Video poker player Jeff ‘Jeff Boski’ Sluzinski talks big score in Vietnam
Jeff ‘Jeff Boski’ Sluzinski fell in love with poker during the Moneymaker boom, starting his online poker journey, eventually transitioning into micro stakes earning $10 an hour. It was a great way for the University of Michigan student to stay home between classes and earn some extra cash.
Sluzinski was working towards an economics degree, but failed a required calculus course three times. Shortly thereafter, he made the difficult decision that he was going to change his life path, dropping out of school to play poker full time.
“I would watch the pros on the WPT and al WSOP turn $10,000 into millions,” Sluzinski shared. “I thought one day maybe I’d have a chance to do something like this, just by climbing the stakes online.”
The former call center supervisor decided to take the plunge, upping the ante to face the same players he’d admired on TV for years.
“I decided to move to Las Vegas to take my picture in 2008,” Sluzinski said. “I had been in Michigan 25 years so it was time for a change. I had about $10,000 to my name at that point. I packed up all my things and took a leap of faith.
When he wasn’t battling online or playing in the daily tournaments in Las Vegas, Sluzinski was soaking up as much poker content as humanly possible. He was a subscriber to many of the best training sites and read every poker book imaginable. He was obsessed with the game for good reason.
“I was very motivated to do well as my livelihood was now at stake,” confessed Sluzinski. “I was a member of [two different training sites]. I’ve been watching youtube videos day and night since WPT AND WSOP. I also won a place in the WSOP main event, when you started with 10,000 in chips. I was eliminated by Chris Ferguson. Right. Jesus took me out”.
It wasn’t too difficult for Sluzinski to keep up with the volume that some of the best players, like Chris Moorman and Shaun Deeb, were putting online. It was never a problem, mostly because he loved the game so much.
“I remember seeing how many MTTs Moorman played back in the day. I was like, holy shit. This is crazy. But at the time, the best grinders were incentivized by tournament rankings, bonuses, etc. When I got back to Michigan my friends were worried I had a problem, maybe I was playing too much. But then I realized it’s only a problem if you’re losing. But if you’re winning, it’s a fix. It was my only source of income, my job. And it was fun.
While living in Las Vegas, Boski was offered an online support deal so he could slowly pick up his growing skillset and move up the ranks.
“I was backed by a big stable in 2008. They started me with up to a $33 buy-in. The more successful I was, the more they trusted me. I moved up to the $50, $109 and $215 buy-in events. I killed him. I just ran super hot and played well. I made probably around $400,000 in 2008 and 2009.
It was after those few successful years that he cut ties with supporters and set up on his own. He had built up enough bankroll to support the buy-ins in progress, both live and online. The biggest learning curve has been going from a full-time online grind to dabbling in local live events and some on the circuit.
“The main difference between online and live was that I had to develop more patience,” he admitted. “You see a lot less hands. It’s so boring to go to the casino, register and get to the table. You have to adapt to all of this and still not be influenced by your opponents, like stupid people smoking cigarettes in your face, etc.
Americas Cardroom First Team Pro
With his growing profile as a poker content creator, Sluzinski was the first ambassador Americas Cardroom brought in to promote the site. He is very proud to be the OG Team Pro at one of the most popular poker sites in the world.
“ACR has a great selection of tournaments with good structures for a MTT player. They also listen to Team Pros and player feedback. With that information, they’ve made a ton of improvements over the past five years. The most important improvements from my point of view as a tournament player are the interface, the fluidity of the software and the customizable tables. But above all, the selection of the tournament.
The site has continued to add to the team, which now consists of Chris Moneymaker, Chris Moorman, Ana Marquez, Jose Ignacio “Nacho” Barbero, Katie Lindsay, Jon Van Fleet, Monica Zukowicz, Michael Loncar, Rob Kuhn, Ryan Depaulo, John Pardy, Drew Gonzalez and Ebony Kennedy.
The impressive lineup of acr Team Pros is notable as Sluzinksi finished as one of three on the team to face a recent challenge from acr CEOPhil Nagy.
“Phil had a meeting with all of us a few months ago. He said he wanted us to go out there and make a bigger name for ourselves. He decided to give a $100,000 package plus first-class travel and accommodations to two of the acr Team Pro at the Triton High-Roller Series that just took place in Vietnam.”
