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Jonas Mackoff: "There are Always the Cards, and Everybody Makes Mistakes"
With $2.4 million in online cashes and a PockerFives ranking as high as #43 in the world, Vancouver's Jonas “donut604” Mackoff is no stranger to high-end poker.
He's been pretty particular about how he spends his time on the live circuit, though, and up until recently had spent most it playing in Canada or at the World Series.
In August Mackoff crossed the pond for EPT Barcelona and he's been on the Euro circuit since, hitting up EPT London, the Battle of Malta, France, Austria and now Eureka/EPT Prague.
The old world seems to suit him as he's racked up four final tables, a side event win for £30k at EPT London and, most recently, a 4th-place finish in the Eureka Main Event in Prague for €81,000.
He'll try and keep his Euro success going until early January before he'll head to the PCA in the Bahamas - surprisingly for the first time. PokerListings met Mackoff for a pint and a little lighthearted chat on his experiences so far this trip.
PokerListings: Looking forward to the Bahamas to get out of the bad weather?
Jonas Mackoff: I’m looking forward to it mostly because it sounds like a lot of fun, and although I’ve been playing so many years I’ve never actually been there.
It sounds like a lot of fun, but then maybe it isn’t.
PL: Why do you say that?
JM: I like the tournaments in Europe because you usually get a lot of local players, which makes the fields very soft.
I don’t know how many locals actually play the PCA.
PL: Pretty sure not many.
JM: Right. So almost everybody there will be a poker player, either a professional or an online qualifier. That’s going to be a very tough field.
PL: Among other places, you went to Malta. Honestly, would you have found the island on a map beforehand?
JM: (laughs) This might be embarrassing, but at first I mistook Cyprus for Malta. But I made it to the right place and I took the chance to check it out a little on the days off.
I liked the island a lot. Also, I met some friends and made some friends, partly because Maria (Ho), who was a very good host and is also a friend of mine, introduced me to a couple of people.
PL: How do you know Maria?
JM: I’m very good friends with her ex-boyfriend and they both used to live in Vancouver at the time, where I come from, too.
So Maria was telling a lot of people in Vancouver that she was going to be the host of the event and said it would be cool if many people came over.
She also said it would be a really cool event and she was right, I enjoyed it very much.
PL: It’s probably tough to say no to Maria.
JM: Yep. No, seriously, she’s always very nice and very generous, so if she's going somewhere with a business perspective as a host, I really want to support her.
PL: So, with the soft tournaments in Europe and the Battle of Malta mainly played by amateurs, I wonder why you didn’t make it very deep.
JM: Ha ha. Well, I had a pretty big stack at the beginning of Day 2 but then I might have taken some questionable spots to try and put pressure on people.
Actually, I probably most definitely did. But then that’s just how tournaments go. Even if you might be better than someone else there are always the cards, and everybody makes mistakes.
However the tournament was really well organized and I liked the vibe. It seemed a little more casual than most tournaments I play.
Look at this EPT. I mean it’s a great tournament, but I was sitting at my table for one and a half hours and there were almost no words spoken.
At the Battle everybody was really trying to have a good time; people were drinking beer and had fun which made it great to play there.
It was still well-organized and the concept of combining poker and a vacation works very nicely and attracts a good crowd.
PL: Your live winnings are mostly from tournaments with a medium or lower buy-in. Is that part of your live poker strategy?
JM: I mostly played in Canada and at the Word Series. And as there are a lot of $1,000 and 1,500s, and these are obviously the softest ones, I concentrate on them.
I would like to add some $3k or $5k buy-in events but the schedule at the World Series is crammed. There is always a $1k or a $1.5k the next day so it’s difficult to squeeze the other ones in.
On a side note, just because you haven’t seen my cashes in the $10k main event, doesn’t necessarily mean I haven’t played it. I played it six times, to be honest. I just haven’t cashed yet.
PL: What are the lasting impressions you are going to take with you back to Canada?
JM: What impressed me a lot is the architecture. I went to the countryside in Spain and you find all these buildings that are over a thousand years old.
In Canada, and in all of North America, nothing is older than a couple of hundred years. And then you get all these different languages and cultures in a relatively small space, compared to Canada.
As far as my favorite places go I don’t want to single anything out, but I went to Vienna for Fedor Holz’ WCOOP party, which was great.
I liked Amsterdam a lot, and Malta was fascinating for its amazing cultural history, too.
PL: What about living over here, then?
JM: Well, my mom told me not to fall in love with a girl over there, ‘cause I wouldn’t come back and she couldn’t talk to me anymore,' so for now I’m afraid I can’t.