Shan “Pacman” Jing has won the CPPT Bicycle Casino main event and $135,981. Jing, who’s known as Pacman in the L.A. poker scene, is a regular in card rooms across California. Aside from a few ...
Poker Tournament Trail -- Chris Bjorin
Bjorin Discusses His Consistent and Prolific Tournament Success
Chris Bjorin (pictured left) is one of the pioneers of London tournament poker. He has been traveling to the U.S. to play since 1991, when he cashed three times at the World Series of Poker and almost won his first gold bracelet when he finished second in a $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event (he has since won two gold bracelets). Bjorin has posted hundreds of tournament results since that time, and 2009 has been no different for this prolific poker professional. He has cashed 20 times this year.
Bjorin is now closing in on $4 million in career tournament winnings, and most of those cashes have come in the United States. That trend is fortunately beginning to change for Bjorin, as more and more events are available in Europe thanks to the European Poker Tour and the WSOP Europe, which both visit his hometown of London each fall.
Card Player caught up with Bjorin in Las Vegas and he talked about his successful poker career, as well as the rise of poker in Europe.
Ryan Lucchesi: You have an enormous wealth of tournament poker results. Do you still have the same love for poker that you had when you first started playing?
Chris Bjorin: I like it, but it’s not the only thing in life that I like.
RL: Something that stands out about your results is the diversity of games that you have had success playing. What is your strongest game?
CB: For sure not hold’em [laughs]. I play Omaha the most in cash games, as well as seven-card stud, so those are the games that I prefer. In tournaments, it is all about hold’em, so I’m trying to improve my hold’em game all of the time. Hold’em is very rarely played in the mixed games, so I hardly play it in the cash games.
RL: How much time, percentage-wise, do you devote to cash games and tournaments when you play?
CB: I would say it is 50-50, but the cash games are available every day.
RL: What forms of poker do you play most of the time when you are back home in London?
CB: In London it is only pot-limit games, and mainly pot-limit Omaha. When I’m over here in America, I play in limit mixed games.
RL: Were you pleased that London has established itself as the autumn destination for tournament poker in the last few years?
CB: It’s very interesting; I like it very much. It’s nice to be able to sleep in your own bed. I hope that it will be two months long in the future. Poker is very big in London. England was the one that started Late Night Poker and got the boom going with television programs.
RL: Was the introduction of Late Night Poker to the general-television audience in Europe as important for poker’s growth as the introduction of the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour to an American television audience?
CB: In England, poker was quite popular before that, but the rest of Europe saw tremendous growth. Now poker is getting bigger than in America. The EPT tournaments sell out or they have a ton of players every time.
RL: One last thing that I noticed in your results is that you will play any game, anywhere, at any time, for any buy-in. What are the main adjustments you have learned to make against such a wide spectrum of opponents?
CB: Nowadays, the very best players just choose to play in the $10,000 tournaments. I would say that my company at the tables is much easier in the lower-level tournaments. I like to play them, I have a better chance in those, and I know that.
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