K123K won Event #32 (Stud Turbo) in TCOOP last week. As with a lot of winners he was good enough to spare some time to talk to us about his win and his career as a poker player. K123K was apologetic in his reply, pointing out a lack of time. Instead, rather than answering questions one by one he wrote what follows below, which was too good to mess around with so is printed in full here. It’s a fascinating take on the win, of playing online, and the role poker plays in life.
“So well I´m 31 and basically play poker as a profitable hobby. Usually hobbies tend to empty the pocket somewhat but for me it´s the other way around, although it´s usually just some extra money each year and nothing too substantial.
“I´m from Stockholm, Sweden, and have been playing poker on and off from around 2005. I first learned about the game from my father when I was around six or seven, but only the five card draw version. My real fascination with the game took off when one of my dear friends came back from an exchange year in the States. This was around the Moneymaker boom in 2003.
“During this time we played limit hold’em initially, and later on no-limit hold’em with a couple of friends, either just for the competition or very small stakes. My friend then opened an account on some site and began wining small stakes no-limit hold’em cash games. It still took me a couple of years before I signed up for my own account, but I played quite heads up often with my friend and we learned the basic ins and outs of mostly hold’em, but also some of the mixed games.
“When I finally began playing online for money it was strictly no-limit hold’em cash games, and I think I only played it (without profit) for some weeks [before] I ventured into mixed games. For some reason I seemed to enjoy these other games more. At the time it was a HORSE cash game on some other site, and I basically started winning from the moment I sat down.
“I think the main reason for my love of mixed games is the change of pace, feel and strategy between the different variants. At the time (around 2007) mixed games were very obscure, and the player pool was small (and people didn’t usually have any clue of even the fundamentals).
“So I played for six months or so almost as a day job. I studied the game, read books etc. and the showed some profit, enough to pay the bills and live a simple life. After that period other interests took over.
“I have always loved music, especially writing my own stuff and at times performing them. I have been on small tours performing in Sweden but also a couple of times in San Francisco and some other places in the States. There is some sparse material on Spotify and on YouTube under my alter ego “Isungen”, if anyone would be interested. It´s singer/songwriter stuff I guess.
“Anyway, mostly music but also studying philosophy is my priority at the moment, but at times I still feel the urge for playing some poker – especially mixed game tournaments.
“Of the various games I would say that 7-card stud is my best game. I have really no argument to back it up, but of all the limit mixed games I think it´s the one variant that requires the most skill. Compared to let’s say stud-8 or 2-7 triple draw, it seems to be much less mathematical, and much more a game of game theory and feel. The decisions are so context dependent and varied, to the point that no hand resembles any other.
“With that in mind–that 7-card stud probably is both my favourite and best game–it felt immensely good to win the TCOOP 7-card stud event. Especially since I late reg’d in the last minute (thanks to the support of my wife) and in the end came out on top. And also because I played very patiently. For most of the tournament my stack was around half of the average or less, and I started the final table as the short stack. It also felt reassuring since I recently won the Swedish state online championship in 7-card stud just some months ago.
“I guess as far as poker goes, my dream is to one year play a couple of WSOP events in stud and mixed games. Hopefully this will happen if I win another couple of TCOOP events. I’m looking forward to the Razz event and the Horse, and maybe the 8-game coming up, and then later the SCOOP events.
“Well, poker is an interesting challenge, but it´s really not important in life. It´s basically a fun ingredient. Music, art and philosophy on the other hand are important and meaningful. Not to mention friendship and love. And well, beer.”