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Kristian Kofoed – Family comes first

Posted by Dany Willis & filed under World Series of Poker.

Despite participation in the WSOP, EPT, PCA, Unibet Open and the Danish Championships considers the new Danish Champion in poker himself as a hobby player.

Family First

Kristian Kofoed’s life as a poker player is not the overriding employment, the motto is family first. With two children aged 2 ½ and 4 ½ the time for poker is short, so priorities are necessary, and the family is winning that race … Oh yes, and he also has a full time job.

Now it is not uncommon to have a permanent job, but most poker players who haunts the big tournaments online and around the world, usually have very good time for poker, as they play the game for a living. In Kristian Kofoed’s case, it is just the reverse. Despite the title of National Champion of Poker 2012 on the business card, poker is just a hobby and is never to be anything else.

Catching up

- I have an IT edication and finished my HD not too long ago. For me, my job and my family comes first. I started working in the financial sector, but got a job as a project manager on the small island Holmen in Copenhagen last year, at one of the leading suppliers of technical web applications. We work primarily with Sitecore, which is building sites for the financial sector and customers such as NKT. It does not sound so sexy, but it is for an example if a bank needs a website which shall be used by customers. We then make sure that all systems are able to talk together.

Work First

Kristian’s approach with work first and pleasure afterwards does not come from strangers.

- My father has a good career and my siblings as well. They all have educations that have resulted in good jobs. I also have ambitions, which have rubbed off on my poker. When I’m drawn to something, then I want to be good at it. If I for example should buy a camera, it’s not enough just to buy the first and best, but something thoroughly picked out and I try to buy me the one that takes the very best pictures. It has often given me good results in life, but of course it can also be quite a challenge sometimes.

The challenge of poker

I had a friend who introduced me to it 5 – 6 years ago. And in the beginning it was something about depositing $ 50 into an account, and after a month they were gone. To be honest, I was actually bad at it. It irritated me so much that I bought almost every book I could find on the subject – and read them. Then I began to immerse myself in different forums such as Two Plus Two and read the posts on analysis and the likes of that. I sat a goal that I would be good at this.

It paid off

The mission succeeded and today three final tables in the National Championships in as many attempts as well with the new title, is the proof that the hours with the books and online has paid off.

- I was in the situation that Mermaid Poker put one seat up for grabs to the best of their players the first time I went to the Championships. And I ended up as number nine with their logo on, so the seat was secured for next year’s edition, where I finished as number 10.In this year’s edition, I tried to qualify through a satellite at Casino Copenhagen, but unfortunately it did not. The solution was luckily a partial sponsorship from Mermaid, and now it might feel a little stupid to send a portion of the prize money back to them, but I’m not dissatisfied.

Juggling Act

However, it can be hard to combine day care, job and family with tournament poker.

- I am fortunate that my better half is supporting me and my poker. I shall not try to tell her about bad beats or selected hands, she just shuts down completely and is starring vacantly out into the air. She may well begin to find it a little interesting if I go deep in a tournament. This has obviously a little to do with the fact that I have not quite the same bankroll management as many others. My economy comes from my job and it goes to the common household, so if I for example make 10,000 kroner from a tournament, the 8,000 kroner easily can go to vacation or the like. And she appreciates that…

- But here at the Nationals I home at 03:00 AM. It did not change the fact that I had to get up at 05:45 and getting two kids ready for the institution and submit them, and then go off to work. I will not expose my family to that kind of pressure every day, so I try to find a balance where there is room for my poker after having taken care of things at home.

Life on the road

Kristian’s family has also been allowed to enjoy some of the travel experiences that come with poker.

- I travelled to the Bahamas to play PCA and took my wife and the oldest son with me. Of course I was not so much present – it was poker late into the night, but I think that they enjoyed themselves ok.


At one point, I played a qualifying tournament on PokerStars for a seat to the WSOP. It was a rebuy tournament with only one package up for grabs and about 200 players. No. 2-10 got $100. When I hit the final table, I looked all the other players up on the net – and what a company. It was some scary tough guys with some impressive results behind them. I managed however to end heads-up with a guy who owned me totally … I think I got very lucky, because all of a sudden I just hit and the game turned and I won the tournament. Instead of a direct buy-in we got the money instead, and they were used on a Sun Ving Resort in Cyprus with the whole family.

