PartyPoker winner XooOooXPremier League Poker is near. Next week 16 PartyPoker qualifiers alongside top pros will make their journey to Las Vegas for this event.

Today we profile two players that are in with a chance of winning the seat at the main event but also earning the professional poker sponsorship from PartyPoker.

XooOooX (pictured)

I played a 52$ Satellite Tournament and qualified for the 480$ in January. 20 players battled for one package to Partypoker Premier League in Las Vegas.

The tournament didn’t start well for me, in the first hands I lost with AA and so the half of my chips were gone.

Now I had to play tight and focused. With some pairs and other good hands I made it to the last three.

The heads-up was very exciting, it went back and forth. Two times I have had the chance to bust him out, but he survived.

The last hand was my key hand, I got A4 diamonds and raised in position. My opponent called me and the board showed 2 diamonds and a straight draw. I raised and he went directly all-in. Both chip stacks were balanced, it was a hard decision, but I called. I won with Highcard A, he showed Q,3 and way to Las Vegas was open.

I don’t have much offline-experience. Biggest offline tournament I played was Partypoker Million Cruise 2008. Otherwise, only smaller tournaments.

My preparation for Vegas is to train and play. I’ll take everything that is offered to improve my skills, studying all the guides. For me it is the first time in Las Vegas.

I want to be playing against everybody. I can’t wait to play the Premier League play-off.

If I were to win the sponsorship, that would open many possibilities. I’d be proud to represent PartyPoker in the world. I could take the chance to prove my skills and  also learn about other countries. And maybe a big dream of mine would go in fulfillment, playing at the WSOP.

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The number of players in the qualifying tournament was limited and the stacks were deep (which I love) so I was able to spend a long time at the table with the other players.

Therefore, early on I played ABC poker and tried to observe the playing tendencies of my opponents. Later on I became a bit more creative in situations where I thought this would pay off, given the information I had accumulated about the other players.

There was only one package on offer and when we were down to about 5 left many of the players adopted a cautious approach. I was able to exploit this, building my stack more rapidly during that phase.

There were relatively few critical hands early on. I just grew my stack steadily without taking major risks. Obviously when we were down to the last few players and stacks were shorter relative to the blinds there were many all-ins and luck became a predominant factor alongside aggression. Prior to that there were not many times when my stack was on the line and, when it was, I was usually a big favourite.

I started playing poker in 2007. About 2 months later I was fortunate enough to win a WSOP package through a $60 Party Poker satellite and so played in the main event. The same happened again in 2008. Last year I played in the WSOP again after winning 6 packages on various sites. I have also played in various other live events such as WPT, EPT, WSOPE, UKPT. I have cashed a number of times but have never won a major live event.

I don’t really have any fixed expectations for the trip. Obviously I will be trying to win the seat in the main tournament. I don’t plan any special preparations.

I have played against many of the top players which I have enjoyed and found very educational. I would like to play against all the successful pros, particularly those I have not had the opportunity to play yet such as Ivey, Ferguson and Lindgren.

Of those I have played against in the past I would most like to spend more time on the table with the Devilfish. His approach to the game is very interesting as he seems to play without fear yet he is very sensitive in detecting fear in others. I have seen him play a hand to the river, out of position, with nothing against a player who bet or called every street and then, on the river, check/shove the whole of his large stack, gambling that the other player (also large stacked) wouldn’t call.

Also, every time I have played with him, he seems to get into an argument with someone else at the table (usually a player who has taken chips off him) but manages to do so in a manner which is amusing for the other players. It would also be interesting to play against Hellmuth and FullFlush for entertainment value, both of whom I notice are in the tournament – I will be there for the poker but I suspect there will be an interesting soap opera playing out at the same time!

This is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to the trip. I want to play poker at the highest levels I can and so, if I am lucky enough to win the seat, I will be delighted to play a solid period of poker against 11 top pros. I like the PLP format as the same players will play together for a long time giving the opportunity to observe and adapt to the other players and, for me, the chance to learn from the play of the experts in a more intensive way than is possible in typical tournament structures.

Stay tuned to the PartyPoker blog for more stories and all the live updates from Premier League Poker.

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