Jeff Gross Reveals His Top Tip for World Champion as CHOKER Fever Strikes!

11 months ago
Jeff Gross Reveals His Top Tip for World Champion as CHOKER Fever Strikes!
17 Dec

The new chess/poker hybrid game CHOKER has been capturing the hearts and minds of players from both mind-game spheres since the app launched last month, and Jeff Gross has recently been announced as an ambassador.

The well-known poker pro, streamer and commentator has been brushing up his skills on the 64 black and white squares for his new role, and we managed to squeeze a bit of time out of Jeff’s busy schedule to quiz the 33-year old Michigan star on his CHOKER knowledge.

First up, though, for those who may not know how CHOKER works, here’s a quick rundown on the rules.

  • Players are dealt 5 cards each, from a 44-card pack, with a chess piece depicted on each card.
  • The betting rounds occur after 2, 4 and 5 cards are dealt. As with standard poker, you can check, bet, call or raise (or fold, of course).
  • Once the betting rounds are completed (if neither you nor your opponent has folded) you place the chess pieces you have been dealt in specially-marked zones.
  • You start with a king and pawn each, and you’ll have seven pieces each in total by the time the actual chess game starts.
  •  After that, it’s a traditional chess game, the winner taking down the pot, checkmate – or CHOKEMATE! – the ultimate goal, though not the only way to win.

OK, with out of the way, here’s what Jeff Gross has to say about the exciting new game and his part in it…

Q: How did your interest in/association with CHOKER come about? 

I was approached to see if I would have an interest in this hybrid concept. I then was headed to the UK for the WPT at Dusk Till Dawn and met in person with Andrew Finan (the brains behind the CHOKER concept) to show me the game and I was very surprised how much I liked it.

Q: Your poker accomplishments are well-documented – what about your chess skills?

I used to play chess with my Dad when I was very young. My chess skills are not strong but I understand the concept and like how CHOKER focuses on the end game. 

Q:  What for you are the most interesting/important factors in CHOKER?

The most interesting factors are that there is an element of luck involved. In poker, part of the appeal is that anyone could beat anyone on a given hand or day. Chess on the other hand the skill gap is too wide.

Luck is introduced with only the final stages of a match being played, also a betting component where you could bet a player out to win before finishing & the pieces drawn are random as well. I could realistically beat a grand master of chess in CHOKER which would not be the case in a regular game of chess.

Q:  What do you think poker players can learn from chess, and vice-versa?

I think poker players can learn from chess to plan moves ahead; look at a tournament for example and goal set thru different levels and days of a tournament. I think chess players can learn from poker about taking risk, learning how to wager.

Q: Do you have plans to stream some CHOKER games for your fans?

I do plan to stream some CHOKER games on Twitch! I think this would be really fun to play against other poker streamers as well as chess streamers (once I get a bit more practice in).

Q: Who do you think would win a CHOKER World Championship? 

Off the top of my head I think chess players would have the advantage but I do think some good poker prowess mixed in would be key. I am not as familiar with the chess superstars. I do know that Dan Smith has a nice mix of chess in his arsenal so I would go with Dan!

Q: Would you enter? How do you think you would fare?

I would enter but I would need to really brush up on my chess game and also get a lot of reps in on CHOKER.  

Q: Who would you most like to challenge at CHOKER?

I would like to challenge Alexandra Botez (an American-Canadian Women’s FIDE chess Master). I like her stream on Twitch and she seems fun! I think she may know a bit of poker too!

Q: What will you do in your ambassadorial role for CHOKER?

For my ambassadorial role in CHOKER I will look to bring the poker world awareness about this innovative game and showcase how it’s possible to dive right in with limited chess knowledge!

Q: Can any other game excite/interest you the way that poker does?

At the moment no, but I do believe this hybrid has a chance to steal some time from my regular poker streams!

Q: Top 3 tips for players aiming to crush CHOKER? 

  • Know when to fold your starting hand!
  • Learn how to close off games
  • Avoid the major mistake!

Q: Call out 3 poker players you want to challenge on CHOKER? 

  • Hikaru Nakamura
  • Alexandra Botez
  • Chess Brah (Canadian Grandmaster Eric Hansen)

And with that, one of poker’s busiest men was off to brush up on his game, ready for the next challenge.

If you fancy your chances against Jeff, or any of the other top stars of both worlds who have become hooked on CHOKER, you can download the app for free here.

Articles 1972

Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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