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Poker Pro Chris Klodnicki: Not Many Different Playing Styles In Mixed Cash Games

New Jersey Native Coming Off A $1.1-Million Year In Tournaments


Growing up playing limit hold’em with a fake ID in Atlantic City, Chris Klodnicki started off in the live poker scene. He gravitated toward online poker, but has since come back to his live roots, putting up some impressive tournament results.

Klodnicki finished second in the prestigious $50,000 Poker Players Championship in 2012, a cash of nearly $900,000. He also took down the Sands No-Limit Deep Stack Extravaganza for a sizable six-figure payday. Riding out a superstitious December hot streak, Klodnicki ended the year with $1,101,569 in winnings. He’s showing no signs of slowing down either, already with more than $100,000 in 2013 cashes.

Klodnicki talked to Card Player this week about the differences between mixed games and standard no-limit, why saving money is so important for a poker player, and the possibility of traveling abroad to play online poker.

Logan Hronis: Talk about your personal experience coming up in the poker world. What was it about the poker game that attracted you to it?

Chris Klodnicki: Well, I started playing during the Moneymaker boom. I just started playing with my friends in little home games. My start was probably a little different than most people, because I started with live rather than online. I would make trips to Atlantic City with a fake ID. I actually started off playing limit hold’em, whereas most people just dive into no-limit. I worked my way up around the time I was entering college, and finally deposited on Party Poker. I worked my way up in stakes pretty quickly, from $2-$4 limit to $100-$200. I blew off an internship to concentrate on poker, but it wasn’t until after I finished (college) that I started playing full-time.

The money was nice, but really I’m just a competitive person. I like winning and I don’t like losing (laughs). I felt like I picked it up quickly, and it would be something I could be very good at. In some ways, it’s more fun to do things you are good at.

LH: Tell us about the poker scene where you grew up. Has it shaped you as a poker player in any way? If so, how?

CK: It’s nice that I grew up an hour from Atlantic City, and my parents had a house literally five minutes from there. I’ve been spending most of my summers there since I was a kid. So, there’s the convenience factor, and I guess it’s kind of like home field advantage. When Black Friday happened, I was getting more into mixed games, so I decided to stick around locally and play live.

LH: Two huge cashes for you this year in the Sands Deep Stack Extravaganza and the Poker Players Championship. These were two very different tournaments. Talk about the difference between playing in a $50,000 buy-in and a $2,500 buy-in. Do you feel more pressure playing for so much more money, or doesn’t it phase you?

CK: The [$50,000], that was my second year playing it. And it’s bigger than the main event, to me. That’s the one I look forward to the most, and I feel like I have the biggest edge in that tournament. As far as mixed cash, I feel like I have played as much as anybody. I actually almost didn’t play, because I didn’t really work too hard to sell action. I had to try to get some people to take some action at the last minute, and it ended up working out. I didn’t want to put up $50,000.

I was actually having a rough year playing no-limit, until Sands. I haven’t been traveling too much for tournaments, and haven’t won much as far as no-limit. So, it was nice to win that Sands tournament. But they were both completely different tournaments. Sands was local, but a very good structure, I got to say. Apparently, I do really well in the month of December. I think I have six-figure scores the past four years in December. Usually the cash games are so good, I don’t want to travel for tournaments, but I decided to see if I could run the hot streak. It worked out pretty well.

LH: Describe your style of play in the live tournament and cash settings. Would you consider yourself more conservative or more aggressive? Has your style changed much since you started playing?

CK: I wouldn’t say I play much different. Since I’ve been playing mixed cash, there are not really many different styles of play. I just try to play optimally. It’s not like no-limit where you can get away with playing many different styles. In mixed cash, there’s just a fundamentally sound way to play. You either play good or you don’t. I don’t play no-limit cash. In no-limit tournaments I can mix it up a lot. I can play super aggressive or tighten up, depending on the situation. Many people have a skewed image of how my game is, depending on how I’ve played against them at the time.

LH: Talk a little about your personal bankroll management strategies. How important do you think bankroll management is for professional poker players, and how can it affect your play, if at all? Please explain.

CK: I think it’s the most important thing, when you’re playing for a living. I tend to take the overly conservative route, probably. Variance can really be crazy. I’ve never been backed, but I’ll sell action for bigger tournaments. If you want to play higher stakes, you have to be constantly saving money. Having a million-dollar bankroll as a poker player is not the same as having a million-dollar bankroll and having a normal job. I just save up money as much as possible, and continue to build, so I can continue to play bigger, and play comfortably.

LH: Do you picture yourself playing poker for the rest of your life, or do you think your interest will somewhat subside, at some point? Please explain.

CK: If I were to guess, I would say I’m going to play poker for the rest of my life. I would hope, at some point, to be able to scale back a little and use it as supplementary income. As of right now though, poker’s it for me. I don’t really have anything else going on, but I could definitely see myself branching out, at some point

LH: Could you see yourself being one of these guys who moves abroad to play online?

CK: I’m actually going to Costa Rica in a week or two. I rented a house with a few other online guys, and set up an account down there. I’m going to stay for about seven weeks. I don’t think I would like to live there permanently, but it’s nice to have the option to play when you travel abroad. It’ll be a nice little change of pace for me.

LH: Tell us about the Chris outside of poker. What sort of off-the-felt activities do you enjoy? Is there anything that you envision take time away from your poker career in the future?

CK: Well, I’m a big sports fan. I used to play a lot more sports than I do now; I’ve just gotten older (laughs). It’s tough to stay active. I’m a huge Philadelphia sports fan, unfortunately. I’m pretty normal. Nothing too exciting. Nothing too crazy.



8 years ago

Technically, an American citizen does NOT have the "right" to "play down there" when merely visiting a foreign country.

Poker Stars/Full Tilt terms of agreement are quite clear in that "residents of the United States" are not allowed to play - regardless of their physical locale.

Has any executive with Poker Stars ever explained the rationale as to why the company blatantly allows U.S. residents to play anywhere else in the world?


8 years ago

ToA's might be a different than laws, but Americans are very much allowed to gamble when off of American soil.

I would guess the point of that line in the ToA is to prevent fake addresses more than to prevent people on vacation from playing, and regardless the companies are free to interpret their own ToA's as they see fit without explaining anything to you.