Interview: InterPoker's Poker Manger, Henrik Nielsson
THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2007-08-26, by TwoGunThis week, we were fortunate to chat with Henrik Nielsson, InterPoker's Poker Manager. Nielsson sat down and talked to us about the inner workings of the online poker industry.
PokerTips.org: How long have you been working in the online gaming industry?
Nielsson: The 18th of February 1998 was my first day at a newly started company named Boss Media, so 9½ years. I guess that makes me a veteran. It was all casinos back then. The poker rooms came later.
PokerTips.org: How did you get involved with InterPoker?
Nielsson: I used to work for another big operator here in London, and InterPoker called and asked me if I was interested in the role as Head of Poker. After giving the offer some thought, I accepted and haven't looked back since. It's a great company to work for; young, professional with a lot of energy. I'm the third oldest person in the company and I'm 36 years old.
PokerTips.org: How does working for an online poker company differ from working a standard 9-5 job?
Nielsson: I've been in the industry for so long so I can't really remember how it is to have an ordinary 9-5 job, but I think there are some differences. One of the most notable ones is that the operation never stops, and it's my responsibility to keep things running, so you are always on some sort of stand by. The second one is that you meet a lot of people that you would never meet otherwise, many of them quite eccentric; professional players, a lot of wannabees, smart businessmen, dodgy businessmen, and just outright characters. One thing is for sure, I never get bored.
PokerTips.org: What promotions does InterPoker have lined up for players?
Nielsson: We do our best to cater to all players. If we start with the beginner players, we have a welcome match bonus up to $100/£50/€75, which is really easy to clear. Once you get in the loop and play some more you can take part of the Double Bite where you can make up to an extra $800/£400/€100 a month. Every Sunday 19:30 (UK) we run a $6000 CPC freeroll for all the players that make 500 or more MPP's in that week.
For tournament players, we have plenty of guaranteed tournaments and between Sept. 8-16th we will run Golden Cup Series of Poker II with $1,000,000 in guaranteed money.
For top players, we have the Platinum Club that provides extra service and incentives. Promotions like play your way challenges, big rakeback deals, $1000/£500 Double Bite offer, dedicated support person, booking of hotels, tournaments, special invite Platinum parties, Football weekends etc. etc.
PokerTips.org: How many free seats do you expect to give away to this year's Caribbean Poker Classic?
Nielsson: We will run our $400k CPC Freeroll Nov. 8th 20:15 (UK) where we give away 70 CPC packages. The qualification series is running as we speak.
Second, we will also run a weekly CPC Freeroll for all players that accumulate more than 500 MPP's in a week. We have thrown in $2000 in cash prizes for good measure.
So in the end, there will be more than a 100 free seats to fight for.
PokerTips.org: Why did InterPoker replace the "Reload Revolution" promotion with the "Double Bite" promotion?
Nielsson: Reload Revolution was a great promo, but we ran it for such a long time, six months to be specific. Every promotion get's a little bit stale in the end, so we decided to come up with something new. We thought the Double Bite will do the job and the response from our players so far has been great.
PokerTips.org: What do you think makes InterPoker unique?
Nielsson: I think there are quite a few things combined. First, we are the most generous site out there when it comes to promotions aimed at [various types of] players. Welcome bonuses, reload bonuses, loads of freerolls, play your way to different tournaments, Platinum Club with top notch service for our highrollers and much more.
Second, a feature like headhunter tournaments is massively popular, and InterPoker is the only place where you can find them.
Third, our currency options is something that is unique for InterPoker. Players can choose to deposit and play in £, $ and €. We even have a fully customized German site.
Fourth, our latest addition, Pro-View Tables, have gone down very well with our multi-table players. It's for sure the most sophisticated mini-view on the market today.
PokerTips.org: What measures does InterPoker do to prevent/punish collusion?
Nielsson: We have a security team that is working on these issues 24/7. Players are usually our best eyes and the ones that usually let us know when something seems to be out of order. Most of the time it is, if I use a politically correct term, less-skilled players making unorthodox moves.
PokerTips.org: How often is collusion or other player misbehavior detected?
Nielsson: It happens, but not as often as many players think. The most common ones are chat abuse, credit card fraud, and some collusion. It's not as easy to collude as some might think, even if you try.
PokerTips.org: Were you surprised by the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act?
Nielsson: Yes, very much so. I was following what was going on and there have been times before when I thought they were about to push it through, but this time I thought we were safe. You need to remember that US lawmaking moves in mysterious ways and this time the act passed as part of the Port Security Act. Can someone tell me what online poker has to do with the security of US ports?
PokerTips.org: Based on your experience, what percentage of online poker players do you think are winners in the long run?
Nielsson: I'm afraid that only 10-15% are winning players.
PokerTips.org: As an employee of an online poker room, are you prohibited by your employer from playing online poker?
Nielsson: No, but I can't play on InterPoker. I do play on quite a few of our competitors' sites. This for two reasons; I need to keep updated on what our competitors are up to and I love to play poker.
PokerTips.org: What's the most unusual question, request, or complaint you've dealt with from a customer?
Nielsson: That the poker site was making too much noise. It turned out that it was the fan on his computer that was making the sound!
The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.
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