Steven Murphy

published on 10/13/08 at 9:43 am

grundy.jpgIs it possible to build a better poker player? According to Steven “Grundy” Murphy, owner of, the answer is resounding “Yes!”. By working his way up the ladder, Steven has built on his poker playing experiences, and has shed this insight with his readership. The website employs an approach that most readers can follow and connect to, depending on their experience level. Articles can range from mass media, poker sessions, data and charts, or simply humorous postings. The key is, there is a lot of experience being dished out, and each reader must identify what works best for him or her.

What is the story behind your nickname? What made you start a blog? Was it a light bulb type moment?
It seemed like a natural progression to tie my love of poker and love of writing. I used to write fiction and may be getting back into it. The light bulb moment probably came from my friend David Sasseman starting to freelance write for various poker magazine’s like Bluff and Rounders. I wanted to join in the fun, but the Internet was more my medium.

What stakes are you playing at now? Are you finding it easier or tougher to make a profit than you did 6 months ago?
Currently, I like single-table tournaments. “Sit-n-goes,” although I dislike the name, with buy-ins between $10 and $50…usually $20. In that price range I almost always make it to the top four…and since the top three pay, I usually cash about 65% of the time. I know, my math should be 75%, but I’m factoring in my tilt factor. I’ve been pretty consistent for the last six months.

Do you only play No Limit Holdem? Any other variations?
Online, I stick to No Limit Hold’em. I can profit with limit, but I don’t have any fun doing it. Omaha is my kryptonite. I’m open to anything when playing with friends. I like games with a roll-out at the end…y’know, for suspense.

Do you mostly play online? Any live play? How many times a week for both?
I play mostly online, but I desperately want to get a regularly scheduled live game going. I have recently moved and haven’t had the chance to start and/or find one. Online play for me is about three days a week for varying hours of the day. It used to be daily, but I have a day job and a wife now.

When you scout out a live game, what are you specifically looking for?
Fish, but not just any fish. Honest fish is most important. I try to meet new players before actually dealing with them. I don’t play with cheaters (obviously) or hotheads. In a casino environment, I try to watch a couple goes around the table before sitting down to test aggression levels. I like playing with one bully, but not a table full of them. Although I love playing with people on tilt or easily tilted. If I see just one person make what I consider a stupid play, I sit down. I probably don’t do as much scouting as I should.

In your first piece, you say

We are going to have fun, and pad our wallets while we do it.

How have you helped your readers make a profit playing poker?
I’m a big advocate of starting small. Many of my early posts deal with finding what game, medium, and buy-in works for you. Making a profit comes from bankroll management, and when you’re just starting out it can also mean minimizing your loses. I’ve shared some of my pitfalls as far as money management goes and how I found what works for one person may not work for you. Poker can be a very personal venture. I try to show people how to be honest with themselves and make it their own. And, as I was quoted, have fun!

What books have helped you become a better poker player?
I just finished “Ace on the River” on audiobook read by the author. It is a great listen to anyone interested in the ins and outs of poker without going into the strategy of types of hands. For that I read David Slansky books. I also like Dan Harrington on Hold’em, although I have read it backwards…I had to see how it ended.

If you could pick any poker player to be, who would it be? Why?
Daniel Negreanu. He is one of the best for sure and efficient in his money making by parlaying his celebrity into video games and such. He is a great business man. And of all the players, you can’t say much bad about him. He’s not a hot head or a brat and friends with almost everyone.

If I gave you $10,000 this instant, would you enter the World Series of Poker Main Event? Or play various smaller entry fee WSOP events? What would your strategy be?
The only way I could be honest with myself is for you to give me the money and see what I would do. I have time if you need to run to an ATM. But seriously, folks, I would play the main event. I’d have to live the dream. My strategy would be to prepare by clocking in long days of poker. I don’t have any experience with multi-day events. Outside of that I would play tight the first day to ensure survival and try to amass a chip stack the second day that can carry me on. Oh, and I would wave to the camera a lot.

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