threw out my shoulder. Pretty sure. So you're playing heads up now, you've been playing heads up for the last couple of years, are you sticking to heads up?
Pat: As much as I love playing heads up sit and gos as a professional, I have to follow where there's the most potential to make money. And I think that there are new formats coming out right now that are not only great for me but great for any recreational player. And one of them that really sticks out right now are spin and gos and I think the reason they stick out is because not only can I make a lot of money from them, but anyone can.
Yaniv: So for anybody who doesn't know spin and gos, they're games where there's three players and you start with 500 chips and it goes really quickly. And at the beginning of each tournament there's kind of like a slot machine wheel that spins around, they have a million dollar first prize. So I think there's already been like four or five players, just like completely random non-professional players who have banked $5 tournament for a million bucks.
Pat: Yeah, I think the biggest appeal of them is the fact that I can take a lunch break, sit down and play a $5 and it can change my life in four minutes.
Yaniv: So where do you see yourself going from here as far as poker is concerned? What do you see for the future?
Pat: I will be playing poker for a long time and if it's not professionally, I'll still do it for fun. I truly think that poker has completely changed my life. Due to poker and being smart with money, I think that I can retire at half the age that other people can, and that's really the big, big picture that a lot of people should get. It gives you that freedom and the fact that a lot of people work hard now so they can enjoy life later. With poker, you can work hard now but you can also actually enjoy life. And you make that decision to sit down at the tables or go spend the day with your family on a beautiful day.
Yaniv: Or go play golf on a Wednesday afternoon.
Pat: And that's what it's all about.