George Danzer had been a very successful professional poker player for several years before he finally won his first live tournament just last year.
Then, all of a sudden, it was like he couldn't lose.
Danzer put together the most successful year of his career last year with an extraordinary World Series of Poker performance few have matched.
When the smoke cleared after the WSOP APAC in Australia Danzer had won three WSOP bracelets outright along with the WSOP Player of the Year title.
As an added bonus, he was even named Poker's Best Ambassador at the European Poker Awards.
PokerListings caught up with Danzer at the EPT Grand Final earlier this month to talk about his phenomenal year, his move to Twitch, the Global Poker Masters and more.
PokerListings: Can you give us a quick recount of the most skyrocketing year of your career.
Good SCOOP = Good WSOP
George Danzer: I remember it clearly. It was a $1k + $1k bounty event and it was the first proper live tournament I won.
Before that I had only won in charity events or some tournaments with 50 Euro buy-in. After that it felt somehow like I now knew how to win.
The SCOOP afterwards went really well for me so when I went to the WSOP I already felt very good.
The SCOOP is the perfect dress rehearsal for the WSOP because you have all these big tournaments that have similar structures and also similar fields as in the WSOP.
Take the Mixed events for example. The $2k events in the SCOOP have about 60 to 80 players and then in Vegas there will be about 120 to 140 players.
Of course the live events take three days and the online event only one, but there you obviously get a lot more hands.
So if I run well in the SCOOP I’m optimistic for Vegas. Turns out that I won one and came second in another as well as second in the overall leaderboard.
And then it’s about a good start into the WSOP. My first event was the $10k 2-7 championship and I came fifth.
What a great start! Also, this makes everything easier because you know you already have your next couple of buy-ins secured.
In the second week I went deep in the Razz event. I generally think I should win some of these because in Razz it’s all about not tilting.
And everybody does, but I’ve played so many of them that I’m pretty relaxed. And so I won that one.
After a win and a fifth place everything else was a bonus. When I won a second bracelet it was just crazy. So crazy that I even took a day off. I hadn’t done that after the first one.
With that one-day break I was refreshed and ready to go into the $50k Players Championship, which for the players is the most important event of the series.
PL: At the end of the WSOP you were in a race for the Player of the Year title with Brandon Shack-Harris.
See-saw battle with Shack-Harris.
GD: Shack-Harris came second in the Players Championship and overtook me on the leaderboard so I had to go to Australia for the WSOP APAC.
We both cashed in the first event but I was one payout level ahead and reclaimed the lead.
Two events later we were at the same table and I lost a huge coin flip against him with A-K against tens.
So he topped the board again. Another two events later the same thing happens, only I win. But I didn’t run deep enough.
I missed on a payout level to move past him again. Luckily, I then won another bracelet to become number one again.
In the last events he went deeper than me. I had a big sweat when in the last event he had to come fourth to get me and I could only sit and watch.
So, it came down to the last tournament before I could take the title and it was some exciting summer last year.
PL: Did anything change in your life after becoming Player of the Year?
WSOP POY good for job security.
GD: When it comes to the PokerStars team, several players are gone who might have been good representatives of the game, but if you have the POY title it certainly gives you a special status in the team.
Of course you can never be 100% sure about your position, just like in any other job. It can always be over at any time.
But with that POY title I think I’ve done a pretty good job.
PL: Twitch is the new thing at the moment. What’s your motivation to become involved?
GD: Really I like doing it to stir up my daily routine. Online grinding can become pretty boring and solitary and with Twitch it becomes a lot more interactive.
You can get in contact with a lot of players. So I like the interactivity aspect, but I also like to give back a little.
I talk a little bit about strategy and I play a lot of Mixed Games on a lower level to familiarize players with other games than Hold’em.
I hope I can present a final table during the SCOOP. There, of course, it’ll mostly be a sweat for the viewers as I need to focus.
PL: People are already discussing the pitfalls of Twitch and that players like you give away too much information, so that new players get better faster. Is that true?
GD: Of course, it’s true, but it’s also correct to do that if you ask me.
To think that you have to keep the secrets of success so that you can earn more money is just not my philosophy at all.
Not giving away his 2-7 notes on Negreanu.
I think information should be available for everybody and then it’s up to you what you do with it.
As the good players can get hold of the same information it’s up to them to stay ahead. So everybody gets better simultaneously.
It’s not that only the bad players get better and the good players stay on the same level.
So I don’t accept any of these points. And the really good players are actually never the ones complaining.
The top players are quite confident. It’s the players who like to make it easy for themselves and work as little as possible who complain.
Of course, I can’t give away everything. On the highest levels of cash games I might have special tactics to play against specific players.
I can’t say for example how I play 2-7 versus Daniel Negreanu, because if he watches that he gains a big advantage but nobody else profits from it.
PL: Doesn’t Twitch open doors for scams? Like players at your table colluding against you?
GD: Not really. I’m always making sure the delay is long enough to account for time banks and disconnects, so nobody can see my cards before the hand is over.
Also, I’m using a hardware delay, meaning the data is sent with the delay from my computer. The delay is not anywhere else.
In the SCOOP, for example, I’m going to put a delay of roughly 15 minutes on.
(Editor’s note: George Danzer does all his streaming on Twitch in English. You can follow him here)
PL: You played in the Global Poker Masters in Malta. Do you think this is a team event that has potential?
GD: Yes. I think this one and the World Poker Cup in the Bahamas are the two team events that are good enough to stay.
In the Bahamas, the atmosphere in the tournament is always great. And in Malta it was like a question of honor.
And Best Poker Ambassador to boot.
Everybody knew each other and you just really didn’t want to get screwed over by anybody from a different team.
So it became very competitive in its own way. Not because of the money, but because you had a reputation to keep.
PL: Would you sacrifice two or three tournament days if the GPM came back? Maybe even to this place?
GD: I surely would. The problem is you have to qualify for it and that’s super hard in Germany. At the moment I think I wouldn’t even be in the top four.
(Editor’s note: Danzer is currently no 7 in the German GPI)
PL: Is there anything you would change in the GPM?
GD: There are only a couple of small things. And actually quite a few changes had already been made during the event.
The structure had to be tweaked a little, for example. The players sat together and told the organizers about changes to be made and they were listening well and acting fast.
It was very nice to see how the organizers weren’t stubborn but did what we told them, as the players generally know best what they need and want and what good structures are.