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The Michigan pro has become something of a household name in the game thanks to his poker streaming on TwitchTV, his JeffGrossPoker channel amongst the most popular out there.
His entry into poker was as a 15-year old, learning the game with friends at a soccer camp in Michigan, being “sold” on the game when he realised he could make money while indulging his love of games.
“I was playing in games several times a week and then started hosting games in the basement of my parents’ house where we would play small stakes cash or get around 30 players and do $30 buy-ins,” says Gross on his website bio, adding that he would use a fake ID to play live at Mount Pleasant, 2 hours from his hometown of Ann Arbor – followed by casino visits across the border into Canada.
Poker gradually took over from his other love, soccer, which had been part of his scholarship to the University of South Carolina, where he roomed with GOAT Olympian, the swimmer Michael Phelps.
“Soccer had always been my passion and favorite thing to do but my love was shifting during this time and poker was my new favorite hobby. I realized that although I was a talented soccer player my ceiling had been reached and making a living playing professional soccer was not realistic for me,” he recalls.
Although online poker was his main focus during this time, Black Friday “was the best thing that ever happened to me” he says, forcing him to shift to the live game, where success was not long in arriving.
A healthy $269,742 in the 2011 WSOP $5k NLHE Shootout was followed by several other 6-figure cashes, his biggest coming in the Seminole Hard Rock 2013 Poker Open in Hollywood, Florida - $414,770 representing a decent chunk of his $2,889,667 lifetime tournament earnings.
Although he has yet to lift a tournament title and says he has “shifted my primary focus to cash games” he says he is still “determined to capture a WSOP and a WPT title and I believe it is coming in 2017.”
Gross’ social media presence and YouTube/Twitch TV streaming has brought him to a huge audience, his website being one of the very best in the poker world – but his focus is wider than just the game itself, describing his life as “my wife, family, POKER, streaming, philanthropy, traveling and friends.”
A keen supporter of his good friend Michael Phelps’ Foundation, for Gross the main aim in life is to follow your dreams and goals, proclaiming:
“I believe it is the most important thing in life to do what you love and for me, I love poker.”
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Is PokerStars changing tack on their policies?
It’s been a busy news month so far for PokerStars
partypoker have joined forces with Bill Perkins’ aspirational, poker-based streaming site The Thirst Lounge
Jeff Gross touched on a variety of topics - including the big blind ante, poker players boxing and Fortnite.
Jaime and Matty Staples, the poker-playing brothers, have won their incredible $150,000 prop bet challenge against billionaire amateur Bill Perkins.
The biggest names in the poker streaming world were battling Gross for the top prize of a PokerStars $1,000 Turbo Series Main Event seat.