Markus Golser is a famous Austrian poker pro that plays under the name "Markus Golser" on Full Tilt (previously "jumper17"). He turned pro after having demolished the competition in many of the high stakes games of Full Tilt poker. In the following interview we ask some questions regarding his poker life, how he got into the game and what he thinks the future holds.
First thing I’d like to ask you (there’s no way around this one) is how you got started in poker. What exactly made you decide this game was something you’d someday like to do for a living?
- I had my first Poker experience when I was 17 years old with some friends (draw poker with 32 cards). When I was 21 years old, a poker club opened in my home town Salzburg, I went to this club from the first day and had the first time contact with seven card stud and texas holdem, which I never heard about before. I enjoyed the game and the atmosphere, it didn’t take me long to become successful and to quit my job.
Every serious poker player is on a continuous mission to improve his play. Can you please name the one factor that had the biggest impact on your improvement as a poker player?
- Over many years I was one of the most successful players in Europe, but Online Poker improved my game a lot.
Can you please tell us which live (or online) tournament win (or cash position) of yours meant the most to your career as a poker professional and why?
- After two years of playing professional poker, the Manager of the HIT Casino Nova Gorica invited me to join the tournament there, before that time I had only played in Austria. I drove to Nova Gorica, played in the main Event and won it.
The first price was 40,000 USD plus a flight, a hotel room to Las Vegas, also the buy-in for the tournament of Champions of 1999. I played the tournament but I was not successful because at that time I had no idea how to play Omaha High-Low. I played cash games at the Orleans (Pot Limit Omaha), after 2 weeks I won 90,000 USD which was a lot of money for me at that time.
This win in Nova Gorica was the start of my international career, after Nova Gorica and Las Vegas I started to travel around in Europe to play Poker and I played very successfully, I traveled from tournament to tournament to play the biggest cash games, I didn’t have a losing trip for 3 1/2 years, and that was amazing for me.
Which poker variant do you prefer to play in high stakes cash games and why?
- I am very flexible because I am an all-round player, last year it was Limit Holdem, at the moment it’s Pot Limit Omaha because that’s where the action is right now.
You’re known (and feared) as a high stakes cash player, but we know you’ve been doing well in tournaments too. Which do you reckon are the most important skills a cash player needs to be successful?
- Some of them are the same as in tournaments, patience, hand selection and Position play. In cash games, factors like bankroll management are more important, paying attention to gambling and to not steam, this is one of the most important factors in cash games but it’s in everyone’s nature, sometimes its not easy to handle the aggression factor after getting many bad beats or losing many pots in a short time.
In your view, what makes a tournament player successful?
- Patience, flexibility, attention at the poker table and some secrets like every Poker Player has…
We know you’ve had more than your share of bad beats in the past. I bet our readers are just dying to know how you, a pro, handle such losing streaks?
- I lost every day, stopped, went to bed, woke up the following day, got the same bad beats, day after day. I tried to play my best but after a while I started to play bad. I figured out that I had to take a break which was very good for my body and soul. But this bad run wouldn’t end, it was a hard time for me, the inhibition for starting to play bad gets always shorter. Now I am happy to have had this experience because I am more stable in my game then before.
You’ve played both live tournaments and cash games in Las Vegas. How does the Vegas poker scene compare to the European one in terms of competition?
- In my opinion, tournament Poker in Europe is trickier to win than in Las Vegas. We have a smaller field in Europe but many good players, they know all kinds of moves, they are good mathematically and work on their computer programs to get the maximum advantage in the game. In Las Vegas, there are many good Poker players, especially in the big cash games.
What are your plans for the future, as far as poker is concerned?
- I am already well known in the cash game world, soon the WSOP begins. I want to play in many tournaments to come back home with a bracelet. I miss the big tournament success. I want to have a good future with Fulltiltpoker that’s the reason why I want to make poker, and especially Full Tilt more popular in the German market.
When you’re away from the poker table or the computer screen, what do you do for fun?
- I have a girlfriend, we have a son together who is 6 month old, I spend a lot of time with Justin and my girlfriend Isabella. Before my son was born, I did a lot of sport, now it’s not too much but I still squeeze some in (jogging, gym, bike and skiing). I enjoy meeting up with friends and having a nice dinner together. Life has changed a lot since Justin came along.