The poker world is chock full of a variety of personalities. Some are larger-than-life like Phil Hellmuth and Mike Matusow, while others—albeit highly talented and successful—are a bit more conservative and down-to-Earth.
Meet Eric Baldwin, aka “basebaldy,” a Las Vegas local who—despite his immense success in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and other large-scale venues—is quite content to spend his time grinding in low-to medium-buy-in, medium-prize-pool, local tournaments. Not only is he a fantastic player, but Eric Baldwin is also a great guy.
What is a grinder?
A grinder is a poker player who plays a lot with the goal of making a steady profit. In other words, these players “grind” away, treating poker like a daily job, until their goals are reached.
Grinding is most assuredly not an easy living. Successful grinders require incredible patience, confidence, and stamina, and these words exemplify Eric Baldwin.
Early life of basebaldy
Eric Baldwin originally hails from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and was an all-star Division III baseball player (hence his screenname) who led University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks to the 2005 NCAA National Championships before becoming a fixture in the poker world.
He majored in psyschology and minored in mathematics and, undoubtedly, uses his knowledge of these two disciplines at the poker table.
Eric Baldwin on the felt
Eric Baldwin first made an impact on the live tournament scene when he won the 6th Annual Five Star World Poker Classic and $148,000 in 2008. In 2009, he won the $2,500 DeepStack Extravaganza II Main Event at The Venetian Poker Room and pocketed a hefty $199,000. Then, he placed 3rd in the WSOP $10K Pot Limit Hold’Em Championship event and won the $1,500 NLH event, winning $259,000 and $522,000, respectively.
He did so well in 2009 that he won Card Player Player of the Year honors with 6,994 points. In addition to winning a WSOP bracelet—notable in its own right—Baldwin’s most impressive feat was making 17 final tables.
Of his POY award, Baldwin said that it “absolutely means the world to [him].” And why wouldn’t it? He said that winning this honor had been a long-time dream since he started playing poker professionally, and being in the company of such poker greats as Daniel Negreanu, Michael Mizrachi, and Men Nguyen, to name a few, is amazing.
Baldwin earned his best live cash in April 2010 at the 8th Annual Five Star World Poker Classic $25,000 + 500 WPT NLH Championship event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas where he placed 2nd (behind David Williams) and took home a hefty $1,034,715. Check out the final heads-up action:
Baldwin also won two highly coveted WSOP bracelets: the aforementioned 2009 one and another in the same event at the 49th WSOP in 2018 at the Rio in Las Vegas.
To date, Eric Baldwin’s total live tournament winnings are nearly $6.2 million, and he sits in 167th place on the All-Time Money List.
Eric Baldwin today
Despite his considerable success, Eric Baldwin is refreshingly humble. He can frequently be seen at local Las Vegas poker rooms such as The Venetian, Bellagio, and Wynn where he has cashed in numerous recurring tournament series events. Of course, Baldwin remains a fixture at the annual WSOP, also held in Las Vegas.
Baldwin and his wife have two sons. He seems to have melded his poker life and family life seamlessly, and we wish him well in all of his endeavors.
If you’d like to learn more about this terrific player and all-around great guy, check out this Poker Stories podcast.
Until next time.
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