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Tournament Trail Q and A -- Johan Storakers

Storakers Talks Comebacks, Coolers, and Swedish Phrases

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Johan StorakersTournament grinder Johan Storakers made quite a showing recently at the 2008 UltimateBet Aruba Poker Classic. Early on day one, Storakers was crippled down to 2,000 in chips from his starting stack of 15,000 after his pocket kings ran into his opponent's pocket aces. Despite the setback, Storakers kept his head down and powered through, getting a bit lucky, doubling up several times while navigating his way through a field of 551 players to be one of the last two standing.

Though he wasn't able to overcome eventual winner, Matt Brady, and his dominating chip lead, Storakers proved that you should never count out a seasoned professional, especially when he's playing his A-game.

The native of Stockholm, Sweden, spoke with Card Player shortly following the final table, where he banked $486,000 for his efforts.


Julio Rodriguez: I want to take you back to day one, when your kings ran into aces to lower your stack down to just 2,000 in chips. You’re on a beautiful island and your friends are enjoying the cocktails by the water, what keeps your eye on the prize when it would be so easy just to give up?

Johan Storakers: At that point, the blinds were still 50-100 so I still had more than 20 times the big blind. When one guy made it 400 to go, I decided to put it all in with A-Q. He showed aces, and I got lucky to double up. Then I started to play more carefully and pick better spots. I doubled up once again, and all of a sudden I had more than 50 big blinds. I’m not going to give up in any tournament I play. I don’t care if I’m on a beautiful island or not, I’ll always try my best to get back in the game.

JR: Before you doubled up, you were still optimistic, telling me what a great story it would be if you won. Well, you didn’t win, but it was still a great story. Can you talk about the final table, especially one of the first few hands where you lost half your stack to Jeff Papola’s pocket aces?

JS: Actually, it was the hand before that. There were two raises in front of me, and I had to give up pocket tens. In the next hand, I got into a raising war with him and I couldn’t bring myself to lay down another strong hand, even though I thought I was beat. Ultimately, I knew I could lose half of my stack, but I thought I could come back if I lost. Last year, I folded kings preflop, and this year I couldn’t even lay down A-K! [Laughing]

Johan StorakersJR: Who gave you the most trouble at the table, Jeff or the eventual winner, Matt Brady?

JS: Jeff was my toughest opponent at the table. Matt was tough, but I think he kind of held over me. Every time I picked up a hand, he had a better one. Jeff was different, because he picked on my blinds the whole day, sitting to my right.

JR: What’s your schedule for the next month?

JS: I’m going home to the Swedish Open Championship to defend my title. Last year I won about $200,000, so I can’t miss that. Then I’ll try my luck in Amsterdam, where I once finished in second place.

JR: I only have one more question: What were your friends chanting every time you won a pot?

JS: Oh, they were chanting Såjä, (pronounced Soo-yah) which means “That’s the way!” [Hearing Storakers say it, a new flurry of chants erupted from the Swedish crowd]