Interview With Fedor Holz

German poker sensation Fedor Holz burst into the poker big-time over the 2015/16 festive season, massive victories at the WPT and Triton Series worth $4.5million in total announcing his arrival at the highest level of the game.

By: Andrew Burnett

What followed almost defied belief – a heater that would take him over the $30million career mark, team up with partypoker, ‘semi-retire’ and launch his own Primed Mind app.

HighStakesDB caught up with the winningest German of all time to pick his brain on all things poker and partypoker…an interview you can’t afford to miss!

Q: You had the luxury to represent any (or no) sites – why partypoker? What’s the relationship like?

I’m very happy to represent partypoker because they are one of the only companies I know that are really trying to grow poker and that’s something I can identify with. Their ambition around growing the game and providing a great experience for players is a goal I want to support.

So, it was an easy choice for me to join and support partypoker. The relationship has been great so far. I think they’re doing a great job taking care of players as well as their pro team.

Q: Your incredible ‘heater’ run in 2016 – at what point (if any) did you feel invincible?

Throughout my year 2016 having that incredible heater I definitely felt invincible at certain points, specifically running deep in all the Aria High Rollers and then the WSOP felt amazing. I was playing well and running well at the same time and it was a great experience. Putting so much energy in to the game and also being successful is something I really appreciate.

Q: Justin Bonomo (and David Peters/Mikita B to an extent) had similar runs the following year/s. Is it a case of top players hitting their absolute ‘A-game’? Or much more ‘variance/luck’ based?

Regarding other players having similar runs I think there’s quite a few really good, top players and variance players. Even in my run, there were others who were top tier that could have had the possibility and skills to go on similar runs. I feel when you have so many top players and the edges are somewhat small between the top tier professionals, then I think there’s a lot of variance involved and someone is likely to run that hot.

Q: What was your own ‘edge’ over rivals during that time?

My edge was I believe a combination of things. Firstly between the players that I communicated with, so my German friends and the players travelled with, we had really great communication and learning processes of exchanging new ideas. Also my intuition, as well as the image I had I think. I was studying other players really hard and trying to exploit them as much as possible and I was always trying to be one step ahead.

I put a lot of work in to my game and was bringing more of my online background in to live game, working really hard on catching up. I think this mix of strategy and intuition and good feeling for the game is what made me successful.

Q: How do you balance poker promotion for partypoker, Primed, investments, free time, etc?

It’s difficult and challenging to balance and manage time generally, in terms of knowing when and where to spend your time and how much and on what. I try to balance it out and both play the High Rollers, promoting partypoker and helping them, but also Primed Mind my investment.

I realise now it’s important to focus and there’s definitely adjustments I will be making in the future and certain things I will be stepping back from, giving responsibility to people who care about the project, whether that’s investments or companies. I definitely want to focus on my ventures and partypoker but then also my personal time in which I really enjoy travelling.

Q: What one change would you make in online poker if you were ‘partypoker top boss for the day’?

Personally my favourite games online were turbos so I would add a really nice turbo series. I think they’re the most exciting tournaments to play as they’re fun, fast and you can play a lot of them so I would run really crazy multi-table turbo series. I would for sure try to get people in this quick mode and enjoy the spin.

Q: Do you ever see yourself going back to full-time poker?

I could only see myself going back to full time if they’d run a lot of big High Rollers in a very short period of time but only for a limited amount of time. However, I don’t think that will happen in the near future.

Q: What is the biggest lesson poker has taught you?

One of the biggest lessons poker has taught me is to not be too focused on results but focus on the process and making good decisions. That was a great learning that has brought me a lot of value in many areas of my play.

Q: Can ‘intuition-based’ play still make money in poker?

I think people think the information you have available is a very relevant part of any decision making process and also in poker. However, not every decision is being made consciously and it’s important to embrace that so yes I believe intuition based play and the subconscious are important.

Q: I’ve recently interviewed Brazilians and Finns among others – they vary in whether there is a ‘national approach’ to poker (‘crazy Swedes’, for example) – do you think there is a ‘German school’ of sorts?

It’s hard to say overall but in the pro scene I think Germans have been somewhat more disciplined at least from the group I know. What we always did well was minimising making mistakes even though this does definitely mean missing out on some potential upsides. But I think being disciplined and composed gives us a decent edge.

Q: You get to play one live event per year – which one do you pick?

It’s not on every year but I would love to play the $1 million One Drop again. That was my favourite experience so far.

Q: And one online event..?

I really enjoy playing High Rollers online, it’s a special feeling. So if partypoker runs another $25k or something similar that would be the one online event I’d like to play.

Q: How is your ‘Primed Mind’ project going?

Primed Mind is going well, we are happy with the progress. We have a good team in place with room to grow and a couple of thousand people are actively using it on a daily basis so that feels great. The fact we could fill a small stadium with people listening to our tapes is a nice feeling and it’s great to see that progress. So I’m very happy about that and I hope it grows even further in the future.

Still only 25 years old, Fedor has achieved more than most already, but although his focus may be more widespread than before it’s clear that there is plenty more to come from the talented young man, both in and out of poker,

You can follow the adventures of Fedor Holz on his very own partypoker blog here.


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