Fredrik Haugen: Barely Legal

The Champion
The Champion of the 2006 CPC

Eighteen-year-old Fredrik Haugen shocked the crowd here today by weathering the storm of the final table and crushing runner-up Martin Wiklund in a decisive heads-up victory. Haugen is in his last year of high school in his native Sweden, and although he isn't even legal to gamble in most parts of the world, he outlasted the other 155 competitors to take home first place and a sizable chunk of cash.

Congratulations Fredrik, you played a great heads-up match. Why don't we start by talking a bit about how you got here and how the event, as a whole, went for you.

Fredrik Haugen

Well, I started with a $20 satellite, a double shoot-out on Interpoker, and I won a seat in a $400 double shoot-out with 19 participants and only one winner. I won that and that was the biggest win ever for me. I came here with no real expectations. If I get in the money, it's just a bonus. I had great cards, and I played well. I had some bad luck a few times, but I had a good flow for the whole tournament.

Most of the players in this event qualified online. Do you think that affected the over-all caliber of play?

I think the players were worse than in most tournaments (laughs), because I met a lot of players who weren't good at all, and they even made it into the money, and they played very bad poker.

Fredrik Haugen

Let's talk a bit about the final table. You never held a really dominant position in terms of chips but you made it down to three and went into heads-up in great shape. Take us through the way this final table went for you.

I had respect for the other players, but I wasn't really afraid of anyone. I felt like I could win this event. I got some reads on some of the players, so I played differently than I'm used to.

You guys made a deal to chop the pot earlier, obviously you didn't know you were going to win then but what motivated you to chop it in the first place?

Let's Make a Deal

I don't regret the deal. If I hadn't made the deal I would have made $100,000 more but I felt like it was a fair deal for everyone. To be guaranteed $120,000 instead of $85,000 was a fair deal.

Tell me about the heads-up match; you controlled a lot of the action. Tell us about Martin Wiklund and how you felt playing against him.

Martin Wiklund

I think he was pretty tight and aggressive, so I managed to bluff him a couple times. In the heads-up I really felt like I could win, and I felt like I was better than him. I don't know if I am, but you have to have confidence.

Tell us a bit about your background and your interests.

Outside of poker my interests are definitely sports, football and floorball. I've always played five-card draw but I got into Hold'em about two and a half years ago, I found it on the Internet and played for play money. Now I play No-limit, pretty low-limit, blinds of 25/50 cents. I've never won any big amounts of money until now, but someday I would like it to be an occupation. I'm a student now. I'm in my last year of high school. I study society with a bit of economy. I'm going to take a year off and then go to college.

Great, congratulations again Fredrik and good luck.

* * * * * * * * * * *

When the final table got down to three players they struck a deal based on the chip stacks at the time. Interestingly, Pete Willy was in the lead and got the biggest slice of the pot, $165,000, but was the first of the three to bite the dust. Haugen was the short-stack when the chop was agreed upon and he ended up taking first place. The players left $22,000 on the table which would go to the winner and they chopped the rest. Money aside, all three players didn't ease up after the chop and Fredrik played a solid game, coming back from the short-stack to topple his two opponents.

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