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Poker Pro Theo Jorgensen: 'Goals For Tournaments Just Seem Stupid To Me'

Dane Talks About How You Should Focus On Just Playing Your Best


Theo Jorgensen was born in 1972 in Roskilde, Denmark. He grew up a soccer fanatic, living with his parents and sister, and his father teaching at the high school he attended. Jorgensen was introduced to the game of poker, and ended up turning it into a prominent career.

Jorgensen boasts a number of impressive victories in his time as a poker pro, including a sizable 2004 victory in seven-card stud, a 2008 WSOP bracelet for nearly $400,000, and a 2010 WPT title for more than $800,000.

Jorgensen answered a few questions for Card Player recently, including a few about his early beginnings as a dealer, his recent home invasion, and his $35,000 boxing match with Gus Hansen.

Logan Hronis: How did you get introduced to the game of poker? Was there something in particular that made the game so attractive/interesting to pursue?

Theo Jorgensen: I got introduced to the game at a very young age. I think we started off playing seven-card stud in the 6th or 7th grade. None of us had any clue about the game, and I can’t remember how it all happened. I was very intrigued by the fact that the hand you were holding was less important compared to other games we played at that age.

LH: For a while, you were a dealer in a Copenhagen casino. Do you think that was instrumental in your success, seeing hand after hand and being able to analyze the game from the outside? Please explain. To a young aspiring poker player, would you possibly recommend getting a job as a dealer before entering the professional poker world?

TJ: I honestly don’t know if the fact that I was a dealer has helped my game or not. I’ll go so far and state that it can’t be a disadvantage. At least it convinced me that I could make a living out of it, since I thought a lot of the people I was dealing to didn’t play world-class poker. To a young guy who’s considering turning pro, this might be a good idea to get closer to the game and find out if you could do better.

LH: Describe your style of play in tournaments. How has your style evolved (if at all), over the years, as you have gained experience?

TJ: In the early 2000s, I was very aggressive because people would let me. These days, they won’t, so I have adapted. This means that I am playing tighter, but also because I get paid off anyway. This doesn’t mean that I can’t go out on a six-bet bluff all in if I feel the other dude is up to something.

LH: Talk about your bracelet win. How important was it for you to win one of those? How hungry are you for a second bracelet? How many World Series events do you plan on playing this summer?

TJ: Since I’m paying at least 50 percent tax of any winnings outside Europe, I’m not really working hard to win many more bracelets. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to throw out the one I got. On the other hand, I would much rather win an EPT than another WSOP bracelet. Taking the tax situation into consideration, I’m most likely not playing anything else at the WSOP, other than the main event

LH: You experienced a scary robbery encounter a few months ago at your home.
Please tell us as much as you can about the incident and how you and your family are recovering.

TJ: Everyone is fine and I wouldn’t be out playing poker again if we weren’t all fine.

LH: What sort of lessons do you take away from such a scary situation? Do you think other poker players should take note, and perhaps take the necessary precautions to ensure they don’t have to endure a similar experience? Please explain.

TJ: I think a lot of poker players got a decent wake-up call from this incident. Hopefully it serves as a warning to others, and they take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening to them.

LH: Can you talk about your boxing match with Gus Hansen? What was getting prepared for that like? Do you generally try to stay active and physically fit? Does staying physically healthy help your poker game?

TJ: Three-quarters of my motivation for taking the bet was the training that would lead up to the fight. I knew boxing was great training and had gotten tired of being out of shape. The preparation was harder than expected, but only because I was stupid enough to think it wasn’t going to be that bad. There were days where I was so sore I would make up excuses in the car on the way into training, because I couldn’t see myself getting through the two hours. None of my excuses worked. In the end it was all worth it, even though I lost. The feeling you have in the shower after being completely run down by an old boxing trainer/sadist is pretty good.

I am very aware of the fact that staying physically fit helps my game. Especially on the long days, so sports and training is vital to me. So, yes, it does help my game. I can’t recall the last time I’ve been so out of shape as now, because of the robbery. I can’t recall the last time I’ve made so many vital mistakes as I did in London, especially on later days in the tournament. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

LH: Talk a little about your goal-setting in poker. Is your goal to simply play your “A game” all the time, or do you set tangible goals for tournaments or dollar amounts?

TJ: Dollar amounts and goals for tournaments just seem stupid to me. You can be playing your best game ever for a year, and not cash a single time, and vice versa. I just want to play the next tournament flawless, which didn’t work out for me in London, recently.

LH: Tell us about yourself, away from the poker table. What sorts of other activities are you involved in? Anything that might take time away from poker, in the future?

TJ: I have two children, four and seven years old, and I love taking time away from poker to be with my family. I still love poker and all the complicated setups you have to solve — sometimes better than other times. But one thing is for sure. You could always have done better. So, since I still love the game, it is very difficult for me to imagine myself not playing at all, at some point in the future. I do not know if I will play poker for a living for the rest of my life, or do something else, but right now I would bet on poker!

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