Johnny Lodden may not be a household name among poker fans in North America but here on the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour he's the paradigm of the unrelenting Scandinavian rounder.
Lodden dominated the biggest of the big games online, allegedly under the screen name Bad_IP, but has reportedly suffered a crushing downswing that has all but obliterated his astounding bankroll. Few players are more entertaining to watch in action and it's a shame he's so far missed his opportunity to play before television audiences on the EPT.
Thrice Lodden has made it into the top 20 only to go broke before reaching the final eight. Here at the EPT4 Monte Carlo Grand Final he's built up a stack that will easily take him to the final 16; whether he can take things one step further is up to him and the way the cards fall tomorrow.
On the last break of Day 3 we pulled him aside for his first PL.com interview.
Lodden: I Just Play My Game
This tournament has been going really smoothly for you so far. You've had chips pretty much the whole time and today you were able to take the lead. Tell us a bit about how your Day 3 has gone.
I've just being playing really relaxed, getting most of my chips just by picking up the dead pots. I was down to about $310,000 but I won a huge pot when another guy made a really bad play.
After that I was just picking up the dead money and stealing some blinds to get up over $500,000.
It seems like a lot of time on the EPT there isn't a ton of dead money to be had. Has that been different for you here?
Well, the table I'm on now has like three or four really aggressive players so I'm not able to do as much of that. Earlier on though, it seemed like everyone just wanted to relax and get used to the table, so I [was able to] pick up a lot of small pots.
The bubble's usually the best time to pick up blinds and small pots. Since today's bubble lasted for over two hours were you able to take advantage of that to chip up a bit?
No, actually I didn't. I was down like $60,000 during the bubble until I picked up a pot when a guy tried to bluff me.
I think I played pretty badly on the bubble actually. It was so long I was starting to go on semi-tilt. I just wanted it to end.
You've played a lot of EPT events and you've made it deep on numerous occasions. Despite this you haven't made a final table. How much would it mean to you for your first one to be here at the Grand Final?
It would be really nice. It is very important to me to make a final table and to do it here would be great.
Since you've been at this stage a lot and missed the finale a few times, is there anything you've learned that you're going to do different this time around or is it just a matter of playing your game?
No, I've definitely learned from the past. I've learned that I really need to slow down at times. Before I've just bombed away all my chips and ended up on tilt.
Last year I had the same stack in this event and I tilted it away. I'm not going to do the same thing again this year.
In the last while you've had a pretty big downswing online. Do you feel like you've been playing well and are still playing well now or were there other things that had to do with it?
I just play my game. I really do know that I'm a good player. On the EPTs especially I've been very unlucky. I've had a hard time, not winning many coin flips, but things are going really well here.
It feels like things are turning around and I hope it keeps going that way.
Thanks Johnny and good luck.
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It's easy to see that Johnny Lodden has the experience and temperament to make it through the run of bad luck he's recently been experiencing. Downswings notwithstanding, he's been playing amazing poker since the start of this event and looks poised to make a deep run here at the most prestigious tournament this side of the pond. Tune in to PL.com for the remainder of this event to track his progress.