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matsalu wrote in subculture2010

Here is an interview with one of the poker players, Martin (22)


1.                              When did you start to play poker?


Some years ago I started to bet on sport results – sometimes it was much more interesting to watch soccer, hockey or even tennis when I had put some money on someone. One day when I was surfing on I found poker and I started to check it out. First I played poker just for fun, when I had nothing else to do. But 2 years ago one of my friends started to play poker for money. He earned quite well and I wanted to try it, too. So I made little research in the Internet how to play poker successfully… and now I can say I am quite good at it and I play regularly, for money. It’s like a job to me.


2.                              What kind of poker do you play?


I play online-poker mostly. Usually I play in, and, but I have also played in for example. But these three are usual ones. There are different campaigns and tournaments in each site, so I look where it is clever to play at this certain moment and then I just play. I prefer sng-s*, there are different leagues for them, for example autumn league, winter league etc. In these leagues you have to earn certain amount of points during the specific time (a month usually) and the ones who have most points, gets money. It’s really great opportunity to earn something.


3.                              How did you hear about Why do you go to events?


I found it when I was making a research about playing poker, but I didn’t pay attention to it really. Once I was looking what to do and I checked thoroughly out. I found that they organize game-nights in café Tao in Tallinn and I thought why not to go and practice how to play better live-poker. I invited a friend with me and we went and played. It was really fun and very first time I was there, I got third place. So I went next time as well and etc. However, I don’t go there every week because I’m not in town all the time, but when I am in Tallinn and I have nothing else to do, I really like to go there. events are good entertainment for evening. It is really fun to play live poker. It is also good that you don’t have to pay for playing, it is freeroll, so by loosing you don’t actually loose anything.


4.                              Why do you play poker?


As I said, poker is like a job to me– I go to university of Tallinn and playing poker is a part-time (sometimes even full-time, haha…) job. I don’t have certain remuneration every month, but I still earn enough money to live quite good life for a student. Sometimes we make poker-nights with friends or go to casinos game-nights, but that is pure entertainment.


5.                              What to you think about poker?


Poker… I really like it. It’s not easy to earn good money with poker, however, I think I prefer anytime playing 8 hours poker per day instead of working in some kind of office. During the last two years my understanding about money has changed a lot. Sometime poker makes me reeaaalllyy nervous as well! But that just part of the game, everyone who plays poker gets some bad beats some day. I think that if you’re a good player, poker gives you many opportunities to earn some money. But some players are so stupid I can’t even believe it… they play with so bad cards in so bad positions, and sometimes they even win! Haha, those moments are so non-realistic. But this is poker.


6.                              Are there any differences between online- and live-poker in your opinion? Which one do you prefer?


There are many differences. Although the game environment is totally different in online and live poker, basic rules and strategies remain. Still, in live-poker there are “real” people next to you, and it gives you quite a lot of information. There is no body language to read in online-poker, but you can still read other players by observing their moves. Someone is very aggressive, someone is slow, someone stupid, someone plays really tight etc. Most of the time I play online-poker, and when I go to play live-poker, I take it automatically completely other way – it is a entertainment to me to play poker in some café or casino, I don’t take it as a job, I don’t have to win. Winning is just a bonus for interesting game. So it is not easy to say which one I prefer, because I take them so differently. I think online-poker is better, ‘cause my playing-purpose is earning money.


7.                              Do you know other people who play poker?


Yes, many my friends play poker. 2-3 of them take it as seriously as I do, couple of them play it just for fun. I know other people, who aren’t my friends, too. I have seen same people in different events, so we know each other faces, but we are not friends. I can assure you that there are many people who play poker, m a n y. Yet all of them aren’t good. But the more bad players are out there, than better to me, haha.


8.                              Do you read about poker news, events, tournaments etc? Where do you get your information?


When you play poker as seriously as I do, you should read poker news. I read them from different sites, usually from, etc. The more information you have, than better you are. There are very many useful strategies, and if you want to earn money with poker, you should develop yourself. It is not just playing, and it is definitely not game of luck, like many people think. Usually if I am looking for some information, I just type something in Google and I get what I’m looking for. So yes, Internet is main information source.


9.                              Have you ever perceived some kind of prejudice about poker from other people? What kind of?


Oh yes, but these prejudices come usually from poor knowledge about poker world. Most people think that poker is just gambling. Well, it kind of is, but definitely not ONLY gambling. It’s not like everyone who plays poker are addicted gamblers. My mom always says that I should stop playing before it’s “too late” and often people boggle when they hear that I play poker regularly. I am really not an addict, haha!



* sng – sit and go tournament. Number of players and prize structure are known.

Eliisa Matsalu
Merilyn Viin


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