Michael Tureniec, Swedish Player of the Year
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Michael Tureniec was named Swedish Player of the Year this month. We caught up with him to find out the secret of his success…
Congratulations, Michael. How do you think you’ve managed to be so consistent over the past year?
Well, I’ve been playing a lot tighter than I used to, which means I get more respect post-flop, and so I can take down a lot more pots than previously. Also, I’ve obviously been running good in the all-in races, and that helps a lot.
A tight Swede? We don’t believe it. What was the highlight of last year?
Definitely the EPT London. It was toughest final table with some very, very good players and a lot of money up for grabs.
You started out as an online poker player. How was it making the transition to live play?
It was pretty easy actually. I started playing live pretty early on in some clubs in Stockholm – just playing tournaments – and I did pretty well in them. Once I’d built my bankroll I started playing bigger tournaments, and I found that pretty tough in the beginning. I’d played a lot of tournaments before the EPT London but wasn’t even close to cashing so, like I say, I tightened up my game a little bit and spent a lot of time discussing hands with friends and on poker forums, and finally I found a game that worked.
Was there a eureka moment?
Not really… it was just about playing lots and lots online, and when you play a lot you just get a very good feeling for the game.
Is online poker a completely different card game from live?
I think the standard is better online. If you play a $2k tourney online, you’re playing against some of the best players on the internet, but playing a $2k tourney live – there aren’t too many good players.
What kind of common mistakes do you see players making?
People are too keen to see flops with crappy hands if it’s cheap. If I have 10-9 suited or whatever, I’d much rather see a flop in position for one big blind extra than play it out of position. Also, a lot of players will go for a raise with hands that I prefer calling with – like top pair with a decent kicker. You don’t want to raise and play a big pot there because you’re only going to get action from better hands.
What were you doing before poker? Did you ever have a crap job?
When I left school I did my military service and then I worked as a cashier in a supermarket, so thank God for poker.
Tell us about the tournament scene in Sweden at the moment. It’s all very political, isn’t it?
The government made a decision about the poker monopoly a few weeks ago, and I guess they want to keep it because it brings them a lot of cash, but it’s bad for the tournament scene. If it wasn’t for the monopoly, we could have a real major tournament like an EPT. It means we have to do a lot of travelling and that’s something I enjoy, but I’ve been doing so much of it over the last few years – you start to get tired.
What do you want to achieve in poker in the future?
I dream of winning the World Series, bit it’s hard work spending a lot of time out in Vegas playing all those tournaments when you can play major tournaments in Europe tax free. So in Vegas this summer, I’m probably going to play the Main Event – maybe a couple more, but I much prefer to play tax free tournaments.
You recently signed to Full Tilt. Was that an honour?
Very much so. It felt so nice to sign with them.
You’re also part of the Poker Icons team…
Yeah. They’ve been great and they’ve really worked hard to promote me as a player in the Swedish and International media. They’ve been great for my career.