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Poker fans know the name Philipp Gruissem. However, many of them are not aware of all of his poker accomplishments.

A quick look at his results show more than $9.7 million in live poker tournament earnings to date, and his results date back to 2009 when he won his first event at the Asian Poker Tour stop in Macau. He has won numerous side events on the European Poker Tour circuit, two events at the 2013 World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific, and two WPT Alpha8 high-roller tournaments in a row in 2013.

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In fact, Gruissem is the second-highest ranked live player in his home country of Germany, and he is quickly closing in on the top spot currently held by Tobias Reinkemeier.

Others know him as Philbort, the online poker phenomenon with nearly $3 million in online earnings thus far. He became a popular player to watch on sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt as far back as 2009.

Path to GPL Team Manager

Gruissem is a regular in high stakes games around the world. Now living in London, he often plays the big online games and regularly jets around the world to seek out High Roller tournaments.

More than his role as a player at the tables, though, Gruissem is known for his philanthropy. He is a co-founder of REG, Raising for Effective Giving, which has inspired many poker players to use effective altruism to donate to a variety of charities around the world.

These were a few of the reasons that he was asked to be one of the original team managers for the inaugural season of the Global Poker League. His team is the Berlin Bears, and though he was unable to be in Los Angeles for GPL Draft Day in February, he participated in a significant way. Lynn Gilmartin took his place at the event but communicated his thoughts and directions to her online throughout the draft process. With that, Brian Rast, Sorel Mizzi, Dominik Nitsche, and Jeff Gross were chosen to represent the Berlin Bears.

PokerUpdate: What was your plan going into GPL Draft Day?

Gruissem: I had a list of players that I wanted to have, in addition to information about how likely they were to be available when I wanted them.

PokerUpdate: Did your selection process go smoothly or did you hit a stumbling block along the way?

Gruissem: Some of my choices got picked before I could choose them, but I was prepared. At least there were no surprising blocks.

PokerUpdate: What are your team’s greatest strengths?

Gruissem: Confidence, live poker abilities, and team spirit.

PokerUpdate: Have you already chosen your wild cards? Or are you still considering options? (Any hints about your choices are welcome. Ha.)

Gruissem: I have chosen, and I have some surprises ready. But I can’t tell you. A wild card is supposed to be wild, right?

PokerUpdate: How do you feel about being a team manager?

Gruissem: I like it a lot. I will not play myself, so I will have more time to support my team. It’s already fun!

PokerUpdate: What are your goals as the team’s manager?

Gruissem: I was to have the right attitude going into the matches and during preparation. My team will feel that and benefit from it and show their best, too.

PokerUpdate: Do you feel prepared for the GPL to begin?

Gruissem: Yes, LET’S GO!

PokerUpdate: What are your hopes for the GPL?

Gruissem: I believe it will be a BIG WILD HYPED CRAZY new experience for everybody involved.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.