What’s your game?

When asked what type of poker Kristian plays and at which limits he replies:

- I only play tournament poker but have actually not made the big results online. I’ve typically play after the packages, tournaments with $ 800 buy-in, where there are 50 packages up for grabs. It has brought me to the PCA as mentioned, the WSOP and the EPT. Additionally, it has been tournaments with a buy-in of $ 100-200. However, I have shifted since October after being given some good advice from Jungleras (Rasmus “Jungleras” Nielsen).

- I approached Jungleras after last years Nationals and asked him if did any coaching, but at the time the answer was no. It annoyed me a little, because Rasmus himself has two children and could therefore put himself in my situation. But fortunately, he then contacted me in October and we established collaboration. Rasmus is simply so sympathetic and kind and he has lifted my game immensely. He encouraged me to play more tournaments at a time, so when I play today, there may very well also be tournaments for $ 20 among them. It has helped me build my concentration up around the game.

You Better Check Yourself

However, there may well be a while between Kristian sits down in front of the screen.

- I went to the Unibet Open in Paris with Rasmus. After that trip, I was just so full of poker that I did not play in a month. I also had my HD to finish which was important to me. I have not got me an education to play poker…

Since the Nationals, I have not played a single hand. It’s good to get a distance and keep a little break and then just sit with my wife on the couch and watch some indifferent series and have a little time together. I’ve done it before after a few bad beats where I instead of trying to win back, just turned off the computer, kicked the trash can and did not play for 14 days. So in that way I am fairly good at handling bad beats, he laughs.

Never ever mix them

And even though Kristians bankroll looks reasonable, there would be no risk of financial ruin caused by poker.

- I have a very simple system. There’s my poker economy and there is my personal finances, and the two things are never mixed together. That’s the way it has been since day one, so if my bankroll were empty, I could only put money into it again when there was room in my second budget.

Poker is just a hobby. Some are playing football – I play poker, but from there to try to live by it … no, it’s not going to happen. I’ve never been part of the poker community in Denmark and have only within the last few years learned to know some of the people there. So maybe that’s the reason that I am more willing to work instead?

Vegas Baby, Vegas

In a few weeks Kristian heads off to Vegas, the WSOP and the Main Event. The trip is part of the package that came with the National title.

- I am looking forward to Vegas. I have been there beforer and sat at the table with David Sklansky. It was a fantastic experience. People whine a little if they end up with the big names and talented players, but for me it’s like plaing football with Messi or Ronaldo. I’d like to play against Daniel Negreanu. He seems like a nice guy and is always very talkative at the table. And if it succeeds, then I would really like to show the biggest bluff up in the face of Phil Hellmuth and get a proper trash talk from him. It’s the kind of experience that makes this fun.

The Elements

And as always, we also try to find the recipe for success in poker, and in Kristian’s case, a single book influenced him greatly.

- Tommy Angelo’s “Elements of Poker”. I think I’ve read it eight times and each time I find new facets. It is not because it is so much about poker theory, but more about the whole mindset around it. I got it recommended by Tobias Storm, who also is an accomplished coach and I think everyone can get something out of that book.

But in addition I can only say that it is basically important to learn your level before you play. I played cash games in the beginning at levels where I did not belong – you have to be careful with that.

So my best advice must be: Get involved and work with it.

But conversely, I love hearing about people who just throw themselves into it. Sometimes things can become too “square”. It’s not everyone who can achieve results with a conservative approach to the game.sq

I must admit that I sometimes get tired of the comments in some forums:

“Go down in limit …”. It is the same chorus that repeats the same song over and over again regardless of what people ask about. Sometimes people must be allowed to put $ 1,000 into an account and give it a shot, if for nothing else just to get the experience.

After the WSOP?

When the WSOP is over in July, Kristian has not made so many plans yet:

- Well, I do not know. I will definitely play WPT Copenhagen in November. When finally such a tournament comes to Denmark, then it is about to exploit the opportunity.

Tomorrow morning Kristian gets up at 5:45 AM, he does that Monday to Friday – even though he is National Champion in poker.