This guy turned $80 into $1,000 in just 40k hands

Our new coach KrisRukov completed his own bankroll challenge after dropping to the micros and banking $1,000. Here, he tells us how he did it.

Today we introduce Kris, full name Kris Rukov, 29, from Bulgaria. He did what many of us in The Bankroll Challenge want to do - reach his goal; $1,000 and now he's coaching for PokerStrategy.com

When he coached his friends and other poker players, he was afraid of hearing "microstakes are dead", but this only inspired him to prove them wrong! So that is exactly what he did - at a record speed in just over 40.000 hands.

While it was a challenge to reach $1k from $80, he managed it in just over 43.237 hands and, including rakeback, ended up with over $1,000. We spoke to the man himself.

Here, we present his first video, which is his 40,000 hands challenge and is done in 40 minutes yet again! Watch as he grinds through limits NL2 to NL50, with his own style and tips for each stakes. The video is free to watch and we appreciate your feedback to decide what focus Kris will take as a coach for PokerStrategy.com

"It takes a different mindset to move down to the micro stakes from normal games"

Kritian Microstakes table1

Kris, congratulations on wining your challenge to reach $1,000 playing with the lowest limits. What did you want to prove and does it not take a change in mindset to move down from your normal games to the lower stakes?

My main idea was to prove that the games are still beatable. I know a lot of people think that the games are very shark infested tough and so on, but I didn`t see it and still don't share their opinion. I firmly believe that there are always going to be fish in the game of poker.

Yes it does take a very different mindset to move down to the micro stakes from my normal games. There are several reasons for this. Firstly you have a huge money difference. I play NL500 live and mix between NL100 and NL200 online so playing at NL2 forces you to forget about the dollar amount and think only in big blinds. Then you have the huge gap in the average player skill. Also trying to run a bluff for 53 cents is very hard because people don`t really care about half a dollar and you will get called way more often than not which brings me to another difference - player tendencies. Players get more differences but you`ll be able to see the rest in my videos - let's see if you guys are interested!

It didn’t take much more than 40,000 hands to increase your Bankroll from $80 to over $1,000. Be honest, was it luck or more aggressive BRM?

About the BRM, I was planning to go on the next limit when I reach 20 Buy-ins but I "stole" an idea from another poker player and adopted the "taking a shot" concept once I reached 15-17 buy-ins for the next limit I take 2 buy-ins and remove the "auto top up" and take a shot. If I bust - I go back on the limit I played and continue grinding, if I manage to double up and/or make it up to 20 buy-ins so I stayed on the limit and took a shot at. It is quite aggressive I admit, this is why I have some plans of retaking the challenge with more passive approach.

I think a realistic winrate on the micros is 4-7/100bb on the zoom tables and 10-15/100bb playing normal tables. This is a winrate that the players who study and watch videos should achieve. A beginning player of course will show a lower winrate in the beginning but will gradually increase if he/she watches some videos or live sessions from coaches and discussing hands, both of which help with the development of a player.

What do you have to change to reach those winrates? (i.e. do you have 3 tips on what to do like c-betting less, 3-betting or bluffing more?)

I think that every limit is a little bit of a different so adjusting to those differences will come in handy and your bankroll will like it. Talking to, or listening to, a coach will help you understand them faster and help you apply the best strategy. 3 things I think are true for the micros and will bring your winrate up are: I think that every limit is a little bit of a different so adjusting to those differences will come in handy and your bankroll will like it. Talking to, or listening to, a coach will help you understand them faster and help you apply the best strategy. 3 things I think are true for the micros and will bring your winrate up are:

  • don't tilt (your bankroll likes that)
  • c-bet mostly when you have a hand
  • call a c-bet mostly when you have a hand

"If you make money playing tight then play tight. If you make money playing loose, play loose"

Kritian Microstakes table1

What winrate do you consider realistic with some own effort on the stakes that you played in the challenge?

It's clear that you like the "tight is right" postflop approach on the micros. What games do you normally play? (how many tables, fast or regular, etd) How would you describe your playing style? 

I play live FullRing up to NL500 and online I play up to NL200 on a mix of poker rooms as well as Fast Poker & Regular tables. Most of the time I play 3-4 tables, although I sometimes drop to 2 when playing Fast Poker. You have to find your comfortable sweet spot for how many tables you play. This varies from person to person.

I can't say I have a fixed playing style. Depending on the opponent the "style" changes dramatically. With some opponents I like playing very loose and with others very nitty. My style is aimed at making the most dollar amount on the table regardless of what people will think about my playing style. I've always said if you make money playing tight then play tight. If you make money playing loose, play loose. Have fun with it. The object is to make money and have fun on the way right?

You are playing and winning, is your girlfriend spending the winnings? 

Haha! My girlfriend doesn`t play poker but she knows a lot about the game now. Also she knows quite a lot about investing and staking because of me and sometimes she uses that knowledge in real life situations. She very much likes the concept of "what I think he thinks that I think" a.k.a. meta-gaming. She uses that a lot to win an argument.

"Poker gives you a lot of food for thought regardless if it's your hobby or your career"

Kritian Microstakes table

What kind of hobbies do you have? And which of these would not be possible without poker?

My hobbies include skimboarding, skateboarding, reading, swimming, mental exercises. I love discussing concepts and social norms. I believe poker makes you think outside of the box more often than not so without that maybe I wouldn`t be interested in discussing and questioning concepts. Poker gives you a lot of food for thought regardless if it's your hobby or your career and you can`t put a price tag on that.

In your video, which we are presenting today, you moved from NL2 to NL50, which is the toughest move between these stakes and why?

Definitely NL2! This is and was the hardest limit for me when I was doing the challenge. The reason being is that the players don`t care about the money which makes them unpredictable. Also you don`t have a clue on what skill level you opponents are which makes them more unpredictable, and finally, because of the reasons I wrote about. Players tend to make some plays that you won`t see on any other stake and that makes them, you`ve guess it - unpredictable. To me it is very confusing to play NL 2 and that was harder than playing on let`s say NL25.

Watch KrisRukov's debut video

Witness the skills that got got our coach from $80 to $1,000 in his debut video for the English Poker School:

poker video

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Comments (2)

newest first
  • Endymion

    #1

    if you play spin and go and variance is on your side you can do it in a few thousand hands :D
  • KrisRukov

    #2

    sorry for the delayed answer but i just saw your comment.
    Yes, you are right ... partially. Spin and go ( and MTT for that matter ) can have hundreds if not thousands of times multiplier so you can increase your bankroll tremendously if the variance is on your side. In cash games however this is not really the case because the maximum theoretical multiplier you "can hit" is x6 ( i.e. you can increase you BR by 5 stacks ) for a single hand. In my lifetime i havn`t seen that yet but it is a mathematical possibility. To make it short, the "get rich fast" because of variance/luck in cash games is extremely less likely than Spin and Go and MTT.