In earlier interviews you pointed out that you were lucky from the start. Was there never a stretch where you were doing badly for a longer period of time?
Back in 2011 I had a stretch of 32 events without a single cash, that’s quite a lot in live poker. That was right after I won the FPS in Paris and it took me until I got back to Paris a few months later to end that series. I’ve been very fortunate to have the success that I had, but I also want to keep on having it.
Is that realistic?
In what sense?
Is it realistic in the sense that I’m going to have a year like last year every year from now on? Probably not, but there are guys that have won big tournaments many years in a row. Of course there are also very good players that have not won anything in a very long time. Last year for me was amazing with two big wins, but in 2011 for instance I had a lot of beats deep into tournaments. I still profited over the year, but something like that can also happen. Before I won the WPT I had so many chances at winning a big one. It’s not like I win every tournament I play even though it look like that sometimes.
How do you deal with people who think that you just win everything?
If someone tells me that I just tell them every single bad beat story I have. And then when I do have chips I make sure to run over to them on every break, and point out how well I’m doing. I think you can’t really be jealous in poker because there is so much variance. It’s always going to happen that someone else is having a lot of success over a couple of months while you’re not. It’s just going to bring you down if you’re jealous at other people’s results.
Is there a player in your group of friends who’s due a big score because of his skill?
There are a couple of guys actually. I was close with Manig Loeser and he’s had a ridiculous amount of final two table finishes without a big win. Even for someone like Tobias Reinkemeier it has been a while since he’s won a big event, but there are just so many good players and sadly not all of them can win all the time.
Is there a difference between you and highly skilled online MTT pros that try to make the switch to live tournaments?
I definitely think so, as I’m pretty good against bad players but I can also take on the good players. The really good online players are more so used to playing against other very good online players. They don’t really play a lot against amateurs that are supposed to fold in spots where they are actually never, ever going to fold. The whole concept of tournament strategy that live poker has to offer is also something I think I’m really good at.
Is there a difference between the way you played deep in events now, compared to before you had a lot of success?
My first major final table was at the World Series three years ago and that flew by. I think I was focused, but it still seemed like a dreamland scenario. To be at that final table after beating thousands of players and having Durrrr on my left, that was special. I had no idea what I was doing there but I did play well. It was more a thing that I just couldn’t believe that I was actually there. I have definitely gotten more aggressive deep in tournaments, and I am putting more pressure on players that are scared of not making the next pay jump than I used to.
Are the pay jumps at the final table still as important to you, or is winning the only thing you look at?
That’s very opponent depended. In the $50,000 event at the WSOP APAC in Melbourne I really just had to survive the bubble. Everyone was playing so ridiculous, while I was just blinding down from 20 to six big blinds. Players were limping in five-handed with just 15 big blinds, and basically every hand someone was supposed to go broke. That did not happen, and in the end I finished on the exact bubble. So there are definitely situation where you have to nit it up, but on the other hand when you feel like your opponents are nitting it up, you should just apply a lot of pressure. I think I was chip leader at at least half the final tables I made, and that makes them focus on the ICM game while you can punish them. It helps so much if you have chips so you can put pressure on other people.
Bubbling the $50,000 at the Aussie Millions, was that the toughest bubble of your poker career?
Definitely. I only played two $50,000 events in my life, the one at the WSOPE in Cannes and the one in Australia and I stone cold bubbled both events. They were both very painful but the one in Australia was the worst.
You said you were lucky from the start in your poker career, but I’ve never really read anything about how that start was. How did you get comfortable playing in these big live events?
I had a really bad injury, well not really an injury but a problem with my heart muscle. I couldn’t play sports for six months and I couldn’t drink for about nine months. During that time I played a lot of poker and that helped me to get to that level.