Interview: Soren Kongsgaard
THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2009-02-08, by OzoneAge: 21
Biggest Cash: €610,000
Best Known For: Cashing for over $1M in live tournaments and over $600,000 in online tournaments in 2007 alone.
Few people if any have matched Soren Kongsgaard's success in both live and online tournaments. Barely 21, he already has over $1.5M in live cashes and over $800,000 in online cashes. He kindly paused from taking people's money for a few seconds to have a chat with us.
PokerTips.org: How long have you been playing poker and what got you started?
Kongsgaard: I have been playing poker for 4-5 years now. It started out when my friends from school started a small home game after the Danish television started broadcasting the WPT final tables.
I found the game very challenging and I have spend most of my hours awake thinking about this game ever since. ;)
PokerTips.org: Did you seem to find success immediately, or was there a period of struggle before you began to be a big winner?
Kongsgaard: The first 6 months I was not that serious about it. I guess I lost a a few hundred dollars, but after my 18th birthday I was able to win a tournament almost every month.
The first month I won a few hundred dollars, next month $1,000, next month $2,000 and so on. I guess I was a bit lucky to build my roll up like this without any big downswings.
PokerTips.org: What are some of the skills you feel give you an advantage over your competitors?
Kongsgaard: I think I'm reading the game very well. A lot of players know the basics and know how to squeeze and make all kinds of fancy moves, but when I'm playing my a-game I know exactly when to do what.
PokerTips.org: In 2007, you finished 3rd out of 706 in the EPT Grand Final to win €610,550. Tell us a little more about that experience. Was there a point where you considered yourself a favorite to win?
Kongsgaard: I never considered myself a favourite to win it. I don't think I was the chipleader at any point. It was my first big live final table and take a look at my opponents - Ram Vaswani, Andy Black, Gavin Griffin and Marc Karam.
With 4 players left I had Gavin Griffin all-in with Jacks vs. Queens. If that hand would have played out a bit different who knows what would have happened.
PokerTips.org: You just turned 21 very recently. Happy birthday! Now that you can play in the U.S., what tournaments in particular do you plan on playing?
Kongsgaard: Thanks. Yeah its great. I have been dreaming about playing tournaments in the US for 3 years now. Finally I have a chance. I might do one trip to Vegas this spring to play tournaments like the Wynn Classic, and some of the WPT championship prelims. And I'm gonna be playing as many WSOP events as possible.
PokerTips.org: If you could go back in time to when you first started playing poker, what advice would you give to yourself that others might benefit from?
Kongsgaard: Take it easy. You don't have to win every hand, and you don't have to double your bankroll every day. There will always be another juicy game.
PokerTips.org: Do you stick mostly to tournaments or play cash games as well? If so, for what stakes and how are you doing?
Kongsgaard: I play mostly tournaments, but once in a while I play some pot-limit Omaha. Sometimes just for the fun of it, and sometimes if I feel like grinding home some dollars when I'm performing badly in tournaments.
PokerTips.org: Who are some of the other players in the world who have your most respect?
Kongsgaard: Tough question. Today there are so many talented players. I know the Danish players very well and I'm sure you are gonna hear a lot about Jonas Klausen and Rasmus Nielsen in the future.
PokerTips.org: Perhaps no one in the world has shared your degree of success in not only live tournaments, but online tournaments as well. You have won and finished 4th in the PokerStars Sunday Million and have two huge second place finishes at Full Tilt to your credit. What are some tips you could share for succeeding in these mega-field online tournaments?
Kongsgaard: You need to be able to shift gears at the right time. The flow of the game in these tournaments varies a lot, and at some points you need to be aggressive, and at some points you need to lean back and wait for your opponents to give away their chips.
PokerTips.org: You've already accomplished so much in poker despite only recently having turned 21. What do you make of all that? What are your thoughts on the future?
Kongsgaard: Poker is a game where you can always find new challenges. Especially as a tournament player. I have never won a major live tournaments and I really want to change that. I guess I dream of winning an EPT, WPT and WSOP title, but right now I just concentrate about playing my a-game.
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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