Q: How long have you been playing poker, and what got you into it?
I got into poker in high school while playing with friends, but it was 100% solely for recreation and for fun. After a few years (around 2016) I got into playing online more than once a month or so, started studying a little and played the micro buyins.
After a short period of time, Pokerstars took their business outside of my country and it made me quit poker entirely for over a year. Since it was no longer my main focus, poker was kept as a side hobby for quite some time.
Around 2018 I got back into poker and took it a lot more seriously, buying the Raise Your Edge Tournament Masterclass and started by grinding micro and low stakes and studying. For the past 1 ½ years I’ve been very active on the Raise Your Edge discord and due to grinding a lot and studying I eventually was able to move up in stakes.
What I love about poker is the overall complexity of the game, the dynamics of tournament poker and the fact that you always have something to explore and study, regardless of how much time you’ve invested before – you will always study more, be creative and develop certain skills (like decision making, money management and mindset) that applies to life in all aspects.
Q: How did you go about leveling up your game as you moved up stakes to eventually be able to play a $1,000 buy-in WSOP tournament?
First, I have to give big props to the RYE discord community, as once I started taking it more seriously and posting my hands to get feedback and also give feedback to other players, I already felt improvement in my in-game thought process itself and my post-session analysis of my play.
On top of that, I was actually always a loner in my studying, although after talking to Ben and getting some advice on this matter, I reached out to people from the RYE community and joined a study group with various people that I study with to this day! I also met and got familiar with a fellow countryman, and now we study a lot together and have also become friends in real life. So, joining the RYE discord not only helped me study better but also helped me make some poker friends, and in my opinion having friends in the poker world is a huge benefit to your game.
In terms of studying and leveling up my game itself, besides a study group/partners, I invest a lot of time analyzing hands and strategies, using PIO and Hold’em Resource Calculator a LOT, and of course discussing hands with peers as well. On top of that, using the Tournament Masterclass course, as well as Bounty Beast and the RYE Academy has also helped me improve a lot!
There was one big realization I had from Ben’s podcast with Patrick Leonard on the topic of “how to study”. Hearing or reading other people’s opinions and thought processes can be very beneficial, to get some different perspectives and ways of thinking, which I think helped develop my game too.
One more note I wish to share is on mindset. I believe people do not realize how important it is, and how much it can affect your play for better or for worse. I have taken Ben’s mindset course the Unchained Mind which helped me a lot, and recently also started Elliot Roe’s course as I know the top poker players are working with him as well.
One last thing is that upon Ben’s recommendation, I started doing some private coaching with Raise Your Edge coach Julian Thomas, which also helped improve my game in some aspects that were lacking beforehand.
Q: When you reached your first WSOP final table what was the situation like?
When reaching the final table I was really excited. This was by far my biggest ever final table ever (of course, it being a WSOP event!), the biggest previously just being $21,000 for first (I was already guaranteed $20,000 for tenth at this one). I came in 6/10 with around 46 big blinds and simply wanted to do my best and of course the goal was (and always will be) to win!
I knew a few players at the table, but the major one was poker pro Andreas Nemeth. I actually watched a final table he played previously before day 2 started, to better understand how he plays and to be able to counter it, as I believed that he would also reach the final table with me and be my biggest opponent there.
Q: Getting to 3 handed in a WSOP event it must have been a little bittersweet to go out in 3rd. How did you finally get taken out?
It was indeed bittersweet, as it would have been amazing to win a WSOP bracelet in my first ever FT (and actually, my 4th ever WSOP tournament played). However, I was lucky coming in 3rd place after a few coolers and bad beats other people faced which busted them out while I was short stacked.
I came into the 3 handed play with a short stack, managed to double up and finally ended up busting in a flip losing with QJs to pocket nines. If I had doubled up it would have brought us all to around even stacks, which would have been amazing. Overall I am very, very happy with the score and place I reached, as I know it could have been over at the first hand of day 2 as well, so I try to see only the positive side of it.
Q: What does this score do for your poker career and future?
This is the biggest score of my life, as before it was $16k (which actually happened on 3 Sundays back to back in June at $88 and $250 buy-ins which were actually my first 5 figure scores), so reaching a final table in a $1k buy-in tournament was enormous on it’s own.
My poker career was already on a good track, and this big cash (although I sold 50% of this tournament) made me to be able to not sell much action anymore, move up in stakes slightly and to possibly quitting my day job and focus solely on poker (both as a player, and as a part of the Raise Your Edge team).
Q: What are your goals for the rest of the year? Any fun plans?
My goals for the rest of the year are to keep studying, improving (both in poker and in life) and to stay with the same hunger for the game that I have now throughout the rest of 2021. A WSOP bracelet would of course be my goal for the current World Series Of Poker, but more importantly – to play my best game and to improve my mindset even more.
One more thing is I might possibly relocate again from my country as it is much more difficult to be a poker pro here. Places I had in mind are Canada, Mexico or possibly Austria.
As for fun, I just want to just hang out with people I love and definitely go on a vacation when possible (depends on corona of course), but the most fun I’m planning is a snowboard vacation next winter!
Q: Finally any word of advice to poker players not quite on your level yet?
My best advice to beginner/more advanced poker players would be:
- Mindset – people from my experience usually underestimate the importance of it. They focus on what they can’t control (running bad, being card dead and more) instead of the things they can (studying, working on both mind and body in terms of fitness, meditation and more).
- Technical wise – find a study partner/group at your level or higher or slightly lower, and make sure they are as dedicated as yourself.
- Be active in your group/discord communities and stay open-minded to other people’s opinions/thought process.
- Study, study and study some more. Personally I usually study a few hours a day, and I know that I have a ton more to study and improve, as this game never ends. On top of that, learn how to study effectively- focus on one leak you have and not just random things.
- Analyzing your stats and hand histories can also be very beneficial to find leaks and work on them in continuation to #4.
- Bankroll management. If you are taking poker seriously, you will need to follow a strict BRM that you hold yourself accountable to, and only take shots when you’ve decided ahead of time and taken it into consideration. Additionally, leave ego aside. What I mean by it is that if you are on a downswing and need to go down in stakes – DO IT!