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PN Blog: Finding a Place in the Poker World, With a Little Luck

Christian Zetzsche
  • Poker reporter Christian Zetzsche reflects on the serendipitous events that helped him find his place in poker.

While quite a few people claim that poker is a sport, I prefer to consider it a game of skill that also involves luck and a vital strategic aspect. While the physical aspect plays a certain role as well, it is not predominant and represents only a portion of the entire package.

The combination of all those factors makes for a fascinating experience, and it is unfortunate that the public only considers certain aspects based on prejudices to build their view. Poker is not pure gambling based on luck like other casino games because there are multiple ways to influence the outcome personally.

What exactly makes poker so fascinating? In my case, it's the combination of a mind game, the thrill of a gamble, the importance of strategy and education, as well as the social aspect that got me interested. More than ten years ago I saw a commercial on TV and started playing online, joining several forums on the way soon after.

Not even two months later, I sat on a plane to the Mecca of live poker and ended up reporting in Sin City for six weeks.

After winning a qualifier through 888poker and earning my spot in a $1,500 WSOP event and in a televised six-max tournament in a studio in the UK, I cashed in both events. A nobody that had absolutely no clue what it meant to be playing in or out of position ended up in one of the earliest poker productions on German TV.

My parents were very skeptical and I realized very quickly that I didn't want to rely on success at the tables to earn a living. But what if I could combine my education in business and languages with poker?

Road to Poker Reporting

Eventually, it would turn out to be a lucky coincidence, and my fascination for the game grew further when I attended live events hosted by two of those forums in the United Kingdom and in Germany. It was nice to put faces to the online nicknames, partake in some fun banter at the tables, play in a small live event and have a few drinks. Quite simply, the next event was something special to look forward to.

One of my online friends happened to sign a sponsorship contract with an online poker site and they sent their pro team on international live events. They were looking for someone to publish news and pictures of what was happening and I agreed, after my earlier attempt to work for a marketing agency ended up being rather disappointing.

Soon after, the site in question, Poker770, changed their name and merged with another site. They then entered into a cooperation with a live event partner from Austria and started to run their own live tournament series with exclusive online qualifiers. A website for the project was built from scratch and you can guess three times who came up with the vast majority of the content.

I still continued to cover the progress of their pro team at the same time, but after a few years, the project wasn't profitable enough anymore and eventually ran out of steam. Later attempts to bring the tournament series back to life were not successful, and I had already stepped away from it three years earlier.

Hofburg Palace Tournament Room
Hofburg Palace Tournament Room

Back in 2014, the European Poker Tour headed to Vienna and I was working there for the German-speaking online poker news portal Pokerfirma. While I was providing updates of the tournaments in the Hofburg Palace and helping out other reporters with some details, it was Chad Holloway that suggested I apply with PokerNews for the upcoming World Series of Poker.

To find your place in life, you just need some luck, just like in poker. But never forget the importance of all your efforts to get to that point either.

My test run came soon after at EPT Sanremo when Vicky Coren-Mitchell became the first ever two-time champion of the series, while no other than Ole Schemion won the High Roller. Not even two months later, I sat on a plane to the Mecca of live poker and ended up reporting in Sin City for six weeks. Previous trips of up to two weeks were nothing compared to that experience and my efforts were sufficient to be offered further events on a regular basis.

No What-Ifs

Since then, my travel exploits have increased significantly and “the guy that always works” can be found lurking around poker tables and live stream sets all over the world. It is good to be in demand and consistency is the key to success, but I will always remember that the start of it all was born from serendipity. I could easily be working regular hours sitting in an office, staring out of a window with a “what if?” on my lips, while putting my degree to work figuring out some boring translation.

To find your place in life, you just need some luck, just like in poker. But never forget the importance of all your efforts to get to that point either. It defines who you are and how often you will rely on the flip of a coin.

Be sure to complete your PokerNews experience by checking out an overview of our mobile and tablet apps here. Stay on top of the poker world from your phone with our mobile iOS and Android app, or fire up our iPad app on your tablet. You can also update your own chip counts from poker tournaments around the world with MyStack on both Android and iOS.

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