Among the headlines emanating from the first week of the 2021 Spring Championship of Online Poker was one regarding the first player from the southeastern Europe country of Montenegro ever to capture a SCOOP title, Dejan “dejanlc357” Kaladjurdjevic.
That was news enough, but by the time we reached out to Kaladjurdjevic he was back in the winner’s circle again. And again!
That’s right… three SCOOP titles already! All three came in “High” events, and all three completed within the first five days of the series!
Here’s a rundown of the events in which Kaladjurdjevic helped himself to an incredible triple SCOOP:
- Event #2-H ($530 NLHE PKO, SCOOP Kickoff) — topped 1,321 entries for $78,406
- Event #11-H ($530 NLHE 8-Max PKO) — topped 988 entries for $64,337
- Event #17-H ($1,050 NLHE Deep Stacks) — topped 277 entries for $52,743
There were lots of recognizable IDs at the final tables of those events, including “Pimmss,” “Mr.Bittar,” “Secret_M0ds,” “munchenHB,” and “pads1161.”
Now “dejanlc357” has become a familiar username to watch as well.
Of course, after talking with the 22-year-old poker pro from the coastal town of Budva, it’s clear such success didn’t come without a lot of effort beforehand.
“I started out playing 5-10 euro sit-n-go’s with my high school friends,” he explains. “The usual story.”
It was 2017. For Kaladjurdjevic the game was initially more about having fun than learning how to win. But not for long.
“I was very fortunate that right from the start I stumbled upon the tools and coaches that made me think about the game in a good way,” he says. “I could have easily fallen into the rabbit hole without any help.”
Fast-forward a couple of years, and having finished school Kaladjurdjevic began to concentrate on poker full-time. Now, just a couple of years after that, “dejanlc357” has already joined the three-time SCOOP champions club.
As far as last week’s “triple scoop” went, Kaladjurdjevic says the three wins have already started to mix together in his mind. You know, kind of like the individual scoops of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry on a single sugar cone might start melting together in the Montenegro sun.
“All of the tournaments were so close to each other and the first two were basically the identical format, so all of them just blended into one long-lasting grind,” he says.
“In the first two PKO events, I didn’t really care at all about the titles,” he says. “I was just focusing on playing the best I could.”
“But when the third one came, the thought of winning three in a week was exhilarating.”
Even so, that great feeling of winning not just one but three tournaments probably won’t tear Kaladjurdjevic away from the cash tables. As he explains, that’s where he currently likes to spend most of his poker energy and time.
“The cash grind is way more enjoyable,” he says. “The good thing about running good is that the confidence grows as well. It’s not the same confidence that studying gives me, but still, it’s better to be confident than insecure, especially in big spots.”
Kaladjurdjevic grew up in Budva. The small town provides a particularly picturesque location right on the Adriatic Sea. “Tiny place but very cool, especially in the summer,” Kaladjurdjevic confirms.
“Admittedly I don’t take advantage of the natural beauty that much as I spend most of my time in my room,” he says. He’ll keep doing so for the rest of SCOOP, but says after that he will take a small break and then refocus on cash games where he aims to climb the “cash game ladder.”
“Hopefully the summer doesn’t get in the way of that,” he says.
After such an impressive SCOOP run, Kaladjurdjevic could be forgiven if he took a little time away from the online tables. You know, to enjoy some warm afternoon walks on the beach in Budva.
Perhaps an ice cream cone might even be in order.