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Niki Jedlicka: "Everything Less Than $100k Was Like Play Money to Me"
Vienna-based high-stakes poker player Niki "KaiBuxxe/RealAndyBeal" Jedlicka is a living legend in the German-speaking poker scene.
In 2007 he made $3.5 million profit in just five months playing online high stakes under the KaiBuxxe handle on Full Tilt Poker.
Despite subsequently losing up to $4.4m playing under his own screen name since, Jedlicka's still held on to the mystique he earned with that first online success.
Rumors of ultra-high PLO cash games, long trips and an unconventional lifestyle only furthered the legend.
Jedlicka has popped up on the live scene from time to time over the years and although he didn’t intend to play at this past week's EPT Vienna he rediscovered his love for NLHE watching some friends play in the Eureka Poker Tour main event.
He ended up buying in and coming second in the Eureka High Roller event. PokerListings caught up with him at the Hofburg Palace to find out more.
PokerListings: Niki you haven’t been at an EPT for ages. What made you come to the Hofburg Palace?
Niki Jedlicka: Originally, I just wanted to check out the location. Then I saw so many familiar faces in the Eureka Main Event that I began to feel like playing myself. I registered for the High Roller…
PL: …and you ended it as the runner-up behind Eugene Katchalov. He is one of the best live players in the world. Did you think you were lacking some experience to keep up?
NJ: I’ve always used my instincts a lot when I play. Also, with all due respect, I don’t consider him a better live player than me.
PL: You became a millionaire at the age of 20 and you never went broke. Are you still motivated to play?
NJ: I never studied a lot of poker theory and my bankroll management was probably terrible.
However, I could always rely on my talent and my ambitions. Poker was often not about money for me but about dominating the opponent with high-class poker.
PL: There has been a private high-limit PLO game during the EPT. Surely you couldn’t miss that?
NJ: Of course not. We’ve been playing several nights till five o’clock in the morning. The stakes were €50/€100, later also €100/€200.
I did pretty well. That’s all I’m saying.
PL: That’s your thing, isn’t it? High-stakes PLO. What does a private game have to offer to make it interesting?
NJ: The limits have to be pretty high. But it's also about fun. If there are two or three guys in the game who can’t afford to lose, the "oh so good" vibes disappear quickly.
PL: Do you enjoy being a living legend? You’ve been taking millions off top players before most of today’s players even knew poker.
NJ: This has always been greatly exaggerated. And being famous is relative in the online world.
Still, during this week I was approached twice by complete strangers. It’s been a long time since anything like this has happened to me.
PL: If you look at all the young players now don’t you feel like a being from another time?
NJ: Yes, I do a little. Poker made me rich very early. After 2007 I felt like I was permanently freerolling.
PL: Wouldn’t more money also give you more options in life?
NJ: Actually, I am thinking about that. There were times when everything less than $100,000 was like play money for me.
Currently I'm refurbishing my new apartment with some very exclusive, expensive furniture. So I’m thinking in terms of winning that special closet or this rare kitchen table.
PL: What’s your future going to be?
NJ: It's too late for me to learn a proper job. At the moment I’m mostly travelling and taking care of my investments. Now and again I play a little poker.
But I’m also planning a new project, I can’t really talk about it for now.
PL: Are you going to the WSOP this summer?
NJ: I hate Vegas. I was there only once – two days in autumn. The World Series will – again – have to do without me.