Lodden's Take on High Stakes

Johnny Lodden

There are just a handful of players on the planet who know the thrill of contesting the biggest pot in online poker history.

Having helped set the record back in the summer of 2006, Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden is one of them.

“It was pretty crazy,” said the 24-year-old Norwegian, who played under the screen name bad_ip at the time and found himself on the losing end of that $465,451 pot.

“I might have smashed my computer. I smashed a lot of computers back in the day.”

When Patrik Antonius and an unknown Swede calling himself Isildur1 tangled over $878,959 on Nov. 16, they set a new high-water mark online.

The Nordic nosebleeders beat Tom “durrrr” Dwan and Di “urindanger” Dang’s record of $723,000 set in October 2008 and less than a week later they were at it again, posting a new record for the largest pot ever played online at an amazing $1,356,947.

Dwan and Dang’s record-setting pot came at the peak of a flurry of action on the Full Tilt tables with John Juanda and Phil Ivey joining in to help break the record almost nightly.

But before the action-heavy Fall of 2008, Lodden’s record, which he shared with Swede Mohammad “Fast_Freddie” Kowssarie, stood for better than two years.

The record was set on the Prima Poker Network when Lodden got it all in with ace-nine against Kowssarie’s ace-jack with two aces on the board.

Lodden said they were well aware they were breaking new ground with every massive pot back in those days because the site’s $200/$400 games were clearly the biggest online.

Just 21 years old at the time, the only thing Lodden wasn’t aware of was the value of money.

“When you have the money online it’s different,” Lodden said. “If I had a briefcase in front of me with $3 million it would be a different thing. When you just have chips and numbers on a computer, you just treat it differently.”

While he has sat at the virtual felt with the likes of Antonius, Dwan and Ilari “ziigmund” Sahamies, Lodden has since stepped away from the high-stakes online scene.

However, like most of the poker world, he’s been paying close attention to the action of the last month as Isildur1 continues to set the agenda online and push his once record-setting pot even farther from the top of the all-time list.

In fact, Lodden said he sees a lot of similarities between the Swede and the man he was three years ago.

“I think he’s young and doesn’t understand the value of the cash,” he said. “But I love his No-Limit (Hold’em) game. I mean, he’s really good at (Pot-Limit Omaha) but he’s much better at No-Limit (Hold’em).”

Claiming the online high-stakes regulars are just too good these days, Lodden said he has no desire to take on Isildur1 and get back to breaking records. These days he’s squarely focused on the live tournament scene.

But can a man who’s played pots that would dwarf second-place money in most of the world’s biggest live events really stay motivated?

“Before it was hard,” he said. “Not anymore though. I really want to do well in live tournaments because this is the thing everybody cares about.

“I love to play tournaments, especially the EPTs and nowadays I’m not playing so high, so I have to grind it out in these.”

Lodden’s grind finds him in the Czech Republic this week for PokerStars EPT Prague. To follow his progress and comprehensive coverage of the entire event, click through to PokerListings’ Live Updates.

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