George Danzer touched down in Australia for WSOP Asia-Pacific with one very distinct goal: win the 2014 WSOP Player of the Year.
It's not exactly new territory for Danzer as he's been known to dominate online poker series including WCOOP and SCOOP but this is the first time he's been close to finishing on top of a live poker series.
This year’s 2014 WSOP Player of the Year race could end up being one of the most exciting ever with Danzer trailing Brandon Shack-Harris by a scant 7.2 points.
Even a min-cash would be enough to give Danzer the lead so it’s all-out grind time for anyone in the top five.
PokerListings caught up with Danzer on Day 1a of the first event of the series, the $1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Accumulator, to get his thoughts on the race and whether he can catch Shack-Harris.
PokerListings.com: How big a deal is WSOP Player of the Year to you? Is it the main reason you came to Australia?
George Danzer: Yeah. It’s probably the only reason [laughs]. There are so many tournaments here that I won’t have any free time to do anything else.
I’m coming back in January to actually see the sights.
This time I’m here to play the 10 tournaments and grind as much as I can. Get as many points as I can and hope that’s enough to win it.
PL: You’ve obviously done very well in online series, winning several POY titles, so how does this experience compare?
It’s similar. The SCOOP is comparable to the WSOP in Las Vegas, just with the amount of time you spend playing poker.
It doesn’t matter if it’s in front of the PC or at the table. I like live a little better because you can talk to the other players. You’re not alone at home.
It’s similar though. It’s a lot of work and you don’t get very many breaks.
If you’re doing well than it feels really good. If you’re not running so good than the grind is hard.
I enjoy playing a tournament every day though instead of having to travel. It’s a compressed schedule. It’s just a couple of weeks and then I can relax after that. I like it when it’s one tournament after the other without breaks.
PL: You are very close to the current POY leader Brandon Shack-Harris. Does that change your playing style? Will you be aiming for the min-cash?
I don’t think it changes a lot because I’m well prepared.
I played the WCOOP. I’ve played a lot of tournaments. I’ve seen all the situations. I was a little rusty after the WSOP but now I’m back in the zone.
I’m going to play this the same way I played WCOOP and try to not make mistakes. That doesn’t mean I’m going to play tight but I’m not going to give away any chips for free.
When it gets close to the bubble - well, I’m quite tight on the bubble anyways because I’m an ICM player. The math dictates you play tight.
It won’t change anything. Maybe if there’s a final table and we are both there that might change something.
It would have to be a very specific situation. If we both make a min cash than we have the exact same number as before. It doesn’t really matter.
I’m just trying to get as far as possible in every tournament I play.
PL: Are you feeling a lot of pressure?
Not any more than just going to the WSOP. Every tournament has a nice amount of pressure. The POY race is just a little extra incentive to come to Australia.
When I’m playing a tournament I play every hand on it’s own. I don’t plan ahead. I just play hand-for-hand.
Then I look at the results and I’m either happy or sad. I’m just playing my style.
PL: Will you be sweating Brandon Shack-Harris closely?
I’m pretty much just concentrating on my game but I’ll keep an eye on them if they pick up some chips. If it’s a big tournament the Accumulator than I’m not going to bother finding them.
If it’s a mixed game tournament with three tables than I’m obviously going to be taking a look at the stacks.
PL: You were born in Brazil but grew up in Germany. How conflicted were you during the World Cup this summer when Germany smashed Brazil 7-1?
The thing I was born in Brazil but I actually grew up in Germany and Portugal so I have three countries to watch. When they play each other I’m very conflicted.
The good thing is that I always get somebody going deep in every world cup but it’s difficult when they play each other.
It depends what year it is and what the team is like. I figure out who I’m really rooting for. For example this year I didn’t like Portugal at all. The team was just a mess. Cristiano Ronaldo is too cocky. I didn’t like the team at all.
I was rooting for Brazil and Germany and when they played each other… I don’t even know.
I was just happy it was over and someone was through to the finals. I was sad and happy at the same time.