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Winning one of our Cash Game Leaderboards takes plenty of time and effort. Players from around the world get their grind on and play long sessions in an attempt to scoop a share of the $1 million on offer during March.

One man, Nicholas “Nicholas” Steiner recently topped the $0.05/$0.10 No-Limit Hold’em leaderboard and padded his bankroll with $1,000, or 1,000 big blinds for his current stakes. This feat would be impressive enough in its own right, but Steiner managed to be crowned the leaderboard’s champion while maintaining his job in the poker industry! Here’s his story.

“My name is Nicholas Steiner, and I go by ‘Nicholas’ on partypoker. I’m a 27-year-old American living and working in Malta. In July of 2018, I accepted a position at Run It Once Poker as their Content and Community Engagement Manager and made the move from Houston, Texas to Malta. On a day to day basis, I run our social media accounts, oversee our Discord server, assist with our promotions, and recently I took on a significant role running and coordinating the Galfond Challenge streams.”

From Watching WSOP Re-Runs to Grinding Online

Steiner, like many poker players, discovered this crazy game on television. It was ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker that ignited the poker fire inside of Steiner.

“As a child, I was obsessed with sports and always watched ESPN, and this is what eventually introduced me to poker. ESPN started covering the WSOP, and I started watching the events with my older friends. We were astonished by the amounts of money on the line, specifically the cash on the tables during heads-up play, and became obsessed with the game.”

Steiner started his poker career by playing in home games with friends as a young boy before transitioning to playing online poker when he came of age.

“I’ve continued playing poker frequently throughout my life, and when I finally became old enough to play online for real money, poker became my obsession again. Unfortunately, this wasn’t until after Black Friday, so I was playing on unregulated sites.”

His interest in poker peaked while studying at the University of Iowa. Steiner got a job as a poker dealer, something he says “was fortunate for my poker career but not for my studies.”

“Again, I found myself obsessed with poker. I spent all my time dealing cards or playing cards online.”

A Shot At Turning Pro

A similar leaderboard promotion to ours saw Steiner finish second two weeks in a row before he enjoyed his largest online tournament score, giving him the bankroll to pursue a professional poker career.

“While playing online, I placed 2nd two weeks in a row in a weekly cash game leader board similar to partypoker’s current system, which ended up making last week’s victory that much sweeter since I was so close twice, but never actually won a leader board. After this, I ended up binking my biggest tournament score and transition to MTTs, which led me to pursue a professional career. I moved to Tamarindo, Costa Rica, with the help of Poker Refugees to pursue a legal professional career properly.”

Unfortunately, for Steiner at least, things didn’t go to plan and he returned to his old life back in Iowa.

“My time in Costa Rica didn’t pan out as I planned it. After breaking even for three months, I returned to Iowa, where I got a job as a Poker Dealer, and eventually advanced to Poker Room Supervisor. During this time, I returned to school and finished my degree at the University of Northern Iowa. I continued playing poker live and online, mainly focusing on MTTs.”

Fastforward back to the present and Steiner’s demanding job doesn’t leave too much spare time to play poker, but he actually prefers MTTs to cash games, which is surprising considering his recent leaderboard victory. Also slightly surprising is the fact the $1 million on offer during March wasn’t the catalyst for Steiner’s cash game grind.

The fastforward Grind

“I had my eye on the leaderboard system for a few weeks as I started to play more and more 10NL Fast Forward on partypoker in my free time. I spoke about the leaderboard with my flatmate Daniel, who is also a poker enthusiast, quite a bit, and mentioned I would like to give the leaderboard a shot at some point if I ever had the time. Fortunately for me, the Galfond Challenge had a break last week, which let me catch up on some overdue time off. This allowed me to pursue the trophy. So, yes, it was a new goal of mine. Once I started on Monday, I was not going to lose.”

Most of our leaderboard winners are fans of the promotion, for obvious reasons, but Steiner was more pleased about being able to fund games running at any point of the day or night.

“I think the cash game leaderboard system works wonders. It provides a stable income for the ‘regulars’ who are putting in insane volume and produces constant action. During my experience over the last week, I was able to get action at any time of the day. Rewarding the players that keep these games running all the time is the way to go. It’s truly an insane grind. My head hurt A LOT.”

What It Took To Win The Leaderboard

We mentioned earlier that the leaderboards are popular and players are putting in some crazy volume in an attempt to get their hands on some of the $1 million offered in March. Steiner certainly put in a few shifts at the virtual felt on his way to an impressive victory.

“I would wake up around 11 am, briefly checked in with work, and then start grinding. I’d take quite a few short breaks and a couple of extended breaks throughout the day. I typically played until roughly 02:00-03:00. Rinse, repeat, for seven days, outside Friday, where I ran the Galfond Challenge stream that evening. Don’t worry, I played till 05:00 that day to catch up on the missed hands!”

A Bankroll Building Challenge

Steiner is keeping his prize money in his partypoker account as he’s attempting to turn $100 into $10,000.

“At the beginning of March, I started increasing my volume online again. Previously, I didn’t play too much on Party, so I put on $100 as a $100 -> $10,000 bankroll challenge. This is what lead me to play $10NL and eventually to chase the leaderboard. I’ll continue to play Fast Forward, and add in more MTTs when I have more extended periods to grind.”

If you clashed with Steiner at the tables last week, don’t worry because you won’t be this time around because he’s taking advantage of the awesome POWERFEST tournaments that are running! He’s hoping to “spin up my partypoker account to $10,000” before moving up stakes and having poker provide a second income.

Working for Phil Galfond’s Run It Once, Steiner’s best advice for poker players wanting to improve their game is to sign up to for additional poker training.

“I’d recommend checking out Run It Once Training. They have thousands of cash game videos from the top pros and coaches in the industry, such as Team partypoker pros Jason Koon and Joni Jouhkimainen, Elliot Roe, Ben Sulsky, and Phil Galfond. Plus, right now, they are offering their Essential plan for free for the next 30 days. They have a great team of Essential pros who crush every game type. It’s insane value for the next 30 days while everyone is stuck inside.

Praise For partypoker

Before Steiner disappeared into the ether and returned to the work and poker grind, he left us with this golden comment, which makes the time and effort of producing these interviews worthwhile.

“I would like to mention, as someone who works in the marketing department for an online poker operator, what you’re doing with this blog is special. This is an amazing way to create extra engagement with your players and your community. Everyone has their own cool, unique poker story and giving the average joe a chance to share his with the partypoker community is truly a treat.”

Want To Share Your Poker Story?

If you’d like to feature on the partypoker blog simply hit us up on one of our social media channels. We love sharing our players’ stories with the poker world. It doesn’t matter if you play $1.10 tournaments, or your cash game pots are the equivalent of a family car. Every player matters at partypoker.

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