Philipp Gruissem

Philipp Gruissem Signs Sponsorship Deal with partypoker

The Hot Stove season continues as partypoker looks to be the Milwaukee Brewers of the online poker world, acquiring big name player after big name player. Last week, partypoker announced that it had signed Isaac Haxton to a sponsorship deal and on Monday, it announced that it has done the same with top German pro, Philipp Gruissem.

Just as PokerStars, the largest online poker room in the world, has been losing pros (Vanessa Selbst, Jason Mercier, and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier all in the past month), partypoker has been adding them like there is a worldwide shortage. As my colleague Haley Hintze pointed out recently, in addition to Haxton and Gruissem, partypoker has signed Jason Koon, Martin Jacobsen, Joni Jouhkimainen, Fedor Holz, and Kristen Bicknell all since September. That’s not to mention such names as Mike Sexton, Marcel Luske, Johnny Lodden, and Sam Trickett that were already on the roster.

Gruissem is a high roller tournament specialist. If you look at his tournament results on TheHendonMob.com, you will see cash after cash after cash in high roller events, that is, $25,000 buy-ins and higher. He has just over $11 million in live tournament earnings, with his best cash coming at the 2013 WPT Alpha8 London £100,000 No-Limit Hold’em event, a tournament he won for $1,379,840 (prize amount was converted to USD at the time). He came oh so close to eclipsing that a few months later when he won the European Poker Tour Grand Final €25,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller 8 Max, missing his high mark by less than $2,000.

Despite all the wins, final tables, and huge scores, Gruissem has not won a World Series of Poker bracelet or World Poker Tour Main Event title. That’s not really a big deal, as his success is undeniable, but the poker world likes keeping track of those things, so there it is.

Online (Gruissem was signed by an online poker room, after all), he has also been fantastic. According to records kept by PocketFives.com, Gruissem has more than $3.5 million in online tournament cashes, mostly under the screenname “philbort.” Of course, there may be more cashes than that, as the site only tracks certain poker rooms (though the major ones are tracked) and only records results based on screennames supplied by the player. Regardless, Gruissem’s record is impressive.

Gruissem also currently ranks just inside the top 200 in the Global Poker Index.

“I feel great about joining partypoker!” Gruissem said via the partypoker blog. “They are now bringing healthy competition back into the market and partypoker has a new and fresh vibe that will grow our poker community.”

Though partypoker is not the 800-pound gorilla that it was pre-UIGEA (that title belongs to PokerStars now), it has certainly remained competitive, as Gruissem mentioned, settling comfortably into that next tier of online poker rooms behind Stars. Looking at PokerScout.com, PokerStars has a seven-day average of 10,500 cash game players (obviously there are more tournament players, as well, but cash games are what are tracked), which makes it far and away the largest online poker room in the world, even if it is only half of what the traffic was there just a handful of years ago. IDNPoker, which is a network that is primarily Asia-facing, sits in second with 4,600 cash game players and then partypoker is in a tight group after that. PokerStars Europe, which is currently composed of the newly joined PokerStars Spain and PokerStars France (with Italy and Portugal hopefully to come), has a seven-day average of 1,700 cash game players, followed by 888poker with 1,600 and partypoker with 1,400.

Aside from his poker play, Gruissem is an interesting dude. He is generally quite upbeat and appears to be very spiritual. He also co-founded the charitable organization Raising for Effective Giving (REG) with fellow poker pros Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, and Stefan Huber. REG is sort of a charity mutual fund in that the money it raises it then distributes to other charities. The unique thing about it is that it is based on the idea of “effective altruism,” which in a nutshell looks for the most cost effective charities regardless of cause as a way to help the most people per dollar.

From REG’s website:

….it is odd that explicit cost-effectiveness is a comparatively rare criterion for people when selecting charities to donate to. Cost-effectiveness in general is the output you get for a given input. In charity, it is the amount of people helped per unit of money donated. If your reason for donating is at least in part that you want to help others for their own sake, and if you prefer to help more people rather than fewer people, then you should have a strong interest in the cost-effectiveness of charities.

“By dogmatically limiting oneself to only specific causes, one is potentially ignoring interventions that could have a much higher impact,” the website adds.

Founded by Gruissem and his poker friends, REG does specifically target poker players, asking them to donate two percent of their gross poker cashes, but it also encourages everyone to set aside a certain percentage of their income for regular donation. Boeree and Kurganov donated half of their $273,964 first prize for their 2017 WSOP $10,000 Tag Team event win to REG.

Photo credit: partypoker blog

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