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A Poker Life: Oliver Speidel

by Erik Fast |  Published: May 30, 2012


Oliver SpeidelOliver Speidel has had arguably the most impressive start to the 2012 poker tournament circuit or any player on the tour, cashing for more than $1.7 million so far and making five final tables in the first four months, including winning the prestigious 2012 Aussie Millions main event. As a result of his smashing success down under, the 26-year old pro is currently the outright leader in the 2012 Card Player Player of the Year race. Here is a look at how one of the hottest players in the world at the moment got his start in poker.

Finding His Game

Oliver was born in Melbourne, Australia to Swiss parents who had just recently emigrated from Switzerland. The family settled into the suburbs of Melbourne, where Oliver grew up as an avid basketball player. “I played semi seriously up until about age 19 when I accepted I wasn’t going to make the NBA,” Speidel laughingly admits.

Athletic pursuits weren’t the only interest for the young Speidel, who also spent much of his time playing chess and various video and computer games. Like many other of today’s young poker professionals, the tactical skills that developed on boards and computer screens truly blossomed when they found their way to the poker table.

“I can’t really remember how I got into poker for sure, but I believe the movie Rounders was probably the reason. Then I remember starting to mess around online on play money tables. I think I kind of fell in love with the strategic aspect of the game and eventually made the switch to real money and deposited $50 at first.”

Poker is a game that rewards experience, and building proficiency can often take time and money. Speidel did not get off to a winning start. “I lost a heap of deposits totaling maybe $500 dollars before I started to win.”

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