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Swede dreams: Tureniec expects success at FTP
It may come as a surprise that a Swede, Michael Tureniec, is one of the latest players enlisted in the battalion of Full Tilt pros.
Indeed, compared to neighboring rivals Norway and Denmark, Sweden doesn't seem to have produced many poker superstars.
Tureniec may not be a household name yet, but he's recognized as one of Sweden's true up-and-comers since finishing second at PokerStars.com European Poker Tour London to Michael Martin for over £500,000.
Just over a month later he followed up that showing by winning the €1,000 rebuy at the Amsterdam Masters Classic for over €150,000.
Now he's the first Swedish player to be sponsored by Full Tilt Poker.
"They offered me a great deal and I saw it as a step in the right direction for my poker career," Tureniec said. "It felt really good, and it's of course a great honor to be the first Swede to sign for them."
By his own admission, he was not really a live-tournament player before his big results, preferring to make his money online.
"Before the EPT London I didn't have too much success in live tournaments; I had some cashes in side events, though. I played mostly online and had a few $40k cashes as my biggest results. It was really exciting since it was my first major live final table, a lot of money at stake and so many great players to face."
Certainly, the 2008 EPT London final was one of the toughest in a long time, featuring serial EPT finalists Anthony Lellouche and Johannes Strassman, plus bracelet winner Alan Smurfit. As well, Michael Martin and Eric "Peachy Keen" Liu were in the running.
Martin eventually triumphed thanks to winning that last crucial race against Tureniec with 4-4 vs. K-9.
Tureniec's plan now is to focus on all the tournaments that have provided him with so much recent success.
"My plan for this year is to play most or all of the EPTs, WSOP and the Irish Open," he told PokerListings. "Online I'm going to play both tournaments and cash games. My standard game is definitely tournaments, but I might throw in the odd cash game every now and then."
Like everyone else, though, he's always got one eye on the jewel in the crown, the WSOP Main Event, for obvious reasons. "[An event with] deep stacks, good structure and a lot of inexperienced players is always nice to play ..."
Tureniec's Swedish heritage automatically garners him a reputation as bluffy and super aggressive - the common wisdom being that the Swedes are the most aggressive of all the Nordic countries.
"I think Swedish players were the first of the Nordic countries to play a very aggressive style of poker," Tureniec said. "Many people probably still see Swedes as the most aggressive players, even though I think it's a tie nowadays [among] the Nordic countries."
Tureniec also thinks there are other Swedes poised to make it big in the poker world.
"There´s not too many Swedes that play a lot of live tournaments even though we have a lot of great players," he said. "If I had to pick one it would probably be Mats Iremark, who won EPT Deauville in 2006."
For now, Tureniec might just be the man to post the blue-and-yellow flag firmly on the map again and end the dearth of Swedish tourney winners.