To determine the winners of the challenge, Nagy created a points system that included a series of MTTs and heads-up matches on acr and a rating of their total social media engagements across all platforms. It was no surprise that Sluzinski came out on top in all social media interactions by far. Sluzinski’s social channels are engaging and fun to watch, with over 50,000 subscribers and over 15 million views on YouTube (Jeff Boschi Poker).
“I wanted to show the mindset and amount of work it takes to be a successful tournament pro. I also wanted to share what it’s really like to play live events every day in Vegas. The reality of disappointment after disappointment, brick by brick. You will see the good and bad of every tournament I play. Bad endings will be more common than good ones. It can really suck, because people like happy endings. But I urge everyone to tune in if you want to see a real poker reality TV show.”
Nagy eventually added a third package to the challenge, giving Sluzinski and acr Team Pros Monica Zukowicz and Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet travel to Vietnam to compete against some of the best high rollers in the game.
Boski scores big in Vietnam
Believe it or not, the long trip from Las Vegas to Vietnam was Sluzinski’s first time traveling overseas. Once he arrived, he would compete against some of the best players in the world for huge paydays, including the likes of Jason Koon, Mikita Badziakouski, Justin Bonomo, Fedor Holz and Ike Haxton.
Sluzinski had several of these tournament dunks sitting to his left and right at every event, but he never felt intimidated or out of place despite the buy-ins and new venue.
“I understood how they would perceive me. I have based much of my approach to events on this assumption. I knew they were probably going to see me as a weaker player, you know, the acr qualifier. They assume I’ll play tight and scared. So, I did just the opposite.
The fearless approach paid off in the $25,000 no-limit hold’em turbo event series. It finished in seventh place and grossed $121,000. Overall, he was very happy with this performance throughout the series, especially a hand he played against the red-hot Ike Haxton.
“I was sitting with about 16 big blinds on the button with pocket tens when Haxton (the chip leader of the table) moved all-in from the cutoff. There were 16 players left and 15 were paid off. I could have folded to be pretty sure of a minimum cash of $44,000. But I ended up using seven of my nine time extensions before making the call.
It’s been a scary place for the longtime pro. If he was eliminated, he would have blocked all events and ended the trip empty handed. Sluzinski would eventually tweet about the hand to get feedback from the poker community. It eventually became one of the most popular and engaging tweets he had ever posted, with nearly 400,000 views.
“He’s got me covered,” Boschi shared. “If I call and lose, I get zero, right? Or if I call and win, I double up. THE acr the video team really caught me in the moment puzzling over what to do. Luckily, I dodged his KQ to get the much coveted double up.
HAND FROM THE YEAR
$25,000 U.S. dollar Triton 8 Max Turbo
15 are paid
$44,200 min in cash
60k BBs @ikepoker is the chip leader of the table and opened all-in (2.4M) cutoff
I’m pulsating (960k) with TT
All in or fold? pic.twitter.com/eXKLxA7ZUN
— Jeff Boschi (@ICuRaRook) March 12, 2023
Sluzinski said the overall trip was one of the best experiences he’s ever had. He felt right at home among the best in the world and looks forward to more events in the future.
“I had envisioned the top high-stakes pros, who would interrogate me, asking me for information [about how or why I was there]. But they did no such thing. They were very courteous and never said anything intrusive to me. It was a very professional and respectful environment.”
No remorse, no regrets
Sluzinski has no regrets about the life path he has chosen over the past 20 years. He has ridden the waves of variance more than once and has stood the test of time in an industry where many players crash and burn or simply fade into the background. He’s been a consummate professional, both live and online, and his earnings are proof of that. Sluzinski has grossed over $10 million online and has over $1 million in live prize money.
But right now, he’s entirely focused on the next challenge that acr CEO Phil Nagy launched himself against the Pro Teams, this time with a trip to Cyprus up for grabs.
“I am motivated to win for the next one acr Challenge Team Pro. It’s for a trip to Cyprus for the upcoming Triton Series in May and also includes six-figure buy-ins. I can’t wait to win the chance to compete for a seven-figure score, actually for free. It is exciting.
You can follow Sluzinski on Chirping @ICuRaRook to get updates on the challenge and play with him at the Americas Cardroom. You can also find it on Contraction, YoutubeAND Instagram @jeffboski.
*Some photos courtesy of the World Poker Tour and Triton Poker credited to Joe Giron.