It's Thursday night in Marbella, Spain, and Sweden's Ken Lennaárd sits at the €5/€10 cash-game table at Casino Marbella.
A regular on the poker scene for close to 20 years Lennaárd has shifted a lot of his action from Stockholm down to the Costa del Sol over the past couple of years.
Mostly, he says, because he can't bear another Swedish winter. The games, for the most part, also have their upside.
Poker Must Be Fun for Rec Players
PokerListings is on location in Marbella for the 888Live Local event and managed to lure him away from the table for a few thoughts.
Just for a couple of minutes, though, because in Spain they make you pay the blinds even if you’re away from the table.
PokerListings: Why are you living down here, Ken?
Ken Lennaárd: I don’t really live here but I spend a lot of time on the Costa del Sol.
It has its name for a reason. You find the best weather in Europe here, and I can’t stand bad weather anymore.
PL: It’s raining.
KL: I know, but they have 220 days of sun here every year and I’ve spent too many winters in Sweden.
The sun goes down at two o’clock and if you play poker you don’t get to see the sun for months. It’s ridiculous.
I know Marbella from two Swedish championships I played here in the 1990s and my wife has a childhood friend who lives here; that’s why we picked this place.
PL: You’re playing the 888Live Local event here. Are these lower buy-in events interesting for professionals, or is there not enough money in it?
KL: There are different aspects to consider. The higher the buy-in, the tougher the field. And the better the structure, the more you have an advantage as a pro.
However it comes to a point where the structure is too good, so you’re just wasting a lot of time, and you have to turn to the cash games to make money.
On the other hand, from a professional’s point of view, you can’t play low buy-in tournaments only and expect to survive so there won’t be too many pros in these events.
PL: 888poker is combining poker with sports and cultural events. Do you think this is a possible way to bring more players into the game?
KL: The key to successfully building a poker community is to make the recreational players have fun because you’re competing against restaurants, night clubs, golf, etc.
So anything that adds value in the field of entertainment is definitely a good thing.
PL: Then 888poker is on the right track. They're growing, and they’ve been successful with their live events series.
KL: I don’t know if golf, partying, or chess is the best option to take but everything is worth trying.
And at the end of the day you will find something the recreational players really like. 888poker are getting there.
The Battle of Malta is a perfect example. It’s fun, it has a nice venue, it’s well run, has a good structure, so lots of recreational players love to go there.
They found the right balance and so they perfectly deserved to win the European Poker Award for the best tournament of the year.
PL: So are you going to be there, too, this year?
KL: Absolutely! I think it’s probably the best tournament of the year.
PL: You’ve been very active as a blogger for PokerListings. Don’t you ever run out of ideas?
KL: No. I’ve always been a very passionate student of life. I’m very observant and I’ve been playing poker for many years and with all the best players around.
That’s why I’m never short of stories. I could actually write a lot more. I’m stockpiling up ideas as I also want to write more about current events.
For example I want to write about the 888poker event here in Marbella and about a certain slowroll at the Irish Open.
PL: Do you think that was an accident?
KL: I don’t think it was an accident but I think he didn’t know what he was doing.
He was definitely slowrolling but he didn’t understand that what he did was bad etiquette.