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Johannes Strasssmann has been playing poker for seven years and he's learned a thing or two in that time. He's learned that it takes a balanced lifestyle to be truly happy. Strassmann now travels more than ever but he does it for fun, not poker.
My name is Johannes Strassman. I live currently in Vienna since three years already. And I'm playing poker professionally since around seven years. I started actually with a very small deposit of 5 dollars and worked my way all the way up to the highest limits online. I'm also a heads up cash game player, I also like to play tournaments and [inaudible 00:00:23] And life poker is actually my specialty because I can use my reading abilities.
Basically in 2000 I picked up life tournaments and it was a very interesting and inspiring time in my life because I did a lot of traveling. Just after a while I sensed, all of this tournament circuit life is not so much for me. I'd rather prefer traveling to non-poker related events and then for the most time just play cash games at home. And with cash culture, it was a great experience as well. It was my first start up that I ever did and I learned a lot about how to set up the business, how to actually get it running. It wasn't that great of a success, but I'm very happy anyway that I did it. Because it will really help me in the future to set a company of my own.
Basically, the whole life poker scene is pretty small, you will meet the same regulars pretty frequently. Just when you are over there you have work almost all the time in your head. And mostly you're not there for vacation. So it's worked for the most degree. And the variance is very huge in the tournaments. You have a lot of costs for the holders and everything else. So I actually, I take it as a small lottery when I go there, that actually has a positive expectation for me. When I participate, just right now, the variance in tournament poker is very big. The best players, they obviously play around 100 tournaments a year or even more. And they're around the world two, to three hundred days. I know ElkY and Marvin Rettenmaier pretty well. Then basically your whole lifestyle and your whole thoughts will just surround around tournament poker. And that's just not for me, I am really looking into a lot of other things in my life. Sports, my friends, my family, and spending a lot of quality time at home working on my self-development.
Well, I got very lucky to discover Poker. Poker is unique in the sense that you are very independent very free, you have a lot of money at a young age for not working that hard. So It can be overwhelming when you first get into it and I can actually say I have grown so much by having the opportunity to schedule my time how ever I wanted. And to be able to have a lot of money to travel wherever I like and do the things I really want. And to develop myself in business as well. So I feel Poker has been a great stepping stone in order to become completely independent, free, and you could say free thinker in a way.
By far the most money I have made in heads up cash games online. Because I played them since 2007. Nowadays, unfortunately, the action has dried up a lot. So when I'm with my main accounts online, no one will almost play me and everyone would sit out except the best players online. So there the win rates will be very small, and the variance is going to be very high. So I've been switching over more and more to Pot Limit Omaha and I'm also switching more over to play more Life Catch games. I play the most at Kings Casino and Park [inaudible 00:03:30]. It's y favorite casino in the world. The service is excellent, I have very high cash games, I know the owner well. So overall I've been transitioning a little bit more to PLO and to Life Cash games. I'm looking into open-face Chinese poker pretty soon.
That's actually what I enjoy the most about poker. To actually meet a lot of interesting people who are very diverse who come from different backgrounds, who have a different story to tell. So I'm often playing with a lot of really successful businessmen because when you play high stakes and there is a lot of money involved, obviously only people who actually are successful in the real world can afford to play those games. And I've learned a lot by interacting with them, and it has been a really good exchange for me to go on a personal level as a businessman. And secondly, it's interesting to talk to a lot of other young poker players, who are looking to develop themselves. Who are using poker as more of a stepping stone to set up themselves a bigger career in the long run. And I, for myself, I really have defined what I want later on and that's more to step away from Poker and do something where I'm really fully involved with my heart something that really has a bigger impact on the world than just playing a card game. Although Poker is an amazing game, and it's a great hobby. I just feel for a living, I don't want to play it all my life.
While the most obvious change an online poker room can make in order that it's more competitive is to limit a amount of tables. So let's say you only have 6 tables and it's more of a king-of-the-hill so the strongest players are only going to survive. And you basically will have to fight for tables. That is going to be a really good change. Another thing that comes to mind, I understand completely that nowadays a lot of players are looking more for the edge because poker has been getting more tough. The edges are getting ore slim. Because of all the knowledge that is out there. And as another party that is less money coming into the system. Because a lot of rich guys, they are just playing live poker and they are not that interested in spewing away their money online. So the landscape is changing and people are getting older more experienced and they are looking for more financial security as well. So I completely respect that. Just from a standpoint for myself. I really like playing against almost any regulars. I might avoid ten players or so online. So it's definitely a good change, for me personally, if they would limit a number of tables and, therefore, force extra on the higher limits.
Yeah, online poker regulations in Germany and worldwide is pretty hard to estimate. In Germany it seems to be more regulated by the government and worldwide what will happen in the US market or China, we can only see trends and I'm not completely up to date anymore to make the really good educated statement. I'm not an expert in that matter. It's more when you're really deep into the poker industry and to do a lot of business behind the scenes. And I'm no longer in that world that I can really make a educated guess. It's great if they would make a tax fee for professional players, but that's not going to happen. Secondly it would be really good if they implement a plan to actually make poker more privately open. That other casinos can grow next to the governmental ones. Because live poker in Germany is actually very small. There are not a lot of great casinos there. There are only the governmental ones and they're really old fashioned and it's not like this cool, relaxed American style when you go to Vegas. You're not going to have fun there in those places. And the games are very small and it's not enjoyable to play live poker. So I personally would wish for them to make a law change and give the licenses to responsible casino owners in Germany.
[inaudible 00:07:47] winning the WSP's main event definitely was a breakthrough in Germany. And for a small period of time, everyone talked about poker. And I'm sure it attracted a lot more young players into poker getting interested in making such a big amount of money in such a short period of time. Right now Poker in Germany is stable. So it's well known that they are professionals who can earn a living with it. And it's socially accepted. It's not anymore this image that only gangsters, hustlers and drug dealers are playing it. It's more like an every day's game. It's not yet up to the American standard where it's played everywhere, just it's well received and recognized.
The experience coaching Peter [inaudible 00:08:33] was definitely a really good one. And I feel I was able to contribute a little to his victory by just giving him a little bit of mental advice, helping him out by offering a good manager, a good coach with Mike McDonald who prepared him with the ICM for the final table. And just giving him the experience of how it is to play at such a big final table. I feel he did tremendously great job on his own, so everything to [inaudible 00:00:07] for winning the WSP main event and withstanding the pressure. Because it's a very intense situation when you're there and it can only be imagined under what pressure you are right before there. When you know the difference basically between making a good decision can be worth millions. And you might never have the opportunity in your whole life again to make that much money.
Right now if someone wants to really become a professional poker player, I would give them the following advice. First off be very disciplined. I have seen a lot of very talented players failing because they didn't have proper bankroll management, they don't have any good diet, sports, life balance you could say. And that way they really tilted a lot and lost all of their money. Another thing to be considerate about is to actually self-educate yourself besides the poker table because poker is not your whole life. You're not going to get happy just by playing poker. So really maintain contact to your friends, to your family, and work on yourself, work on sports, have a hobby next to poker that balances you out. And as a third one, look into how long poker will be profitable. If you're not a big talent right now, better not start playing professionally because the games are getting tougher. Everything is getting more professional. So know what you really get yourself into and be prepared to work hard, work your ass off, and then you can still make a good amount of money. Just don't expect it's going to be easy.