Grinding in poker terms is playing cash games or tournaments for an income. Grinding is the opposite of playing poker online once or twice a week for fun. Grinders take the game seriously, select games where they have an advantage, and play for longer hours than most players. Grinders often play poker for a living.

However, even long hours don’t matter if players have holes in their strategy or have chosen the wrong poker site. Our article will show you a few ways that grinders can improve their win rates and become more profitable.

Grinders can be playing live or online poker

If you aren’t using a Heads-Up Display at the poker table, you are playing at a disadvantage. Almost every winning player in eligible poker rooms is using a HUD to get real-time information about their opponents.

How often does this opponent raise, continuation bet, and play hands? Are they a loose player or tight and aggressive? You can get answers to these questions (and tons of others) by using a HUD (heads-up display).

Catch leaks with H2N’s advanced session reports

The tracker programs work by recording and storing everything you see at the table. It’s like giving yourself photographic memory, which you can later recall and use for your decisions.

One of the leading HUDs on the market is Hand2Note. You’ll instantly be able to start building your player database, displaying statistics, and even finding leaks in your own game with analysis features. You can also search through your hand history and filter specific scenarios, like small vs big blind or button vs big blind spots.

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Rake is the commission poker sites take from almost every poker hand you play. Sometimes the rake is reasonable, but sometimes, it’s structured for recreational players who don’t focus much on these important details.

Rake on some poker sites is too high for grinders and it will eat away at valuable profits. It’s not always obvious exactly how much rake you’re paying either.

We’ve written guides on this in the past, but one site with an attractive rake and rakeback structure is partypoker.

Flopping a straight on partypoker

When you calculate rake, you must factor in rakeback. Grinders use rakeback to offset the rake they pay and it’s often called “cashback”, just like you might see on a credit card statement.

Partypoker’s rake is about 5% for most cash games, but it drops to 2.5% for higher stake games. 5% is very standard in the online poker world, but partypoker has a rakeback system that can drop that percentage a lot.

Players can get 20-40% of their rake in cashback, paid directly into your partypoker account each week. With other kinds of rewards, you can boost your rakeback, meaning it’s possible to hit 60%.

Partypoker is a great option for players who want a quality site they can trust. The site has gone to lengths to protect players by banning HUD software and allowing players to maintain anonymity at the tables. This shouldn’t put off grinders however, as Partypoker’s tournament value and unmatched rakeback offers of up to 60% are not to be missed by any serious online player.

Grinders need poker sites that have a good rake and rakeback system, but loyalty programs are important too. A poker site with a decent loyalty system will give passive rewards to grinders that are spending more time at the tables.

At 888poker, the longer you play poker, the bigger the rewards get. There’s something called the 888Club on this site, which will distribute tournament tickets, free spins, random prizes, and huge freerolls for grinders. The largest 888Club tournament is a monthly $10,000 event, but it’s reserved for grinders with high 888Club levels.

888poker lobby and table

Some sites support grinders in other ways, like providing a constant stream of casual opponents to fill the tables.

In general, most recreational players hang around the lower stakes, but there’s still plenty of profit to be made there. If you are using a HUD, which is a tool allowed by most poker sites, you’ll be able to identify weaker opponents at your table.

All poker sites have pockets of low-skill players around these stakes, the only difference is the total traffic. It makes sense for grinders to play on the largest sites, meaning more recreational players at tables.

888poker, America’s Cardroom, and PokerStars are some of the largest majority-recreational player bases in the world.

Player Rating
Players online
Deposit bonus
100% up to $1,000
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
Weak opponents
Lots of freerolls
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
$88 no-deposit bonus
Player Rating
Players online
Deposit bonus
100% up to $2,000
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
Playing with amateurs from USA
Regular rake races
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
Help with withdrawals and deposits
Bonuses for active players
Player Rating
Players online
Deposit bonus
100% up to $600
Mob. client
Auxiliary software
PLO8, Stud, Razz, and other rare games
Convenient software
Big guarantees in tournaments
Bonuses from the GipsyTeam
$30 upfront or up to $600 on your first deposit

Grinders are just players who made a conscious decision to educate themselves about poker.

When we first start playing, poker seems like a game of simple choices. Call or fold, win or lose. Once we gain experience, it’s vital to think in terms of hand ranges and long-term strategy.

Instead of trying to learn about everything all at once, you should start with GTO poker strategy, then build from there.

One of the best ways to train, but also study your own weaknesses, is by using a GTO trainer.

GTO Wizard’s solver

These programs are based on GTO strategy, which you need to know to compete with experienced players. It won’t show you how to win overnight, but you’ll begin to play more like a winning player.

Check out a program like GTO Wizard to start learning the basics. Once you’ve become more familiar, the program will still be able to test you and expand your knowledge.

GTO Wizard Poker Solver Tool and Trainer Review