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Poker Tournament Trail -- Jens Kyllonen

The Young Finnish Player Talks About His EPT Win and Cash-Game Success

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Jens KyllonenJens Kyllonen has been playing live tournament poker for a short time, but his success in live events during that time speaks for itself. His biggest win came at the 2009 EPT Copenhagen main event in February 2009, where he won his first EPT title and walked away with €878,057. In addition to his EPT win, Kyllonen has gone on to cash at the World Poker Tour Venice main event in May, and he most recently made a deep run at the season six EPT Barcelona main event. Kyllonen finished in 12th place out of a field of 479 players to take home another €40,000. Kyllonen has collected 2,040 Card Player Player of the Year points, which puts him in 45th place in the current standings. Card Player caught up with Kyllonen in Barcelona, and he talked about his young career in poker.

Ryan Lucchesi: You have already won an EPT event, and now you’re making a deep run in a second tournament here in Barcelona. How much confidence does it give you to be back in this situation?

Jens Kyllonen: Actually, to be honest, these have such a high variance, these multi-table tournaments, so I don’t know. I had a very good year online in cash games, so that gives me a lot more confidence than winning a tournament. A win helps, in a way. When you win one, no one believes, they think you were just lucky. But when you get deep in another, it vindicates it.

RL: Are you mixing in primarily online cash games when you’re back home in Finland? Were you playing high stakes before you won EPT Copenhagen?

JK: I was playing pretty high already, I didn’t necessarily move any higher.

RL: How did you get your start playing poker? How did you play your way up the ranks through the different stakes online?

JK: Actually, I started with freerolls when I was 17 and slowly just built that up to cash games, running it up. I play no-limit, mostly, but this year I started adding pot-limit Omaha.

RL: Is the growth in Scandinavian poker still explosive, or is it starting to level off a bit?

JK: Probably a little bit. The games are getting tougher all of the time online, at least the no-limit games. That’s why many people are moving to pot-limit Omaha, it’s softer there.

RL: What do you think of the new tournament structure for season six on the EPT?

JK: I definitely like it, it’s better for the better players. The more edge you have in a tournament the better it is for you.

RL: Do you think that two other major tournaments running in Europe during the same time as EPT Barcelona cut back on the attendance?

JK: Actually, I don’t think it did. I know a lot of people who went to Cannes and still managed to make it back in time to play day 1B. I don’t think the tournaments should be at the same time. I like it when you can play all of them. It does divide the pros though, so it helps you in a way.

RL: After playing a lot in the cash games and a fair amount now in live tournaments, where do you find the better players and why? How do you adjust your strategy between the two sets of opponents?

JK: I would say that usually the tables are softer in these large tournaments. I just play by my reads. More people here are tight-weak, and some are loose and passive. I avoid playing the better players to decrease my variance. I attack what I view as the weaker players. I play very loose at the beginning against the weak players, so that I can stack my chips from the beginning.