With three years as a professional poker player already behind him, Dag Martin Mikkelsen at last made his first final table on the European Poker Tour only last week, turning in a tremendous performance at the EPT Grand Final on the shores of Monte Carlo and coming away with a fourth-place finish, good for nearly US $790,000. It was the 22-year-old Norwegian’s largest career score to date, besting even the $430,000 he won online for taking down the Titan Poker $2 Million Guaranteed. Like many of his Scandinavian brethren, Mikkelsen is a prodigy, a phenomenon, and an uber-aggressive check-raising machine that quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the top European players you’ll encounter at the tables today.
Dag Martin Mikkelsen was born on June 25, 1986 in Stavanger, Norway. When he turned 18 in the summer of 2004, Mikkelsen realized he was old enough to register with online sportsbooks and created an account on a Scandinavian site where he started putting in some small bets on soccer games. The sportsbook also had a poker client, a skin of Prima poker
, where Mikkelsen started experimenting with Hold'Em at the $0.05/0.10 limit tables. Intrigued with the game, Mikkelsen ordered himself some strategy texts and began reading articles online in the hopes of turning his results around. After losing small amounts for six months, he deposited $100 into NETeller and started grinding out micro-limit games on PartyPoker and bonus-chasing on various other sites. All his studying paid off, and Mikkelsen was beating the $3/6 LHE games on Party in short order.
After playing limit hold’em for a few months and building up a workable bankroll of about $5,000, Mikkelsen began to focus almost exclusively on sit-n-goes. He ground out the $109 sit-n-goes on Eurobet and ended up turning that $5,000 into $15,000. However, a bad run toward the end of his experiment convinced Mikkelsen that he still had a lot to learn and he cashed out all but $1,000 of his roll, deciding to start over at lower stakes. After dropping down in levels for only a few months, Mikkelsen was ready to move up again and became one of the most consistent winners in the PokerStars $215 turbo sit-‘n’-goes.
Mikkelsen continued the SNG grind while completing Norway’s required year of military service. (He was a truck driver.) Once his service was up, he started playing in more live events. At the 2007 PaddyPoker Irish Open, Mikkelsen won the €300 Pot-Limit Omaha event in a five-way chop that earned him over $20,000, and only two days later, made the final table of the €200 No-Limit Hold’em event, finishing fourth. That summer, Mikkelsen turned 21 and played in his first World Series of Poker, making the final five tables in the Main Event which earned him $237,865 for his 42nd-place finish. Mikkelsen also got a good share of camera time on the ESPN broadcast, their cameras capturing the moment when he made a royal flush. That fall, Mikkelsen went on to cash the EPT Barcelona Open in 22nd place and make the final table of the $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha/Pot-Limit Omaha-8 mixed event at the Aussie Millions, finishing in third place.
By the 2008 World Series of Poker, Mikkelsen had picked up sponsorship from Full Tilt Poker, where he continued to earn his bread and butter playing high-limit sit-n-goes ($530-$5,200) and larger buy-in multi-table tournaments. Mikkelsen cashed twice at the ’08 WSOP, including another deep run in the Main Event that ended for him with a 281st-place finish. His biggest haul to date, though, would come at the 2009 EPT Grand Final. In the €10,000 Main Event, Mikkelsen entered the final table as the chip lead, but a few unfortunate bouts of luck ultimately sent him home in fourth place. Still, the €600,000 he’d take with him was nothing to sneeze at.
This year, Mikkelsen plans to make a shorter WSOP trip, staying in Las Vegas for about two weeks surrounding the Main Event. Still an avid sit-n-go fanatic, he continues to live in his hometown of Stavanger, Norway.
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