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Jens Kyllönen: Viktor Blom is a Better Overall Player Than Phil Ivey
It’s hard to dislike online poker pro Jens “Jeans89” Kyllönen.
The Finnish pro seems to enjoy his life more than the average poker pro and is quickly turning into poker’s most interesting man in the world.
Consider that Kyllönen is one of the biggest online winners ever, had 100% of himself in the 2012 $1 million Big One for One Drop, won EPT Copenhagen in 2009 and even purchased a ticket into space a couple years ago.
This year Kyllönen made news again when he was the target of what appeared to be an advanced hacking scheme in Barcelona.
While Kyllönen tends to stick to online poker he did make the trip to play the 2014 WSOP Main Event and we caught up with him on a break.
PokerListings.com: First of all we missed you in the Big One for One Drop this year. How come you decided not to play it?
Jens Kyllönen: There were a few reasons. One is the tax situation. Two years ago when I played it, we were still paying taxes our PokerStars and Full Tilt winnings. I was up a few million that year so I could deduct it if I lost.
Now PokerStars and Full Tilt are tax free in Finland so it’s not really a great deal for me to play the Big One. There was just no way.
I don’t think I would have played it anyways. I’m more of a PLO player.
PL: What did you think of the tournament this year? Did you follow it at all?
Just a little bit, not too much.
PL: Did it make you wish you played?
No [laughs]. I’m OK with not playing. I think the first one was much more memorable to play in. It was a historic event. If it’s every two years it’s not quite the same. Obviously it’s a big deal with the $1 million buy-in but it won’t be as big of a deal.
PL: Do you think the poker industry can even support an event that big on a regular basis?
That’s a good question. I think the money will be distributed pretty evenly amongst all the pros. Obviously everyone is selling so much of themselves that I think they can run it every two years as long as recreational players keep entering.
PL: Everyone has been following what happened to you in Barcelona. Do you have an update to share with us?
No. Not really. It’s kind of unfortunate.
Initially they told me the guys' faces were caught on camera. When I took my laptop to F-Secure in Finland they obviously found a Trojan. One of the specialists was convinced he would be able to track it back to the source but he needed assistance from the authorities.
It was very disappointing.
PL: That was a really scary situation. Has it changed the way you travel to poker tournaments?
Not too much but I don’t travel to a lot of live tournaments, anyways. I mostly play online. It’s kind of weird because you always read about these kinds of situations and see them portrayed in movies but you never really think it will happen to you.
It was shocking when it happened but to be honest I don’t think there’s too much you can do differently. I guess you shouldn’t bring a laptop you play poker on. It’s not really a big deal for me.
PL: You refer to yourself as a “Dinosaur” in poker years on Twitter. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in poker over the last 5-6 years?
It’s evolved a ton. It keeps getting tougher every year. There are less recreational players. There was a time when you could get a regular on tilt and he would spew a lot of money but that doesn’t happen anymore.
It’s getting tougher and tougher to beat the games so everyone has to step up their game.
PL: Do you still really enjoy poker?
Yeah for sure I do. With the tax situation in Finland it’s really questionable if these live tournaments are even +EV for me to play but it’s a good experience. I do enjoy the challenge of online poker and actually beating them. You just can’t beat the games for us much anymore.
It’s more for the challenge these days.
PL: How has it been going for you online?
Very good. I posted a graph on Twitter awhile ago. I’m up about $700,000 this year. I’ve been a bit surprised myself. The games are so tough and I’ve been beating them pretty hard. I have been running a little bit hot too.
PL: What happened to the trip to space you purchased in 2012? Is is still happening?
Yes it is. They keep postponing it but the first one should take off this year. I’m 450th in the queue so it will probably take at least a year after their first flight before I go. Hopefully I’ll make it up there at some point.
PL: I read that you consider Viktor Blom a better overall player than Phil Ivey. Is that true?
Yeah. I have a hard time imagining why it would not be true. Whenever Viktor sits online in any game there are only like two players in the entire world who will sit with him.
When Phil Ivey sits 2-7 Limit or Triple Draw Heads-Up Limit I think there would be way more players. I think Viktor is learning very quickly. I don’t see why he wouldn’t be better than Phil Ivey at this point.